Life After Divorce: Now What?

Written by Lynette Hoy NCC, LCPC

Have you been through a divorce? Confide in an online mentor and let them walk with you.

divorceDivorce is a great loss and a crisis that has a huge impact on the lives of everyone involved. If you have experienced, or are experiencing divorce, my heart goes out to you. I know about divorce. My parents were divorced when I was 12 years old. It was painful. It was destabilizing for my whole family.

In my years of counseling I have heard many divorcees voice the same concerns. Many express their feelings of loss, betrayal and confusion. This isn’t the way the story is supposed to end. For many divorcees the question becomes, “now what?” Divorce is not the end of the road. It isn’t easy, and it often is not what we would have chosen, but God can help you make wise decisions to deal with the transitions you face.

Life for a Christian who is suddenly divorced and single is not directionless, purposeless or hopeless. Why? Just reflect on these verses:

God has plans for you. He says “I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord. Plans not to harm you but, to bring you a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11).

God will strengthen you. He says, “Why do you say, O Jacob, and complain, O Israel, “My way is hidden from the LORD; my cause is disregarded by my God”? Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint” (Isaiah 40:27-31).

“I am so tired of feeling the way I do”

Divorce is painful. There is nothing that will quickly take the pain away, it is something that has to be worked through. If you are experiencing divorce, you are dealing with grief, with rejection, with having your heart broken. Taking away the pain would make you miss out on the growing process that is so necessary to bring about real healing. And you might risk getting into a rebound relationship.

This is the time to work on your personal growth and life stability. The grief you feel is real, normal, and a process that will help your heart to heal. It’s ok to give yourself time to work through this transition. You don’t have to crumble underneath the weight of it. You can learn to grieve and grow.

“I still loved him and prayed his heart would change.”

It is normal to feel that you still love your husband because you gave your heart away and committed yourself to him. You took vows to love him until “death do you part.” Unfortunately, you can’t make him change his mind and you wouldn’t want to force him to change his mind.

When you really think about it – you want someone to freely choose to love you for yourself. Because love freely given is real love. Real love has to come from the person’s heart and volition. Rejection and betrayal are painful. But, would you want him back because he felt pressured to come back to you? No. In fact, what you rejoiced in when you were first married is that this special person freely chose you and loved you. As much as you might want to, you can’t make him love you.

“I feel betrayed and rejected.”

The first issue is feeling rejected. Your ex-spouse’s rejection does not change who you are and how valuable you are as a person. The rejection is a choice he made – that choice does not determine your worth. You are still a person uniquely made – someone with purpose, talents, opinions and someone who can be used to make a difference in the world.

The rejection you feel will cause you to feel angry. You will need to work through the anger and the resentment. Anger will help motivate you to work on improving your life – but beware because it can also cause you to fall into the trap of bitterness.

“Nothing I do seems right anymore…my life feels like a mess.”

80% of your energy is used processing your emotions. That is why you feel confused, troubled and question yourself. Your self-esteem has been affected greatly. To top everything off – you feel cut off from people because friendships change when a marriage breaks up. You lose some of your couple friends. You feel left out and isolated. You feel depressed because of the divorce and the depression makes you want to isolate yourself. There can even be employment and financial difficulties.

I encourage you to fight the depression that tells you, “I am not worth anything, my life is meaningless, nobody cares about me – I may as well give up.”

Start making choices that will keep you growing in the right direction, working through the grief and getting on with your life.

Proverbs 3:5-6 reads, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not rely on your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths.”

What are the choices you can start making?

  1. Get counseling and support. Find a counselor in the AACC directory. Find a Divorce Care support group.
  2. Begin to journal your grief and feelings.
  3. Start a job search if employment or finances are an issue. Get some help with your resume from someone you know who has some expertise in this area. Get some career guidance from www.crown.org.
  4. Begin to make one goal a week which will help your life improve. Exercise regularly. Eat nutritiously.
  5. Accept that life will be a challenge. But, look at the challenges as opportunities to grow in faith, character and new skills.
  6. Accept the reality that you are divorced. Read how to make the best of your life after divorce. Read books like Growing Through Divorce by Jim Smoke.

