The Hidden Blessings In A Divorce


Young woman against a morning foggy landscape

Bless me father, for I have sinned. It’s been a week since my last confession.

This is your fourth Saturday in a row, yes?

Yes, Father, but I’m so angry with my ex-husband! I think horrible thoughts about him and his new girlfriend… what he’s done to me and my children is despicable! 

Tissue?

Thank you. 

Go on.

I can’t pray. It hurts too much. All I can do is just try to get through my day without being angry. I don’t think I can receive Communion without coming back to confession.

I understand and I’m so sorry you’re going through this.

I don’t know how I’m going to live through this. Help me!

Does this scenario sound familiar to you? If you’re divorced, chances are you know exactly what this woman is going through because you’ve dealt with it, yourself. Bearing the heavy cross of being divorced is a challenge like no other. The temptation to give up doing what you know is right accompanies you every step of the way, like someone taunting you, making fun of you for trying.

Most Christians are familiar with the 13th scripture passage in 1 Corinthians 10:

No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and He will not let you be tempted beyond your strength, but with the temptation will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.

But when you face such devastating circumstances, this scripture, which is meant to bring consolation and strength, might seem somewhat empty, partly because you’ve heard it so often, and partly because the level of suffering you are enduring is accute and appears to be impenetrable. But regardless of how you feel, this scripture is very true. God will not allow you to be tested beyond your strength, and He will not give you a cross to carry that you cannot handle. So from your angle, what can you do to gain consolation and strength?

My suggestion is to give yourself a little paradigm shift… dare to look at it from a different perspective, a positive one. Look for the blessings that accompany this cross. I know this may sound ridiculous to you, but doesn’t something positive usually come out of every negative situation? We know God works our circumstances for our good, so if you can find the positive things that are happening despite the misery, you will begin to find consolation. You will find something to hope in, something to thank God for.

Remember, as a child on Christmas morning, searching behind the Christmas tree, hoping to find more gifts? You can do the same when you are suffering. Look behind your cross for hidden gifts… blessings you don’t readily recognize. Think about the woman in the confessional and all the heartache she is experiencing… a positive for her is she is drawn closer to Christ through the sacraments because of the intense anger she is experiencing. Her divorce brought her closer to God. She is learning to rely on Jesus and His grace and mercy to get herself through it. In my own experience, a great blessing in my divorce was that I became free to practice my faith as passionately and openly as I wanted without the fear of ridicule or guilt.

What has been happening in your life?

Have you come closer to Christ as a result of your divorce?
Was there an abusive behavior tearing the family apart that has now ceased since your ex- spouse left?
Has a relationship with a relative or friend become stronger because of their support?
Has God brought new people into your life that have been a source of strength and consolation?

You may not like the idea of associating the word “blessing” with “divorce” and that is entirely understandable. But if you give the idea of looking for the blessings that have come your way because of your divorce a chance, you might be surprised at what you find. The act of gratitude reveals your inner strength, it builds virtue, and you receive many great graces and blessings. So, why not give it a try? There probably are many hidden gifts behind your cross that are waiting to be discovered…

Got questions? Send them to asklisa@catholicmatch.com.






32 Comments

  1. Peter-484745 February 7, 2014 Reply

    Why is there a gigantic picture looking up a woman’s skirt at the top of this (horrendous) article? Which is almost as important a question as why this site is preoccupied with divorcees, which (according to Church teaching, because this is a CATHOLIC site) are still MARRIED, and have no business being on a DATING website.

    • Jeffrey-976998 February 7, 2014 Reply

      Really Peter? Your sense of decency is disturbed by the image of a heavily clothed woman carrying an umbrella? That says far more about your mind and heart than it does about the image itself. It suggests a severe lack of discernment and gross immaturity.

      Your complete lack of charity toward divorcees is even more disturbing. I hope you’ll never have to live through it yourself. But if you do, I think I can lay out your future wife’s case for annulment right now:

      Dear Tribunal,
      My ex-husband Peter lacked discernment, charity, mercy, compassion, understanding and was grossly immature.

