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This is a moderated blog is a project of the Ruth Institute. Have a story to share? We're listening.
Posted on: Thursday, April 29, 2021
I am a child of divorce. My parents were 19 and got pregnant with me, then got married. I was born in 1991. They had a strained marriage. She had an affair with my dad's friend, then ran off with him, taking me with her without his knowledge, then filing for divorce. She went out of state making visitation impossible. My now step father essentially of the last 25 years legally adopted me when I was about 4. My biological father was pushed out of the picture.
My mom had my half-brother in 1998 when I was about 6. We never discussed my real father. He was a taboo subject in the household. My brother didn't find out about him until he was 13 and I was 19.
I finally moved out at 21 with my now ex-husband, then at 23 I reconnected with my biological father. I thought for years he didn't want me and that he was this horrible man. I was fed lies and was not allowed to have any say in a relationship or opinion of the man. My mom and grandparents were angry at me for bringing it back up.
I married my ex the same year that happened in 2015. Then 6 months later he and I separated in June, and I left to go stay with my real dad in Alabama. It was a strange rebuild. I wound up moving back to Georgia permanently in 2018 after my divorce was final. Fast forward a year later, and I meet the most amazing man who is now my second husband.
My dad passed away suddenly in July of 2019. My mother was sympathetic when it first happened, but she still insists on calling my step dad my dad. I couldn't anymore after finding out about the depth of deception.
There are so many things the Ruth Institute talks about that resonate with me about the divorce issue and the fact that adults have to put their children before their sex lives. I am constantly questioning my marriage, that I don't feel good enough. That I don't feel I deserve him.
Submitted by HC.
Posted on: Friday, July 27, 2018
I have been healing from the effects of the sexual revolution for about 30 years now. If you had told me as a 24-year-old that my life would be marked by emotional and spiritual wholeness, that I’d one day celebrate 28 years of marriage and three beautiful daughters, I would have thought you cruel for holding out that kind of promise.
My life up to that point had been overwhelmed by the choices my parents made, which wounded me (divorce, father’s addictions and abandonment, mother’s horrible live-in boyfriend), as well as the destructive choices I started making for myself as a teenager (sexual promiscuity and regular drug/alcohol use). The more I engaged in these behaviors, the worse I felt, and the guilt drove me into evermore destructive choices. My broken family had no religious, moral, or parental guidelines to put limits on my behavior. My mom was completely wrecked by a horrible relationship with a man who I would later find out was a predator. At the tender age of 18 he proposed to me one day during a lunch, complete with a ring and his plan that I would have his babies, but my mom would raise them. This was the man who I had lived in the same house with since 5th grade, and tried to see as a father figure, even though he was never interested in being a father to either my brother or me. It was just one more big crack in my already terribly damaged self-image as a young woman.
I would go on to have lots more hook-ups and drunken, drug filled nights as I moved into my 20’s. But I was getting desperate to understand why I was even on the earth. What purpose could my crappy life even have, and how could I ever hope to be different? I read self-help books thinking that was my answer. It didn’t take long to understand that reading about what was wrong was much easier than fixing it. Those books became a trap for me because I could understand the problems, but knew I was powerless, no matter how many times I determined to start fresh, to get out of the pit I was in.
I was only sure of a few things at that point. I wanted more than anything just to have a family of my own, but I was also committed to never doing to my children what was done to me. It felt like a no-win trap, because I knew in my morally bankrupt lifestyle I would never be a good wife or mother, nor would I ever find a spouse the way I was living. By my early twenties I had become convinced nothing about my life would ever be different, and I would be stuck and alone.
But a kind Christian man would come along in my mother’s life and fall in love with her, though she wasn’t a believer. My brother and I thought she was so desperate for a man that she was willing to settle for a “Bible thumper”! It soon became obvious that he wasn’t like anyone we’d met before. He shared his faith with me, and told me for the very first time in my life that I had a Father in heaven who knew me, loved me, and had a plan for my life. As I listened I was undone. Was it true that the God of the universe really knew me, and not just knew me, but loved me, even the way I was? The offer of salvation, the need to repent of my sins, being washed clean from the stain of sin, and knowing Jesus would be with me always was an offer I could not refuse. (My mom accepted Jesus as well.)
