How Faith Changes Post-Divorce

Dena Landon

By Dena Landon | Oct 21st, 2018

What do you believe? You might have been a regular church or synagogue-goer before your divorce, or you might not have thought about faith in years. While our spiritual beliefs are often formed in childhood, they evolve over time. During major life events like a divorce, it’s not uncommon to fall back on old beliefs if they once served you, or seek out new faith if they didn’t.

The faith that I was raised in didn’t offer much solace to a divorced woman. Divorce was a sin except in cases of adultery. If your husband left you, you had to wait until he “committed adultery” by being with another woman before you could move on. Even when spousal abuse was an issue, some of the older members of my church muttered that the wife had somehow instigated or provoked it.

I’d drifted and then run, from the ultra-conservative faith of my childhood. I’d lie in bed, staring at the ceiling, and want someone to talk to. Nighttime prayer had been a ritual since I was a little girl, but a Judeo-Christian God was too far away. I started off by just talking to the Universe or the Source. Whatever being was out there who might listen.

Over time, the entity that I talked to evolved, but I always felt comforted and heard.

Faith is often referred to as a crutch by those who think they don’t need it, something you depend upon, in terms that have derogatory implications. People will imply that to need faith to get through hard times makes you weak. But a crutch is used to support healing. Would you tell someone with a broken leg to throw out their crutch and just try walking on their own? Faith is meant to support us, in my opinion, no matter the form that faith takes. It’s not bad to use something for its intended purpose.

Faith is meant to support us, no matter the form that faith takes.

A woman going through a divorce is dealing with a lot. We’re often encouraged to lean on friends and family, why not our faith? I’ve found that my new faith path has deepened a lot. It includes daily meditation and readings from books that have helped me rebuild my self-worth.

Faith also connects us to our families and roots. When I’m praying, I’m remembering my grandmother and how she used to bow her head before every meal. Religious and faith-based holidays define the year, and each season, not surprising as they came from pagan celebrations of harvest, planting, and moons. I’ve found that I still need, and enjoy, that structure in my life.

Marking the seasons, and having tiny seeds of hope, can help you get through the winter of a divorce. Leaning on a higher power, and knowing they care, gives you someone to talk to when it’s three a.m. and you’re alone. Ultimately, if your faith and beliefs help you, I don’t think any of us need to justify them.

Divorced women are strong and kickass on our own, no doubt. But a truly strong person, in my opinion, knows when to ask for help. She knows that it’s a bad idea to deplete her reserves until she’s running on empty.

Whatever your faith path has been, or is changing into, I’d encourage you to get in touch with your spirituality during and post-divorce. In its richness and hope, you may find comfort and solace.

Dena Landon

Dena Landon

Dena Landon's bylines have appeared in The Washington Post, Good Housekeeping, Salon and more. The proud mom of a boy, she specializes in parenting and divorce.


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