      Not to worry though. I’m guessing it will likely be a very long time before you need to care for a wife at all.

    • Dominic-981542 February 12, 2014 Reply

      Hay Peter , you sound like a very self righteous man

      Good luck with meeting a nice person.

    • Jennifer-1021395 February 12, 2014 Reply

      I totally agree with you Peter.

      • Dominic-981542 February 12, 2014 Reply

        Its okay Jennifer to have favorite saints . . really its okay to . . Jesus himself had a favorite disciple . . It does not discriminate the others . . it means because of different experiences we have in life , different walks of live , different shoes we all walk in . . we tend to relate with those who have a similar experience or saints who can relate to our own.

        Life has enough complications with the worlds in differences of opinions without adding to it .

    • Dominic-981542 February 12, 2014 Reply

      See Peter . . We live in a world were there is enough for every one to have there very own fans.
      We respect the person who made this topic because we know she is doing her best and we also know none of us will ever be perfect in what ever title or topic we may create like your self.

      While i did not see any such picture that portrays looking up a girls skirt , i have to say i did see a picture of a pretty lady dressed in black holding an umbrella in a fogy misty surroundings . . from an artist point of view like my self . . don’t forget to ask why they portray Angels with bird wings or why Jesus has a beard and long hair , And the answer is not to take things so literally and try to have an open mind pictures can tell story’s in many different ways , such as the wings represent Angels from above separating them from humans in a picture or Christ being un shaven with long hair portrays him living with the poor , And so to this picture above to has its interpret meaning .

      One more thing . . Who said this was a dating site . . The site it self did not say so . . . I was told one could find friends here and it does refer to match not date .

  2. Joe-863487 February 7, 2014 Reply

    Wow, Peter, I don’t quite understand your response to this article. The pain of divorce is intense, and, I dare say that most all of us who have experienced it, truly wished we hadn’t. I am happy for you that you apparently have not gone down that road, but you likely have experienced the pain associated with other sins, either your own or others. Divorce is often the result of sin, either one’s own or another’s or a combination of the two, and is also at times the result of sheer ignorance, poor choices or uninformed choices. At any rate, whatever the cause, it is a source of pain and sorrow for your fellow brothers and sisters, and should be approached with at least a measure of compassion. I am still married in the eyes of the Church, I do accept that teaching yes. It is, however, somewhat healing for me to be here and to connect with others who have gone through similar experiences. God bless you Peter and best wishes.

  3. Cara-1041767 February 7, 2014 Reply

    I’m glad that this site has articles like this one. Divorce/annulment is an unfortunate reality for quite a few of us.. And the best thing that we can do is use the suffering/humility as an opportunity to grow closer to God and grow in compassion for others.

  4. Joe-863487 February 7, 2014 Reply

    I absolutely agree Cara. I was trying to be somewhat kind to Peter in my response to his rant; and I think that is the proper response. The same compassion, however, should be returned to those of us who have suffered the trauma of divorce. Thankfully we have a merciful Lord who truly understands our suffering and our culpability and loves us just the same. And thankfully The Lord works through those such as Lisa, who indeed wrote a thoughtful article.

  5. Annette-1047775 February 8, 2014 Reply

    I agree. I am close to God and have been in spiritual direction. I let “God’s will be done”. I’m tired of it though. I want more to life and I can’t find it.

    I think there are a lot of divorced men who think they should date again because they believe they are heterosexual and was married before. But, physiologically after 50, can’t find the mojo. Not every man is destined to take Cialis. I really believe some of these men are called to a single life, but have not yet acknowledged it.

    My marriage and family life did not work out and I just have no idea what God’s plans are for me.

    • Joe-863487 February 8, 2014 Reply

      Which do you agree with Annette?