Healing came slowly but steadily as I pressed into living life with Jesus, taking in His Word, surrounding myself with healthy Christian community in a church committed to making mature disciples of Christ. Learning to practice healing prayer where I brought the pain of the past to the cross and Jesus exchanged it for truth and wholeness was, and still is, how I live free in Christ Jesus. The Lord has given me so much more than I could have ever hoped or imagined in this life, the most precious being a deep knowing that I belong to Him.
Submitted by S.
Posted on: Thursday, June 22, 2017
At the age of 52, I recently found myself sitting in my mother's psychologist's office. She went to him most of her adult life, though she died six years ago. I knew her psychologist well since, at the age of 14, I was the one who had sought him out in hopes of acquiring help for my family. My dad attended family therapy once, at which time he stood in frustration, faced his broken family, and proclaimed, "I am an alcoholic and have no intention of changing anything."
After my third divorce, I returned home to the Catholic Church. Then, following a year of devotion to praying my mom's rosary, I felt compelled to approach my parish priest about starting the annulment process. The time had come to confront my painful past, and the healing process was subsequently set in motion. It has not been easy, but necessary.
After Mom passed away, I discovered her own annulment documents. They revealed that my father was a sex addict and described in detail the abuse she had suffered in her marriage. It was overwhelming to realize the puzzle of my past consisted of a myriad of pieces. I think it would have been a relief the day dad chose to walk out of our family had it not been Christmas Eve. He was donning a new shirt and void of regret as he walked right past his wife's brokenness and his children's joyful anticipation of the arrival of Santa Claus.
After two years of therapy, I found myself still staring at a mound of puzzle pieces--very few connected. In my desperation, I thought mom's psychologist could help trigger some memories. Within the first ten minutes of our visit, I regretted this decision as he hastily concluded I had "hang ups" about sex since I was in a chaste relationship. He suggested that if we liked each other, we should live together. I remember staring at his degree hanging appropriately lopsided on the wall when it felt as if a bolt of lightning shot through my body, which appeared to have traveled upwards from hell, as I realized this man had influenced my mom. She sought help to better her life, and this is what she got. I was now guilt-ridden, knowing I had brought them together.
This sparked an unwelcome memory of my mom asking me to purchase her a condom. I vividly recollected struggling to process the metamorphosis I was witnessing--she was planning a one night stand. At the time I was married with two small children. Possessing only the life skills acquired on my own, I desperately tried to persuade her to reconsider. What was most upsetting was that she seemed so happy, even giddy, at the prospect. I wondered what had happened to my mom, the one who attended mass and confession and was quite devoted to praying the rosary. Now I knew.
I listened to the psychologist as he recalled this very encounter as my mom had described it to him. "It was liberating," he proclaimed, for her to express herself in this manner after being abused by my dad for so long. She now had control over her sexual being and was free to express her sexuality with confidence and without fear. He assured me it was quite pleasurable for her. I felt sick and was rendered speechless for a moment as I absorbed the shock waves of this most recent traumatic event. I responded to him by leaning inward and looking directly into his eyes with a resounding, "Seemingly!"
It was time to leave. As I walked out the door, I muttered "hippie" and felt somewhat vindicated.
Submitted by D.W.
Posted on: Friday, June 09, 2017
Today is June 7th. I found out today that my maternal grandmother died. My mother called to tell me. Mother found out today too. Grandma, my mom's mom, died on May 15, three weeks ago.
My parents are divorced. My dad has been a porn addict since before I was born. I know that contributed to his attitudes about women and the eventual failure of my parents' marriage. Dad is remarried to a woman who had children from a previous marriage. He and his second wife had a child together too. We were strongly coerced to pretend we were all a cohesive family, but it never really took root.
Mom is post-abortive and believes in sexual "freedom." She's been married four times and now lives with a man who has never been her husband. She struggles with depression and has attempted suicide numerous times.
I was close to my grandmother and loved her very much. Despite her death, the saddest, most injuring thing about today is how, even 36 years after their divorce, my parents are still so awful to each other. My brother was my grandmother's power of attorney. He and my dad talk regularly.
I've been shut out of my dad's life because of my decision to have a relationship with my mom and because I told my sister that good Catholics don't cohabitate with their boyfriends. (I have been branded someone who tries to "force their religion" on other people.) I expected not to be told when my grandmother died. Mom is angry. She said, "I don't believe in hell, but I hope your father goes there."
