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Faith and Religion
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None of us fall in love and marry with plans to divorce.  We may have prenuptial agreements as legal protection since nearly half of marriages are reported to end in divorce.  But, in our hearts we feel it will not happen to us.  

Religiously, we follow the protocols and ceremonial assertations to affirm our love and faith. Rarely, do we consider future dissolution or the affect our religion will have on our choice to do so.  Could we really profess our love before God, friends and family if we had such thoughts on our mind?

Ending a marriage with religious resistance

Based on a 2019 DMK article, Religion vs. Divorce, almost 5 of every 6 spouses seeking divorce identify themselves with some sort of faith or religion.  The article goes on to indicate the frequency of conflict between religion and divorce is also recognized in the churches' overall response regarding "divorce".  Many religions/churches/laws of faith do not support divorce or do so only when a significant reason has been established and with approval or ceremony.  This leaves most Americans faced with a third step, religious process for the acceptance, annulment and/or divorce, when seeking to end their marriage.  Besides the recognition and acceptance of each spouse as a divorced individual in the eyes of their church, most divorced individuals seek the recognition for the opportunity to remarry within their current church/faith in the future.

Three parts of divorce:

1. Emotional 

First, is the emotional end of marriage.  It happens gradually, instantly or both.  It is at this time one or both spouses determine the marriage is over.  The door to divorce is opened.

2. Legal 

The next phase to the process is the legal divorce.  It establishes the legal end to the marriage.  Attorney(s) are usually hired to represent the couple or each spouse file for divorce according to the laws of their state.  The legal phase of ending a marriage usually takes approximately 12 - 36 months and can cost a few hundred dollars to tens of thousands of dollars.  It usually begins with a separation or a legal separation. It is completed with a signed settlement agreement with specific duties and rights of both spouses, also known as the divorce settlement or divorce decree.  The door to divorce is closing.

3. Religious 

In the cases of religious affiliations, one must factor in the faith bound laws, considerations and customary guidelines that dictate a portion of the decision making.  This can happen at the forefront of deciding if divorce is right for the individual or later in the process following the initializing of the legal divorce.

Courage to end an unhappy marriage

Sometimes the most difficult things require a simple decision that can seem more complicated than it really is.  One puts as many obstacles in front of him/her due to fear of making a decision that will require a great deal of something that one doesn't think he/she possess.  It could be approval, courage, money, acceptance, forgiveness - it could be anything that could be used as an excuse to avoid making a serious decision to improve what is not working or end it.

Divorce should be feared

In the case of divorce, the decision itself is considerable.  It should be a decision that is feared in many ways.  It will change each spouses life.  The family dynamic will be affected, children will go through a great deal of changes.  Money, housing, religion, lifestyle & nearly every aspect of one's life is affected.

But, the value of comfort, marriage, companionship and status-quo is not worth personal unhappiness and lost years without mutual love.  Nor should social or religious opinions devalue one's right to personal happiness.  Each person should have equal opportunity for giving, loving and providing with good intentions.  

Religion and faith should represent the individual's belief system for the betterment of each person and community.  In each system of religion, church or religious law, are guidelines that are meant to establish boundaries and provisions alike that provide it's members a foundation for their happiness, goodness, giving, faithfulness and love.  

Faith is meant to protect each spouse, the marriage and family

Each spouse should decide if such guidelines prevent him/her from ending a failed marriage without love or if the faith and guidelines are simply preventing either from ending a joyful union currently lost in the perils of repairable marital problems.  Many faiths and churches discourage divorce to protect individuals from the common decision.  Divorce has given many an opportunity to end something that was formerly considered a life-long commitment of love. 

Based on today's statistics, a marital relationship is a lot more "love until we don't" rather than "'til death do us part".  Religion provides a foundation for marriage and individual happiness beyond just the initial ceremony.  It includes guidelines meant to provide an opportunity for each spouse to value the marriage as more than a legal manifestation of a long-term relationship.

Decisions with consequences

Most faiths may have words like, "strongly oppose", "discourage", "forbid" listed in their position on divorce; yet, most provide reasonable alternatives or approval for various circumstance for divorce or annulment.  Most churches do understand life circumstances may present issues that lead to divorce.  If one's faith does not provide an acceptable provision, there may be some opportunity to realize the following:

Religion, part of the decision not in control of it

Some of these questions may seem extreme.  However, divorce is a time of change.  Despite the seemingly drastic nature, life improvement following divorce can also be significant.  The change in religion or acceptance that your religion may not be entirely suited to current life circumstances is an opportunity much like divorce, to assume a difficult transition, one for a greater purpose. 

Conversely, it may be an excellent "safety net" to provide both spouses an opportunity to reflect on the seriousness of the decision and consider the possibility to repair the marriage.

Courage to make a decision

Only each individual can make decisions to leave their church, stay in an unhappy marriage or choose divorce against their religion.   There are vast numbers of religions, churches and positions taken on the subject of divorce.  It's a personal decision that religion should be part of, but not control.  Life is not always perfect, religion may provide the strongest of foundation but still have flaws that in all other ways, insignificant to it's overall benefit to each spouse and their family. 

Faith is meant to inspire, promote and express belief.  It's natural that most faiths would take such a position against something that ends a union of two people on the basis of such faithfulness like marriage.  However, at the core of that marriage are the individuals.  If the marriage depreciates that faithfulness to the individual, the human spirit and love for oneself, it fails to provide for the greatest purpose of all, "life". 

Each person should be happy.  Each person deserves to be happy.  If one or both spouses have considered all alternatives to avoid divorce then the choices are simple, but heart felt and complicated.  It takes courage, but a choice needs to be made.

Options regarding divorce and religion

Of course there are many alternatives that may not be listed.  The important thing to remember is that there are alternatives.  Don't let your religion prevent you from personal happiness and goodness.  That's not what your faith and power to believe should be about.

Believe in the purpose of religion

Each individual life and opportunity to love, give and be loved are all great purposes of each religion.  The overall greatness religion has provided throughout a lifetime should remain in each spouse's heart and guide each through these times regardless of steadfast rules that may be shortsighted of individual circumstances and decisions.  

-OurDMK.com



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