My parents’ divorce has left repercussions rippling throughout my life, even up to this present day.

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

…the Lord your God goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.

Deuteronomy 31:6

This verse has meant a lot to me growing up. Why? Because my parents divorced when I was 7 years old and I have not had a good father in my life since then. My parents’ divorce has left repercussions rippling throughout my life, even up to this present day.

It took me a long time to realise this. So many of my friends’ parents stayed together, and those whose parents didn’t, seemed to be happy with their step-dad or step-mum. I always had the feeling that I was somehow missing out on something. Don’t get me wrong, my mum did an amazing job of looking after my brother and me, and I was never in any doubt about her commitment, sacrifice and love for us. I was also acutely aware of the impact of my mum being on her own and how that impacted on our family. She would often go without meals; we never did. She would often feel sad and lonely; we never did.

I am so thankful to her for all she sacrificed in order to see my brother and me thrive, but by not having a father at home, as I grew up, I realised I had no idea how a family was meant to function or how a father was meant to behave. I had no idea what a good husband or loving father looked like. I didn’t know what I was losing out on as a daughter.

This became really clear to me one day when I was with a friend in her car. She backed out of her driveway and scraped her parents’ car on the way out. I saw her parents running out of the front door towards us, her dad first. I braced myself for yelling, anger and the threat of huge punishment, but as her dad approached, the first thing he asked was ‘are you OK?’ He wasn’t so bothered about their car being damaged, but whether we were OK. I realised I had skewed ideas of fathers as angry, petulant, uncaring and uncompromising, and that all of this had come from the lack of a good father figure as I grew up.

Not only did not having a father impact how I viewed an earthly father, but also how I saw God as my heavenly Father. That is one reason why divorce is so painful. It made me ask ‘will God leave me, like my parents left one another?’ The answer is clearly ‘no’. God’s word tells us that the family of believers, unlike our earthly family, is greater, unbreakable [1] and founded on His unchanging love [2]. God is not vengeful, uncaring or unfaithful. Each day He pours out His steadfast love over us [3]. God has been so faithful in my life, even when I have not been, and have deserved His anger. In Exodus 34:6 God reminds us that He is “…merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness…”.

Sometimes as children of divorce it can be hard to admit that we have been hurt by our family being torn apart, but actually divorce tears apart marriage which God did not design to be torn apart. [4]

Wounds do form, scars will be there for life, but God’s promise to us is that “He heals the broken-hearted and binds up their wounds.” [5].

The experience of having been a child of divorce continues to cause me anxiety in certain situations. Even 21 years later, I still feel its effects. Many children of divorce are fearful that they themselves could never have a successful marriage. But through reading and trusting in God’s Word I began to understand what a Godly husband and a good father would look like, and happily have been able to end up married to a Godly husband, despite my fears. The Bible gives us clear instruction on the kind of love that is to be the foundation of marriage. We are to be patient, forgiving, and selfless “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” [6]. When marriage is built on and lived through this kind of love, then it is possible to experience the wonder, joy and blessing of marriage, as I do now.

  1. Ephesians 2:19 “So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God…”
  2. Romans 8:37–39
  3. Psalm 42:8By day the Lord commands his steadfast love, and at night his song is with me, a prayer to the God of my life.”
  4. Matthew 19:6 “So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”
  5. Psalm 147:3 “He heals the broken-hearted and binds up their wounds.”
  6. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7