      Incidentally, I believe I agree with you. I thing Cialis is a bad joke, and I despise the commercials! And frankly, a relationship isn’t strictly about the mojo! “When I was a child I thought like a child….”, at 47, I am no longer a child, so be it. I agree I don’t believe all of us are destined to be allowed to start over again; that thought sort of bothers me, but I am trying to seek God’s will in this regard.

      Another question for you is in regards to your closeness to God, yet you say you want more to life….what more is there Annette? Our Lord said pretty clearly, “whoever loves his life will lose it…” I don’t know that weare called to find more in this life, at least not in the worldly sense; it could be that the “more” you seek is already in your grasp? Anyway, I do get what you are saying; I often think I want “more”, but do I really? I have two boys who need me to be a stable,guiding influence, I have the ability to affect friends I know in a positive way, I have my intellect and curiosity, I have a few adventures with my children, I have good work to do, and I have The Lord to be with me and guide me. What more do I want? Will taking Cialis somehow give me a new lease on life! Lol! I doubt it!

    • Dominic-981542 February 12, 2014 Reply

      I think Annette when you say you want more is expressed where only you know what you mean . . could you mean spiritual heath because without it we are always wanting but cant quiet put the finger on what is it we want ?

  6. Maria-1026727 February 9, 2014 Reply

    I lliked. thanks

  7. Michael-1061046 February 10, 2014 Reply

    I don’t know how to properly comment on this but I will try.
    The greatest regret of my life is that I found a way to turn my wife away from me. The greatest victory of my life is that my sons, the children of that marriage, are now my friends and carekeepers.
    You cannot know how much I regret losing the mother of my sons to the result of my transgressions. I cannot say if that qualifies me for another, proper, marriage. What I can say is that it prepares me to vow as to what I will never, ever do again.
    It also prepares me and the world to know how much I cherish the unarguably good things that came form my marriage to the mother of my sons. … Oh, those are my sons.
    You should know them. You are better for it.
    Sean is a game designer in Los Angeles. He hates Bakersfield and takes pleasure with giving you joy in your free time.
    Heath is a warrior and patriot who loves the Unitied States of America. If you think that idea sucks you must be ready to tangle not only with him and his dad but also with his grandfather and great-grandfather, all of whom served.
    Heath Charles is a sergeant. He also offers wisdom and purveys the kind of practicality that helps people survive dire circumstances.
    In bad times he is the man you want to know.
    So thank you.
    Mike

    • Joe-863487 February 10, 2014 Reply

      That’s a beautiful reply Michael, thank you. You are greatly blessed with your sons….the Lord is kind and merciful! Psalm 51 is a wondrous prayer for me, as is all of King David’s story….”create a pure heart in me O Lord, and renew within me a steadfast spirit!”

  8. Carol-979839 February 11, 2014 Reply

    Peter do you realize many people do not want to get divorced? Or widowed as I am. Some people are betrayed by their spouses. Some spouses become alcoholics and are impossible to live with. People change. The church allows annulments so they realize people are human and circumstances change. And I don’t understand why you think this site caters to divorced folks. I see a mix of never married, annulled and widowed.

  9. Joe-863487 February 11, 2014 Reply

    Thank you Carol. You said that very well; I really appreciate that! Divorce has been the saddest experience in my life; and what makes it sadder still is that my own actions contributed to the loss. I can only imagine the pain you have felt through being widowed….I am sorry for that. God bless you! And again, thanks!

  10. Michael-1050725 February 11, 2014 Reply

    I am a 64 yo male. Was married for 15 yrs then divorced. Have 2 children 34 and 32 y/o. Raised my son as a single man for 12 yrs. After an annulment, I met a beautiful woman and we got married. I can tell you it was the happiest 11 yrs of my life……Two and a half years ago she passed away…..it still has been very tough to deal with….I loved her very much. Just as God brought her into my life, I know that He has some other blessed plan for me. I keep praying and live my life knowing that He is in control…..Divorce is definitely not the end, it may just be the beginning!