I think attitudes of the sexual revolution led to the demise of my parent's marriage and all the fall out that I still experience. Divorce never stops being destructive.Submitted by T.K.
Posted on: Thursday, May 04, 2017
Three long years ago, my husband and I separated. The intention was to work on our marriage; I never thought it would turn into divorce.
I know the agony of a broken home. My parents divorced when I was not quite two years old. My mother remarried, but their marriage ended ten years later, just a month before my own wedding. I thought, If this is how marriages turn out, do I ever want to be married? But I also knew that my husband and I were both Christians. No matter what difficulties we would face, we would face them together, I told myself. We married almost 20 years ago.
So, what happened?
In a word: offense. My husband and I did hurtful things out of our own pain and immaturity instead of solving the real problems in our relationship. We can be hurt by others and yet not take up offense. Offense happens when we compare ourselves to one another, instead of in humility comparing ourselves with Christ. We need look no further than the Cross of Christ to see the cost of our own sin, to feel the weight of the price that was paid for our mistakes to be forever removed. Our obligation, having received such a gift, is to give it away, to share it, by forgiving others. No matter how badly I have sinned or been sinned against, it is nothing compared to all my sins put together that Christ had to forgive for me. Should we do anything except fall with our faces to the ground, crying out great thanksgiving to God for His mercy? Having received such a gift, do we owe anything less than complete forgiveness to our brothers and sisters?
The enemy of our souls had fed us a lie, that our situation was hopeless. With Christ, there is no such thing as hopelessness! We got to the point where we told ourselves, I can’t take any more of this. But in hind sight, the pain we experienced then is nothing compared to what we’ve been through since. Oh, how I wish I could go back, put my hands firmly on my own shoulders, look myself in the eyes and say, “STOP. Now. If you go any further, you will experience pain and sorrow that no English words can accurately describe.” I would have dropped all offenses immediately. I would have apologized faster. I would have repented sooner. I would have guarded my mouth with utmost diligence. And I would have realized with great sobriety just how easily divorce can happen in our culture.
Davis and children
at the rotunda of the Texas State Capitol Building
We would do well to heed the Proverb: Anyone who loves to quarrel loves sin; anyone who trusts in high walls invites disaster (17:19, NLT).
Days became weeks, weeks became months, and then that message I’ll never forget: “I want a divorce.” Despite my desire for reconciliation, our family is
still facing permanent division. A wise man once told me: divorce is like tearing a tree in two. Trees don’t rip neatly; they tear. If you’ve ever
heard a large branch break off a tree, the tearing is loud and violent. To me, ‘divorce’ means “division by force.” Three times now in my life: once
as a toddler, once as a grown adult, and now as a wife and mother, divorce has been forced upon me, and there is nothing outside of prayer I can do
about it. All three have happened in the state of Texas, and all three under the “no-fault divorce” system put into place before I was even conceived.
Forty years of agony. If you’ve been through it, I need not explain how it feels.
Back in January, just a few short months ago, I sat in my attorney’s office working on draft #3 of our divorce decree. I asked my attorney, “At what point can I stand up and say to the judge that I don’t agree with this, that I don’t think our marriage is irreconcilable? Or insupportable?” Her reply, “Well, you can say it at final trial, if the case goes to final trial, but it won’t matter. The judge will still grant the divorce, even if she doesn’t want to. It’s the law.” It all seems so very wrong. Why can a judge who has never met my husband, myself, or our children, agree that our marriage relationship cannot be reconciled and our family healed? Why is this ok, if one of the two parties in this court case disagrees with the “charge” of insupportability, especially the defendant?
About a week after that meeting, however, a friend and mentor of mine shared with me, “Have you heard about this new bill in the Texas House? They are asking for the repeal of no-fault divorce.” I couldn’t believe my ears! You mean, someone is standing up against this decades-old failed social experiment? I looked it up online. I wrote to my Representative. (Did I mention we are a homeschooling family?) And thanks to a homeschooling program called Capitol Days put on by Texas Home School Coalition, I found myself in the state capitol with my four children less than a month later, on my birthday. Though we were tired by the end of the afternoon, we made one more stop and went by the office of the Representative brave enough to author this bill, just to share our story, just to say thank you.
