The Failure of Divorce


Why do people divorce?

There are two explanations for why we do what we do: to run from pain and/or to run to pleasure. Aren’t these our basic motivations and reasons for why we do things? We either want to avoid pain and discomfort or we want to experience happiness and pleasure.

So, why do people divorce? It is because they are attempting to flee from painful circumstances they are living in (their marriage) and/or they are trying to experience pleasure and happiness (which they aren’t experiencing at home). We could list specific reasons why people divorce, but all those reasons would generally fall under the two motivations mentioned above. People who divorce are fleeing from something and/or are running to something (or someone) else.

I got this photo from blogger Joanne Kraft

The expectation of divorce is that when I leave this unhappy, unfulfilling marriage, my next state, either singleness or remarriage, is going to make me happier than I am now. Divorce is seen as the avenue to a better life. But is that expectation true?

Norman Wright, a marriage counselor, says that, “Divorce has failed to deliver on its promises of happiness” (One Marriage Under God, p.107). Divorce may be a way out of a stagnant and disappointing marriage, but it is not a sure-fire entry into happiness and fulfillment either. Instead, the newly divorced person frequently finds out that the divorced life is fraught with so many more problems than they imagined.

Norman Wright identifies some of these disappointing “surprises.” Loneliness is a frequent companion to the divorced person. Even if the ex-spouse was a dud at communicating, at least he was there! There are financial woes. “How do we divide up the bills and debts?” is a fun problem to work with! In law relations become complicated. Special celebrations of family members, such as birthdays, anniversaries and weddings, become a social nightmare. Custody rights become the grounds for fierce battles, with each parent trying to prove they are the best parent. These are just some of the problems that plague the divorced couple. Does this sound like happiness?

Divorce is one of the highest stress-inducing experiences in life. In fact, psychologists and counselors rank divorce higher on the stress scale than losing a spouse to death. When a spouse dies you feel the loss, hurt and loneliness. When you are divorced you often feel the same sense of loss, hurt and loneliness as with a death, but you can throw rejection into the mix as well. A loved one who died has left us but has not rejected us. Rejection is an additional pain we experience with divorce.

Divorce promises much but delivers little. If your marriage is strained and stressed, please seek help. Today. Don’t wait. Begin working on the problems as soon as possible, while they are still relatively small. Don’t give them time to grow. And this article is not meant to minimize whatever problems we are experiencing now and the pain they may be causing (such as addiction, abuse, etc.). But, it is meant to encourage us to rethink divorce as a solution.
Photo compliments of Jenny Ann Photography

God wants our marriages to be happy and fulfilling. More importantly, God wants us to be faithful. He wants us to stick it out for the long haul, even through trials and tribulations. God said, “I hate divorce” (Malachi 2:16). That doesn’t mean God hates the divorced person, but he does hate to see a marriage unravel.

God is present in your marriage. Malachi 2:15 says, “Has not the Lord made them one? In flesh and spirit they are his.” Your marriage belongs to God. He has honored the sanctity of your union. It is holy ground. So, care for it with all of the love and devotion you can summon. Over time, he can make your marriage the fulfilling relationship it is meant to be.

Warren Baldwin


Gorges Smythe said...

Having once gotten divorced, I pretty much agree with what you said. She was running towards more money and I was running from pain by agreeing to it. The Bible only gives adultery and an unbelieving partner who doesn't want you as grounds for divorce, and I can see why. There can be MANY reasons for seperation, though, and the Bible chooses not to go into that. Those who take that route need to remember, though, that any relationships had while seperated are still adulterous.

Beth.. One Blessed Nana said...

Such a great post Warren. I think the world glamorizes divorce and we need to realize it is all but that! Just more heartache that never gets resolved. Only Jesus can make us happy! And He can do that in our marriages! Merry Christmas.

Beth.. One Blessed Nana said...

Great post Warren. The world glamorizes divorce and that is just not the way it is. Jesus can heal any marriage!

Leslie Mangels said...

My parents divorced when I was 20. I still see them continue to seek the happiness they sought. When I married, I thought, well if it doesn't work you just divorce? No. Ten years later and with a loving God, I now understand what marriage is more about. I can't imagine my life without my husband, even when I can't get him to take his boots off at the door. Marriage CAN BE the best part of your life. It's all in what you give to it and the commitment you make to each other. Guess my husband is stuck, because divorce isn't even an option for me. I pray for the people who struggle in theirs and hope they find their happiness! Thanks for sharing Warren!

lmt said...

Divorce is more painful than any other form of unhappiness! It not only touches you it is devastating to your children. No one plans to get a divorce or hurt their children, you think you are somehow doing the right thing for everyone when in actuality u r hurting everyone concerned. I certainly do not think you should endure abuse,physical or emotional. If God is not the center of your marriage I am afraid it is doomed for failure and certainly unhappiness. The best thing is to make the right choices to begin with but that's is not possible unless God is the center of your life. What is great is that God is an awesome God and because of his Grace we can look forward and not backwards!

Mary Singer Wick said...

This is a really good post. I married a wonderful divorced man, but it always made me sad that a family wasn't able to stay together. Jon was divorced long before we met. God's grace has been a powerful and healing force in our lives. I wish divorce never happened to anyone, but I am so grateful the Father can bring good out of tragedy when we turn our lives over to Him.

TV's Take said...

Great post and I agree so many of us run from one situation to find happiness which is impossible if we don't deal with the internal unhappiness.
BTW: Never got your email but it sounds exciting! email me at Many thanks!!!

TV's Take said...

Great post and I agree so many of us run to find happiness but are only disappointed b/c we haven't deal with our own interal unrest.
BTW: Never got your email but it sounds exciting!! Please email me again at

Stacie said...

Yep. All around us are the promises that divorce will allow us to go out and fill the empty places. We all need these reminders--that those promises are just as empty. And that God is the only one who can fill.

Angie Knight said...

Warren--I regret to say I've been "too busy" to read! This was amazing--as are "your" posts. I love that you shared my friend Joanne--who I was blessed of the LORD to share my home with her a couple of years ago in a local retreat. She really is the "real deal".

It takes a lot to see God motivating us to a higher place in HIM through marriage difficulties--and I am so thankful this post was shared. What a blessing and encouragement to those of us who "sometimes" fail to see that!

Thanks Warren and I hope you have a blessed and Merry Christmas!!!