  11. Allen-1059210 February 11, 2014 Reply

    The said thing about it to me is that I really love my wife and do not want to start over. She left me after 25 years. I just cannot let her go even though I believe she is having sexual relations. This has moved me closer to God, but it doesn’t seem to me that he is hearing me or perhaps I am not worthy enough. I am consumed by self pity which I believe is a void in me and is the absence of God. I am retired, bored and have no one to talk to. I spend all my time at home alone. The only thing that I look forwarded to is going to mass daily, and going to sleep at night. My health is failing at a bad time in our history, Obama Care. I have a daughter who lives with me at her choice, but is away at college. I desperately want a companion, but I feel women are only looking for younger men. I do not even want to start over even though I not have a sexual dysfunction. I loved my wife and do not want anyone else, but that will never happen. Most people always think that women are the ones who get dumped on. At anytime it can happen to anyone. It happened to me after my wife inherited money. Divorce is really painful if you are retired and older.

    • Dominic-981542 February 12, 2014 Reply

      Allen you can not let her go because you loved her all those years with a heart that made her your other half . . . you know two becoming one . . God hears your prayers , it has nothing to do with being worthy , i think you will find what your praying for is not right for you since God knows best.
      Love requires wisdom in how to use it and for what good use it can be applied to . . it can blind you from seeing the real person whom they really are . . never listen to any of those new age spiritual quotes that say follow your heart . . your heart needs your brains because it does not have one . . And right now it sounds like your heart needs your help in guidance . . if ever you need some one to talk to let me know since you did say you have no one Okay
      take care

  12. Dominic-981542 February 12, 2014 Reply

    I think the hidden blessings of being divorced is still hidden .

    For those who have paid little attention to me while I have often made a voice here let me share a little about my self . . remember i said little.

    I died when I was a teenager even though i was alive , and it wasn’t until i reached my 40′s that i slowly came back to life.
    In those mid teen years till late thirty’s for 20 years i felt the pain of being alone , not having a soul mate , knowing i cant function with a personality if i met some one and it got worst as time went by until i had a visit from our sweet Lord who came and took that empty space away by feeling it with him self , A long story there as to how & why ? but God did make a little mystic out of me . . after failing to find life within the church i came on here a year ago after years of being there for others in there divorce problems , every year some one from the pass comes knocking on my door for guidance , as I reached 55 i tend to adopt younger girls as my daughter and I’m sure its because i never had one .
    But the last divorce I had to deal with cut me up , it was from a young girl i cared a lot for , feeling her pain knowing the impotence it is for her to be married & chances without it brought back a lot of memory’s in me of my own youth and so some times i find it hard to be super human so i tend to miss some times not ever meeting some one , not ever being able to give even a hug , . . So to keep every one happy i have to get back to being super human again because deep down i feel its wrong for me at 55 to be meeting a soul mate now at this time , some times it comes and I make it pass .

    But the hidden blessings as tough as it sounds coming from some one who had to be tough being alone . . . . . . is to be free of ever marrying again.

  13. Joe-863487 February 12, 2014 Reply

    I appreciate your words Dominic, and the story of your journey. Keep the faith brother! Dominic is my oldest child’s name…a great name!

    • Lisa-727959 February 13, 2014 Reply

      Thanks for all your comments, Joe! So sorry to know you’ve been through a divorce, too. Count on my prayers for you!

      Sincerely – Lisa Duffy

    • Dominic-981542 February 14, 2014 Reply

      Thanks for your response Joe.

      Take care . . . God bless.