They asked me if I would testify for the bill.
I could not have asked for a better birthday gift! After feeling helpless against divorce for so long, I was given an opportunity to do something about it.
On March 8, I went back to Austin to testify for House Bill 93, authored by Representative Matt Krause. I was overwhelmed, as out of the millions of people who have suffered this tragedy in my state alone, I was among eight in the office that day, ready to stand for marriage with this Bill. The Committee gave me about 3 minutes to tell them what I had waited about 40 years to say: Making divorce easy makes for disaster. The local news asked for an interview. You can view it here.
While I was there, I met another person who had shown up to testify, a constitutional law attorney. He was willing to say that no-fault divorce cases are without due process, and it is therefore unconstitutional to have such a law. He said he would challenge the Legislature’s law right up to the Supreme Court of Texas if he could find someone willing. I knew I had to ask if my case qualified; I was willing.
The attorney and I spoke. We were on a very short court schedule, so getting everything we needed done in such a short time would be difficult. I needed two things: 1) an extension to one court deadline to get all the paperwork for the challenge submitted, and 2) funding for the case to move forward. I only had a few weeks. We asked for a hearing before the judge to see if the deadline could be extended. That hearing was held April 20. The judge granted us the extension, but only for 8 additional days, until April 28th. It was not enough time. After all the effort, my case could not move forward. Even if the House Bill passes, it will not affect our marriage as our case was already filed.
I find myself back where I started: facing unilateral no-fault divorce, with nothing but prayer to help me. I cried. A lot.
But all is not lost! House Bill 93 is alive and moving through the Texas House. You may follow it here. Please contact the House representatives, and let them know you support this bill!
Are you walking through no-fault divorce and would like to use your case to challenge the law? Or maybe you are able to contribute financially toward such an effort? It’s an investment that could affect millions of lives for the better, especially the lives of children! If so, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lastly, please pray for our family. After standing for our marriage for so long, I am nearing my 20-year anniversary; I’ve spent the last three anniversaries without my husband. All four of my children have dealt with various issues because of this divorce. Our case is scheduled for mediation on May 18th, just two weeks away. And yes, I am still believing for a miracle. With God, all things are possible!
Standing with you for marriage,
Posted on: Thursday, March 02, 2017
My dad divorced my mom after 26 years and eight kids. He subsequently married three more times. I was out of college when my parents divorced and so was
least affected. I've heard that divorce is the suicide of the family. I have to agree. I'm 50 and not married. I'm a marginal Catholic. My youngest
sister became a Marxist in college. She has two kids from different men and will likely continue this trend. She was four at the time of my parent's
divorce. My youngest brother was nine. He still lives rent free with my mom and verbally abuses her. My sister says he is a heroin addict. These two
were so beautiful and innocent before. Watching home videos of them before the divorce is heartbreaking.
Submitted by B. B.
Posted on: Thursday, March 24, 2016
by Meredith H. (South Jordan)
It started when I was 5. I remember hearing them fight scream while I cried trying to go to sleep. One night as I was asleep I heard some yelling outside my door. Then I heard my mom singing though my dad was still trying to argue with her. As weeks passed the police came to my house so often it scared me. When I turned 6 I went to my aunts house with my sister and three brothers. Only to cry even more finding out they were at court. When we returned home I had found out that my mom had been sent to jail. She got out but shes not doing well. 2 years later we moved. It was the worst I was depressed. But I just smiled hoping everything will be alright. But it never was. I missed my mom so much it hurt to know I didn't have anyone to do my hair. I bubbles my feelings so much that I suddenly burst. I CUT. Voices in my head told it would help but it didn't. My dad started yelling more it was bad. I cried for my mom for help for anyone to save me! I went to a counselor for help she helped me so much she understood me her parents too got in a divorce. It helped but sometimes at night when everyone is asleep i cried and wished for a mommy. I even drew my own mommy. To this day I hate that we moved. I am still depressed and still have feelings i want to spill. My family could have worked. Its been 7 years and I still cry is there anyone out there who just wishes they could have one phone call to heaven.