God will help you persevere and mature in the midst of this trial. James 1:2-4 reads, “Consider it pure joy… whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

Dr. Larry Crabb eloquently states the goal of Christian maturity this way: “Christ wants us to face reality as it is, including all the fears, hurts, resentments and self-protective motives we work hard to keep out of sight, and to emerge as changed people. Not pretenders. Not perfect. But more able to deeply love because we’re more aware of His love.”

You can experience contentment with Christ. Paul wrote in Philippians 4:11-13, “… for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.”

You are dealing with various issues here: The reality of the death of your marriage, the loss of your spouse, the rejection and betrayal, a broken life and dreams. This is huge! This is hard! But, let me stop to say that this crisis is one you can get through to the other side. This loss is one in which God can bring hope and in which you can become strong in the brokenness.

There is no way that I know to work through the pain of divorce quickly. You would miss the process of character development, the ways God will answer your prayers each day, the way hope and strength will grow slowly back into your life. This will build a stronger foundation in your life and in your spirit. You can discover new blessings, new treasures, and even a new you – if you determine to trust God for each day and each tomorrow.

If you are going through a divorce or if you would like to talk to someone about your relationship, we’d love to hear from you. We’re available any time, from anywhere in the world.  Send us an email and start the conversation.

Your mentor will send you an email and from there it’s up to you.  If you want to keep talking, just hit reply.  Mentoring is free, confidential and non-judgmental.  All mentors are trained volunteers with experience in the area they mentor in. We will not spam you or sell or rent your email address.  Get the conversation started today.

Want More?
The Power of Touch: Advice for divorced and single women
One woman’s story of mourning her marriage
Starting Over: Facing the future after significant loss

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140 Responses to “Life After Divorce: Now What?”

  • Ted EVans says:

    TEd says: February 4, 2014 at 10:58 am 19 years of marriage and 1.5 years after the divorce. She is living in the house and takes 68% of paycheck and taking care of the two kids that we had. I have tried Christian counseling but it turned out it was me babbling with no direction. I have prayed and fasted. And I even moved out of our home and set up my apt. Im loosing my best friends even though they say they r there for me. The tears fall as I type this… I guess I am asking for prayer fort a woman who totally loves God. 1 COr 15:3,4

  • Jennie says:

    Marie: I don’t believe Divorce should be an option right now. Its hard to have two small children. Everything changes. Sometimes its tough for the husband believe it or not to feel wanted etc. Marriage is a lot of compromising and communication. Pray that God intervenes in the situation and in the meantime you be the best wife you can be to him. Keep counseling and if hes not the best counselor find another one. God is the ultimate one who has the last word. Don’t give up. Pray for your family. Fast. The devil is a liar and wants to destroy families.

  • CT says:

    Maybe look at what scripture says to your specific situation. As to the permission to leave or stay? The call to be committed whether together or separated? The scripture is pretty clear on when to and not to. There is grace for what God calls you to, remember that. God gently leads those with young. He will carry you through staying, or if necessary leaving. Just make sure you move in HIM. Cast your cares on Him and be comforted.

  • Sentry says:

    Marie
    Look at the scripture. What does it say? Is it all him? I had to look long and hard at myself in my divorce. What is he doing wrong?

  • marie says:

    I have been married for 5 years. We have a 1 and 3 year old. We are going to counseling, but I see no change. He doesn’t seem to care if I leave. Do I stay and pray for another 5 years for God to intervene and make my husband a godly man, or do I leave and put my sons through the trauma of divorce?

  • Sentry says:

    Jen,
    I know he works in his own time, and I know he promises to never leave. I have lost just about everything I have. My wife, my job, my home, and I have been trying to stay strong for three years now, My ex’s church has embraced her and her new lover with open arms, yet I have been cast out on my own. Where is God? What do i do? He says he doesn’t put more on you then you can handle. I think I have reached my limit.

  • Jen says:

    Sentry:
    God is still there with you. I pray that you change your prayer and ask God to release all these feelings you are feeling and to give you a new perspective on life. Don’t stay down, pick yourself back up. God will show you and lead you in the right direction. Yes its tough now but mourning will endure for a night and joy comes in the morning. Don’t give up! God will bring the right people into your life. Find a new church, a new prayer group that can help you. I will keep praying for you.

