Today we are sharing a guest blog from Janna Kasza while Shaunti is in this season of cancer treatments. Enjoy!
10 Ways To Help a Friend Going Through a Divorce
By Janna Kasza
If you told me a few years ago I would know what it feels like to be going through a divorce, I would’ve told you, “No! That will never be me.” I was devoted and dedicated to my marriage and the spouse God gave me.
Fast forward to today—I know exactly how it feels.
First, let me give you a mental picture. Think of the greatest devastation you’ve ever experienced, the kind of situation that left you clinging to every breath and grasping fistfuls of Jesus, wondering how you could face another day. This is the pain of divorce, and it lasts a long, long time. For me, this pain was unlike anything else I have ever experienced; deeper, visceral. Like I was watching my heart be removed from my body and was helpless to stop it.
While every divorce is unique, they are all painful. Some are particularly more devastating than others, but none are easy or pain free. That’s by design … God’s plan for marriage never included divorce. “What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate” (Mark 10:9).
Every marriage is different, and every divorce will be different. But one thing is the same—a bond God created for life has been severed, torn apart, and forever broken.
How to help a friend going through divorce
So how can you come alongside your friend and walk with them on this road? Let me tell you about some of the hands and feet of Jesus that showed up for me along the way. They are forever in my heart.
Listen, listen, listen. Did I mention listen? Don’t offer your opinion unless it’s asked for, but provide your friend opportunities to share.
Sometimes that looks like just showing up with a coffee or inviting them to take a walk with you. Other times, it’s a regular phone call or even just a simple text of “Hey, how can I pray for you today?” There were moments I was unable to respond with anything more than a “thank you” or changing the topic off of myself. But knowing they cared enough to check in with me regularly was a huge blessing.
Often, the words I was said were jumbled or all bunched together, but just the ability to get them out to another human was healing.
Above all else, while you listen don’t say, “It’s for the best,” or “It’s time to move on now.” Let them feel the pain and experience the struggle so they can heal. It’s never for the “best.”
Yes, maybe divorce was necessary for safety, or maybe their spouse was the one who filed for divorce. But the “best” would have been healing, redemption, and restoration. Sin happens and sometimes there is no other way but out, but it’s still not the BEST. Those words stung hard when I heard them, please spare your friends that pain.
- Don’t ask a friend going through a divorce if they’re OK.
They are not OK, not by a long shot. Asking this forces them to come up with an answer on the spot. Instead, ask what they are planning for dinner. If they don’t know, offer to drop something off or invite them over. Or ask if they want to join in your weekend plans, because they are living breath by breath and probably haven’t planned anything.
I appreciated the people who didn’t start every conversation with “How are you?” because I was not OK. And they typically weren’t up for hearing the real answer.
- Help them pack.
There is always a transition involved with going through a divorce. Maybe it’s packing up their things to relocate or maybe it’s packing up their former spouse’s items to move them out.
I’ll always appreciate the friends that helped me pack up my children’s and my things. I would have never gotten through it alone. I would probably have tossed it all in a dumpster and regretted it later. Anything to make the pain stop. Instead, my items were carefully packed, labeled, and loaded into a moving truck. The entire process was a blur, but the practical love shown still brings me to my knees with thankfulness.
Be this person for someone else, it will forever connect your hearts.