forgiveness after divorce

Finding Forgiveness After Divorce

My parents divorced when I was a child. I grew up never knowing why they separated. But in my 20s, I came upon a letter my dad had written to my mom after their divorce. Filled with emotion, he talked about how sad, hurt, and frustrated he had been with the divorce proceedings. He offered her everything, including me, his only son, knowing I would grow best in her care. Yet, he wished her well and prayed for her happiness, hoping for forgiveness after divorce.

Growing up, I knew my mom loved him deeply, but in her words, I sensed an undertone of resentment toward him. I never understood the pain they both went through. Thankfully today, they are both happily remarried. Regardless of what happened between them, they needed time to forgive. But how does one find forgiveness after divorce? Here are 3 ways.

1. Grieve.

Divorce is emotionally equivalent to death. Like after the death of a loved one, a person must go through the natural stages of grief after a divorce. Immediately jumping into a new relationship, even if your ex-spouse has moved on, cuts the grieving process short and results in more scarring. Someone in your life is gone, and sadly, for many divorced men, it’s an entire family lost. Grieving is healthy and bridges the ability to forgive your spouse or yourself.

2. Find support.

It will be challenging to maintain healthy relationships with the mutual friends you made with your ex-spouse, but not impossible. Be prepared for the loss of some good friends who choose a side. Men must venture out and find friends who will support them from other circles such as work, support groups, close relatives, or old friends. Turning to a church may feel awkward or emotionally impossible, but it can be one of the best places to find men to rely on. For me, keeping my faith and prayer life healthy during tough times has given me hope and gives me the strength to seek forgiveness.  

3. Allow time.

Time is not an enemy, but a friend who can help craft a new person.

Forgiveness takes time. Even after the grieving process is complete, men need to rediscover who they are in this life stage. Some men may be single working dads, some may have limited parental rights, some may have joint custody, and others may be bachelors again. Time is not an enemy, but a friend who can help craft a new person. Allow for time to help you heal and forgive.  

Sound off: What can you do to begin the process of forgiveness?

Huddle up with your kids and ask, “What do you think it means to forgive someone?”