  14. Jennifer-1021395 February 12, 2014 Reply

    The title of the article in within it’s self is unnecessary disturbing. I read it again, makes one think WOW, so… I need to get married and have a divorce to receive a hidden blessing? I went to a Catholic Jesuit institution for college, I lost a lot of respect from them when they started making us read books in THEOLOGY classes like, “Why Jesus Christ is an Ecological problem” by V.P. Al Gore, I am not a fan of this NEOLiberalism Catholic ideological system that everyone seems to be adopting lately. Just because anyone can sell you a product or service like this “dating site” and put Catholic in front of the name of it, means as much when they can also write, “Lutheran or First Reform” in front of it as well. The heart of the matter it this. And make no mistake here, I believe divorce is horrific. They are not recognizable by the church. And what I realize is that most people don’t understand what that means. They want to believe that the church is corrupt and there’s this illuminate myth running around. No, that’s not what is going on here. First of all, the priest does not marriage the couple, they marry themselves. Sin is an offense against God, a rupture of communion with him. At the same time it damages communion with the Church. For this reason conversion entails God’s forgiveness and accomplished liturgically by the sacrament of PENANCE and RECONCILIATION. Even when our sins do not directly and visibly harm our neighbor, they do so indirectly and invisibly. All sins harm all men. For “no man is an island”. we are connected with each other not only visibly, for instance by physical gravity, but also invisibly, by a kind of spiritual gravity. The Church is not just an organization but a living organism. We are “members” of a the Body of Christ, not as individual workers are “members” of a trade union, but as our individual organs are “members” of our bodies. In a body “if one member suffers, all suffer”. We cannot sin without harming all. There are no private sins, no victimless crimes, and we have the choice NOT to sin, because Jesus died for our sins already. Sin is a HORROR. All the saints teach that “no evil is graver than sin” that’s why saints choose torture and death rather than even small compromises with sin.

    • Jeffrey-976998 February 13, 2014 Reply

      No, you don’t have to divorce to obtain “hidden blessings”. The point is that there are hidden blessings in all hardships.

      I agree with almost everything you’ve said, but I don’t see how most of it applies to this post. You do realize that we live in an age of no-fault divorce, no? If one spouse wants out, the State backs them 100%. Many, many people simply have no choice in the matter. Our churches are littered with battered, truly devout souls who are victims of this despicable societal injustice. They are not in a state of grave sin, are in full communion with the Church, yet they are often treated as criminals, or are perfunctorily dismissed by those who think as you do.

      Personally, I refused to join this site before receiving my decree, but that was my preference. Yet, I wouldn’t presume to deny other faithful Catholics, who happen to be divorced, the opportunity to find others who might provide chaste comfort, strength and hope for better days. Why would you?

      I really am with you, sister. Few are more put-off by liberal “c”atholicism than I. No one here, and certainly not the author of this post, is trivializing divorce or claiming that a civil divorce means that one is no longer married. If you read more of her many posts, you’ll find it’s quite the opposite.

      In short, whether you accept it or not, it is unjust, as well as a non-sequitor, to presume that simply because one is divorced, they are necessarily living in mortal sin. I’m not making a case for permissive, liberal, bleeding-heart nonsense. It’s a call for genuine compassion.

      • Jeffrey-976998 February 13, 2014 Reply

        Oops, I said “decree” when I meant to say “decree of nullity”.

    • Lisa-727959 February 13, 2014 Reply

      Jennifer and Jeffrey,

      First, thanks so much Jeffrey for offering your comments. You’re right on the mark with my intended points in the article.

      Jennifer, your passion for wanting people to live a good life is excellent and I’m sure this motivates you to do a lot for the Church and for souls. Wonderful! In light of that, I’m sure you’ve heard that Pope Francis has likened the Church to a “field hospital” in which we must go out, find the wounded, and help bring them healing. This is the purpose of this article and all the ones I write for the divorced community in the Church. Having been through an unwanted divorce myself, I know the pain and suffering divorced Catholics struggle through. They need people to pay attention to them, to care about them. They especially need encouragement from other Catholics to persevere despite the pain, to fight the good fight until the end. Helping them see a silver lining or a hidden blessing is critical to helping them heal.