  • Sentry says:

    Jen,
    I know he works in his own time, and I know he promises to never leave. I have lost just about everything I have. My wife, my job, my home, and I have been trying to stay strong for three years now, My ex’s church has embraced her and her new lover with open arms, yet I have been cast out on my own. Where is God?

  • Shelley Shelley says:

    Dear Father God.

    Lord I lift up anyone who is struggling with this issue. I pray that You will guide them and heal the broken marriage. In Jesus Mighty name amen

  • Jen says:

    Sentry: This world has gone backwards. In these last times, people will be lovers of self. I am sorry you went through that. But please know that there are spiritual churches out there that will pick you up. Stay in prayer. God will lead you into something better.

  • CT says:

    Psalm 73

  • Sentry says:

    Jen
    I have seen more than one church destroyed by affairs and infidelity. My own pastor turned his back on me when my wife left. Her new pastor won’t even confront her or ask her to stand down when she is sleeping with a married man. And THEY ARE BOTH Sunday school teachers. That is why my faith is crushed.

  • Claire Colvin Claire Colvin says:

    Hi Archana, One thing to take a good long look at is why you got divorced in the first place. Was there abuse? Was there an affair? Was there a worrying behaviour? What changes have been made since last time? How has he matured? How have you matured? It must have been something serious to end the marriage last time. If you’ve both had a chance to process what happened and have made changes in your behaviour and priorities then it’s possible that you could remarry. But be careful not to step back into the same situation you had before.

    Often when a marriage ends, trust is broken. If that’s true for you that trust will need to be rebuilt and that takes time, care and attention. You mentioned that you had seen a counsellor, was the counsellor able to identify the problem area in your marriage before? Was it something you were able to work through? Have you had a chance to see a counsellor after your divorce to work through the very painful feelings that can go along with that?

  • Jen says:

    Archana:
    All I can tell you is to keep it in prayer. GOD can change any situation in your life and restore your marriage. There is nothing impossible with God. I do see you keep mentioning your parents. This is a situation between you and your husband and God. Don’t let outside voices deter you from what your heart is feeling. Everyone deserves a second chance.

  • Jen says:

    Sentry. I am not sure what church you are in, but it mine, they speak on it all the time. The devil is destroying families, and we are in a spiritual battle. We cannot sit and do nothing letting the enemy come into our homes and take our families from us. You need to stay in prayer, seek Godly counsel and take it from there. Churches cannot be ignorant to what is happening in marriages. I speak for myself from being divorced for five years. It was not my choosing. BUT, I know that God works things all good to those who love him.

  • Sentry says:

    If God hates divorce, then why does the church just sit idly by and say nothing about the real problem of it today?

  • Archana says:

    Dear Jen.. Yes I know god hates divorce and neither me nor my parents were for it. Only after constant pressure from my husbands side I gave up. Another chance to my husband ? Am confused and deeply hurt because of him and his family. Yes I will be happy if he changes his mind and reunites with me. We did have counselling and they all told him not to suspect me. But he just said even god is against him. I want him to let me take care of him his parents and my parents too. I am praying god to do what is best for me and my parents. I am really blessed to have a good support from my parents aunt and brother and my friends too. I want everyone to be happy and be at peace. My parents are also worried am scared if this would affect their health.

  • Ted Evans says:

    Please send some material to [It is not our policy to publish contact information.] Zeph 3:17. I would do everything I could do to help Christy and the kids out. I amnot perfect only Christ is, and need a home to stay in. She won divorce proceeding, some pastors ignore me, I have lost so mnay of my best friends.

  • Archana says:

    Hi I am 32 years and got married in 2011 slowly had problem in my married life and am blaming no one for it. Got divorced in 2013 though me and my parents were not for it. It is painful extremely painful. And the same for my parents too. Recently my husband has been messaging me saying he loves me and cares for me and wants me to get married and live happily and he has started looking alliance for remarriage. Am confused about my life . Do not know what’s awaiting me in the future though I so wish my husband reunites with me. How do I face it. Am really worried coz I have no children and stayed with him only for 9 months . But still cannot see anybody else in his place. Am confused, worried and at times feel I could have dealt it better.

