A few months back, Life Tree Café interviewed me regarding: Marriage Tips from a Divorce Coach. Although I consider myself more of a relationship coach, than divorce coach, I found the interview to be thought provoking on many levels.
One of the questions they asked involved the impact of faith on relationships. When I answered the question at that time, I had a view that people of faith were more open to making things work, felt that their relationship had a purpose for both them and their spouse and some other such statements. I honestly don't remember my responses. However, since that time, I've given the question more thought and my views are slightly different than when the question was first asked.
The women who come to see me are often conflicted because of their faith on what they "should" or "shouldn't" do. Those who have been raised in strict traditional western Christian beliefs often feel that they are betraying God if they divorce and that they are doomed to spend their lives with a man they no longer love. Where others, brought up in less rigid Christian beliefs and more accepting of the possibility that ultimately, God wants them to be happy. I can only speak regarding those of Christian faith, as these are my clients.
One question I often ask is: If God told you it was okay to get a divorce, would you? For some of these women, they can't imagine God ever telling them that leaving their husband would be okay. They've been raised to believe that in the eyes of God, entering into a marriage is a lifelong commitment that only sinful people refuse to honor. By leaving a bad marriage, (and it doesn't matter what the definition of a bad marriage is—physical abuse, mental abuse, adultery) they are committing a sin.
I personally have to question a faith, or religion, that punishes people for entering into a marriage with pure and good intentions and than realizing that they can never be happy with the person they chose. People grow, people change, and sometimes people mislead you into believing they are something they are not when you were dating.
Should you be forced to live the rest of your life with the wrong person, simply because your religion says so? You've heard my thoughts; I'd love to hear yours!
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