      Sincerely – Lisa Duffy

      • Dominic-981542 February 14, 2014 Reply

        Hi Lisa . . You said Pope Frances has liken the Church to a field hospital , . . If i can say , he may have made that comment because its what the Church is but his statement is not original .
        I have made the same comments from a very young age when getting people to understand the nature of the Church , in many ways i have explain the Church is a hospital for souls , I always thought it was obviose .
        Cheers & God Bless you .

  15. Allen-1059210 February 12, 2014 Reply

    Dominic – 981542. You are right. I am always conflicted with my intellect know right, but my emotions controlling me. I am not yet officially divorced, but my wife bought a house, took everything and filed for a legal separation which ended January 15th. She has not filed for divorce yet. My daughter wants me to reconcile even though she sees that it is not my fault. I have being trying, but no matter how much I might agree was my fault there is no forgiveness on her part and never any fault on her part just as it was in our marriage. You would think that I was making it up if I was to recount that it was always me doing the giving. Just the fact that I lived with a gun (my daughter well being) to my forehead, the anti was always raised. To comprehend you would have to hear more details, but I get to my current decision. I believe my wife is seeing someone nightly, but I do not have a smoking gun. I think that the only way that I can rid myself of my attachment to her is to file for divorce, but that would hurt my daughter and worsen our relationship which will further already deteriate. Also, I have been hopeful myself, but at the same time I do not if I could accept adultery on her part and the lies. All this going on is destroying me and I am sitting here one day at a time with no future like a dear looking into the headlights.

    • Dominic-981542 February 14, 2014 Reply

      Hi Allen . . Your in a hurtful situation there . . i can understand why your daughter does not want to have her mum & dad separated .
      If I can give some advise and you do what you think is right . . its not a matter of who is to blame so taking blame wont help nor will if you keep trying to fix it , It will only prolong your suffering.
      At least you have a daughter who loves you , so put all your energy of love & time into her now . . I dont think you need to file divorce to get rid of her , she will still be the mother of your daughter , Just unattached your self from within your heart & let your daughter see its all her mothers fault which she will if you dont contribute and try your best to help your daughter see that you can not make a difference to fixed your marriage because it takes two and only one to end it . . Let your wife do the work of filing a divorce because it still will be adultery on her behalf before or after divorce .

      But i strongly think your main concern & focus now is your daughter , while you cant change the reality of problems she may wish for , what ever you decide on let it be for her & not your self , after all she is now your mission in life & God will take care of your situation .

      If this is of any help . . Remember st Paul said the time is coming where two couples must live together with out sexual involvement . . . don’t worry , he said this . . . I’m a mystic and i know the mysteries in the New testament and I don’t study or read the Bible .
      Also Jesus quoted where there is two living together in one bed one will be taken away & one left behind . .this is what really is happening to you . .there’s a lot for me to go into so I’m just making things simple here now , your the one left behind so God has chosen you for salvation , pray on it , be patient and in time it will all make sense . .
      I only wish I had a daughter to love .
      God Bless . . look up Dominic La Rosa on face book , the profile of Rory Gallagher playing a guitar is me if you want to understand more you can meet me there . . i use it to combat the worldly manner of good & evil .

      God Bless you .

  16. Michelle-506118 February 13, 2014 Reply

    Divorce is awful…hell. Many years ago, when I first signed on at Catholic Match, back when it was St. Raphael.net, some guy chewed me out for being on the site while still being technically married. My annulment came shortly thereafter.

    For me, the pain of living with someone who does not love me…who did not care for me and apparantly really never did was devastating. It was the rejection. There is NO pain like a divorce—especially when you are the one who did not want it.

    A priest told me that divorce is worse than a death. How true. It is a wound that stays open and is hard to heal—but in the years since, I have been led closer to Our Lord. He understands and comforts. I have to admit, I rejected Him a lot because He wasn’t the one I wanted…or so I thought. Although I still deal with rejection and a hesitancy to trust, I know that He has and will never reject me.

    After years of trials, perhaps this is the kind of blessing within my divorce. He helped me not only forgive my ex, but also pray for his happiness.

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