Posted on: Wednesday, March 23, 2016
When I was 13, my mom began an affair with an old boyfriend, who she ran into at a reunion. She eventually divorced my dad, and married him. My father was devastated. My mom justified her actions by telling everyone their marriage had been miserable and my dad treated her poorly. This was a huge source of gossip in the mid 80's in our small town, and I felt like everyone was talking about my family behind my back. Both my parents were too busy trashing each other to notice what their divorce had done to me. My mom felt she was entitled to be happy with her new husband, and people get divorced all the time, and so it was all really no big deal and I would get over it. Karma did get her though--her amazing old boyfriend turned out to have a big drinking problem, and her new marriage spiraled downhill fast. She eventually divorced him too. Like so many people, she discovered the grass really wasn't greener with someone else. If only more people understood this.
I was, and remain, 100% committed to never putting my children through anything like what I went through. I married a wonderful man and we recently celebrated our 15th anniversary. It shocks me when I realize that we are approaching the length of time my parents were married when my mom's affair began. We have two children who are our entire world, and when I look at them I can't fathom for one minute putting them through anything like that. To this day, I still feel pain over the fact that my mom didn't feel the same way. It's been over 25 years and that pain is still there.
Posted on: Friday, February 26, 2016
My family were not Christian when I was a child, and my mum was never warm towards me or my sister because we reminded her of her aging and mortality, which she resented. The sexual revolution had made her fixate on being a young woman and gave her no preparation to function as a mum. She eventually committed adultery against my dad with his best friend when I was about 15. My mum left, and my older sister already lived away (with her boyfriend), so it was just my dad and me at home, but he was very depressed. I moved out at 16 and moved in with a girlfriend.
Submitted by A.L.P. in February 2016.
Posted on: Friday, February 19, 2016
While I was growing up my parents would argue a lot. I thought their fighting was just a normal thing that grown-ups did. As I got older I would try to intervene and stop them from fighting.
One night when I was 12 years old I woke up at about 3AM and heard my father yelling. I came downstairs to see my mom on the phone with 911. I sat down on the couch with my dad. I found out eventually that my parents were getting a divorce and this was the last night that they were spending together before moving out. I remember my Dad yelling that he didn’t understand how you can be in love with someone and be married to them for over 20 years and just stop being in love with them.
The police eventually came to our house to try to get my dad to agree to leave for the night. He did not want to because he worked for our house and so they told him he either had to leave or they would take him. He was mad at the officers and asked for a moment to say goodbye to me, saying you would want that chance too if you weren’t going to see your son again for several months. The police officers told him to stand up and place his hands against the window because he was under arrest. I immediately ran upstairs and went to the bedroom that overlooked our driveway. I watched as the officers took my dad into the car in handcuffs and drove away. This was the last time that I saw my dad for several months.
I immediately fell into a deep sadness, having a very hard time ever wanting to go to school or do anything else. I suddenly could only see my dad every other weekend and had to walk far away from my house for him to be able to pick me up. My parents tried to have me see counselors, but they were not ever any help. No one ever told me why my parents would no longer be together other than that they did not love each other anymore. I could not understand how they could stop loving each other after being married for so long. It was not until I was 22 years old and heard Dr. Morse speak that I ever heard anyone talk about how much divorce impacts children. I grew up very lonely, only ever having one or two friends while at school and never having a social life outside of school or sports.
I still do not feel like I have a family that I can go home to. I rarely visit my family because it doesn’t feel like home, and I have a hard time feeling like they love me. We did not go to Church after my parents' divorce, and I eventually became an agnostic. I only ever knew of God and never saw him as being three persons who loved me.
I was gifted the grace of faith at the beginning of this year and since coming back to the Church have found an incredible amount of love and support for the suffering that I have gone through and still carry with me today. I am so thankful for the Church’s teachings on the indissolubility of marriage. I still carry a lot of pain with me but I have found immense relief in knowing that I am a victim, my parents separation was wrong, and that I was not wrong for being hurt by it. It helps knowing that my parents are still married in His eyes and that God still very much so loves our entire family.
Looking to the future, I am happy that God has gifted me with the incredible grace of a vocation to religious life with a Fransiscan Order. I am happy
that I am finally home-sick when I am away from the brothers as they truly feel like family. I am also able to finally fulfill the deep desire
that I have always had within me to spend my life serving those in need.
Submitted by S. R. December 2015.