  • Shelley Shelley says:

    Dear Father God.

    Lord I lift up anyone who is going through a divorce at this time. I pray that You will give them comfort and leadership in this area. In Jesus Mighty name amen

  • Sentry says:

    Ted,
    I know your pain bud. I have had to go through it for 22 years. The system is stacked against us in this case and they know it. Believe me, I prayed for relief and all that happened was I got myself back in the same boat I was in. believe me, I would give a kings ransom in child support if I had it and did. And no one seemed to care or be thankful. My ex wife has a nice vehicle due to me, and a brand spanking new house that she lives in thanks to me (partially to be fair but I supplied a big chunk of financial help). She is a Sunday school teacher that has been sleeping with a married Sunday school teacher for the last two years and neither of their churches seem to mind. I feel your pain and can only hope that the church and society can see that this isn’t helping when one parent is suffering.

  • Michael Jantzen M. Jantzen says:

    Hello Ted,

    It sounds like you’re in a tough bind financially. I’m guessing that you probably miss your daughter a lot. What sort of help are you looking for? What change are you hoping to see in your life? Please feel free to respond. This site is all about encouraging and helping people in hard situations. Take care!

  • Ted Evans says:

    I went through a very hard divorce on June 20, 2013. I still send my 14 yr old daughter gifts thrugh amazon website. I am an engineer at Caltrans geting up 67% of my payhceck garnished through the spousal and child support place in Sacrmento. I am 52 yrs old, my former wife is 47 yrs old. PLease can use HELP.

  • HurtingAgain says:

    Please pray for me. Advise me. I don’t know what to do but pray. Life as a single divorced mom is overwhelming and most days I want to throw in the towel but I can’t. I can’t handle everything that is required from me and my friends are pulling away. It’s so unfair that my ex-husband has a great new life without any responsibilities, yet everyone else is trying to overcome so many unfortunate changes. It’s not fair! What do I do?

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    Hi Aalmamuroney, sorry to remove your phone number but we don’t want to put you at risk from someone who might take advantage of that information. If you are serious about finding a wife let me recommend looking into a dating site. They are better set up to make connections between individuals.

    So how have you been able to deal with your divorce? Any advice for people who are going through that?

  • aalmamunroney says:

    hi im single hv a son live with my ex. want a nice partner who is also divorce. one more thing im a cook by profation n will not mind if she got any child but she has to be honest as im 38 now n five eleven if i i could find such a girl i will try to start from begening. [it is our policy not to publish personal contact information] my cell no call me if u wish then we will talk the way best

  • Kate Kate says:

    D sto, thank you for sharing that encouragement here.

  • d sto says:

    I don’t know about tomorrow;
    I just live from day to day.
    I don’t borrow from its sunshine
    For its skies may turn to grey.
    I don’t worry o’er the future,
    For I know what Jesus said.
    And today I’ll walk beside Him,
    For He knows what lies ahead.

    Many things about tomorrow
    I don’t seem to understand
    But I know who holds tomorrow
    And I know who holds my hand.

    Every step is getting brighter
    As the golden stairs I climb;
    Every burden’s getting lighter,
    Every cloud is silver-lined.
    There the sun is always shining,
    There no tear will dim the eye;
    At the ending of the rainbow
    Where the mountains touch the sky.

    I don’t know about tomorrow;
    It may bring me poverty.
    But the one who feeds the sparrow,
    Is the one who stands by me.
    And the path that is my portion
    May be through the flame or flood;
    But His presence goes before me
    And I’m covered with His blood ???

  • Felix says:

    Gatekeeper,
    He makes us stronger when we are weak. I thought the same thing. I didn’t realize it, but my marriage was keeping me from Christ. I don’t know what your denomination is, but when you have religion, you will always feel inadequate. You gotta have that relationship with Christ. Yesterday I fell upon Micah 6:9, Seek justice, love mercy walk humbly with your God. That’s what He asks of us. He will answer your prayers in His time, not ours. He’s not finished molding you from this experience yet.

