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Until Death Do We Part: How Religion Can Influence How You Approach Divorce

By David Dowling

It was easier to remain married until death when people died at 50. Thanks to healthier lifestyles, visits to the gym, cutting back on bad habits, and the wonders of modern medicine, we live until we are past 90. Standing at the altar in front of family and friends, we make a commitment that binds us together in a legal and religious ceremony. For many, it is something they have always wanted to do. Find the “perfect” partner and get married.

We anticipate challenges. We promise to stay together for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health. It is not possible when you are young and love to picture what a lifetime together will look like. As the years pass, we encounter more hurdles than we expected when we said: “I do.” Children, financial woes, health issues, and infidelity can work together or create a divide in the marriage.

Religion can pull a couple together. It can be a place of comfort, support, and resources. Faith provides hope and opportunity for forgiveness. Struggling couples can turn to spiritual leaders for guidance and understanding. However, this requires an effort from both parties. It is impossible to coerce or force someone to repent if they are not feeling repentant.

Religion can also make people feel trapped in a marriage with no way out. For many couples struggling in an unhappy marriage, there is a sense of shame in admitting they want a divorce. Concerns about being ostracized from friends and family can lead some to remain in difficult and abusive situations.

After counseling, prayer, and failed attempts at reconciliation, some couples make the difficult decision to divorce. Unsure of the path forward, they assume litigation is their only option. However, mediation provides a way to work through a divorce without adding much of the anxiety and animosity associated with divorce. Mediation allows divorcing couples to have a stake in the process and work together to find an agreement on their terms. For many, it can provide peace and the opportunity to build a new relationship with their former spouse as they co-parent.

“Until death do we part” is not intended to feel like a life sentence.

Want to talk to a mediator about your options? Contact San Diego Family Mediation Center at (858) 736-2411 today!