  • Jen says:

    Gina: Have faith! God will restore everything that has been taken from you. Don’t fret. If God is for you, who can be against you. Get courage. Today is a new day. Praise the Lord in your circumstance. God will change things around for you. God would never want you to be in an abusive relationship. Now, your eyes will be opened to many other things. You will see.

  • Gatekeeper says:

    I stopped praying because I felt no peace no matter how hard I prayed or how often. I prayed three times a day at the least and would talk to the Lord all day at work, and I just felt worse. I feel like a joke. Praying so hard and crying my eyes out to God when he just turns his back on me. I stayed in the word and prayed till I felt I was going to die. And nothing, no peace, zip. And my experiences with the Church left me asking why? They didn’t support me.

  • Gina says:

    13 years of marriage and it’s over. Now that I’m out of the marriage I can see how controlling and down right cruel he was to me. I’ve had many surgeries, a cancer diagnosis as well as many other challenging diagnosis’. He was never there for me like a husband should be. I’ll never forget when I told him about the cancer. His first words were about how much it was going to cost. It was not in such a nice way either. Don’t get me WTO g, I’m glad I’m out of the relationship, but why can’t I be happy? Why is it so hard to take control f my new life? I feel like I’m just going through the motions.

  • D Sto says:

    Gatekeeper, thank you for your sincere prayer but please continue to pray for yourself as well and I will too. ?

  • D Sto says:

    From the bottom of my heart…thank you! Your prayers, your heartfelt words are special and delivered to me by the Holy Spirit! It amazed me how I came upon power to change. ?

  • D Sto says:

    From the bottom of my heart…thank you! Your prayers, your heartfelt words are special and delivered to me by the Holy Spirit! It amazed me how I came upon power to change. ?

  • Michael Jantzen M. Jantzen says:

    Hello Gatekeeper. Thank you for committing to pray for D Sto. I noticed that you said, “I no longer pray for myself.” Why did you stop praying for yourself? Do yo mind sharing?

  • Gatekeeper says:

    D Sto
    I feel your pain. And compassion in the church seems to be in short supply. I too have lost friends from divorce. I no longer pray for myself, but I will pray for you tonight S Sto. I hope you find peace.

  • Kate Kate says:

    Dear D Sto, my heart goes out to you. You have expressed deep sorrow and we here at the site will pray for you. Let me do so now:

    Heavenly Father, thank You for Your blessings upon my sister in Christ. Bless her broken heart with a dousing of Your Holy Spirit, to touch her in all the deep, dark, broken places, from which the tears spring. Give her courage to face each new day, give her determination not to give into the sadness – to mourn, but not become depressed. I pray that even if some friends fall away, there would be others who stand with her for Your glory, that pray with her, that hold her in hug when she needs it… and even if there is no one Lord, even if she is alone, let her be comforted knowing that Your mercies are great and unfailing, new every morning, always in supply. You are good and so I trust You to take care of my sister, to guard her heart and teach her to be the woman You have made her to be… though we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, we shall not fear, for You are with us. In Jesus’ precious name, amen.

    D. Sto, keep fixing your heart on God. It will be a long, hard journey most likely, tears, prayer and fasting are not in vain… but Your faith is always in God HIMSELF, not in the things you do, or the words you pray, or the tears you collect. No amount of what you can give or do will ever be equal to what God has given and is giving, has done and will do! He is who He says He is, you can trust Him, rest on that even when all else fails.

    with love in Christ,
    Kate

  • D Sto says:

    40 years of marriage and 2 1/2 years after I found out that he loves 2 women. She is even married almost as long. I have tried Christian counseling but it turned out it was me babbling with no direction. I have prayed and fasted. And I even moved out of our home and set up my home. Im loosing my best friends even though they say they r there for me. The tears fall as I type this… I guess I am asking gor prayer for a womam who should not still b n love with her soon to b x. A woman who totally loves God. Joshua 1:9

  • Michael Jantzen M. Jantzen says:

    Hello Gatekeeper, I disdain pat answers when it comes to this issue because I’ve been through an unwanted divorce myself. If you scroll down and read my responses to Frodo, you will understand my approach to a situation where someone is having a very hard time moving on. If you have a specific question or situation that you would like to talk about, I will prayerfully respond some time this afternoon. Take care.

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