Dating someone whose parents are divorced

Children with divorced parents have experienced a different kind of violent, traumatic collision.

They celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary with a big gala affair complete with fancy clothes and a vow renewal.A child is an irreducible unit — a singularity cannot be separated from itself. What the parents experience relationally, the child experiences internally. Depression, anxiety, addiction, anger, compulsions, and distractions are all possible effects of being torn, and very often we are not even aware that these things might be related to the “accident.” Scripture uses many different metaphors to speak ethically, but theologians have used at least two terms that are relevant here: the “forensic” and the “renovative.” The “forensic” is legal. In order to heal, we need to be able to distinguish between our brokennesses. But, unfortunately and tragically, it still breaks you.So when your parents — your first example and measure of relational unity and security — were separated, you were torn in a way that a human is not built to be torn. You’re one “thing,” and now you feel like you’ve been cracked in half into two things. Popular therapy for children of divorce will say again and again, “You didn’t do anything wrong.” That’s a forensic category. You are still, in a real way — in an on-the-ground, in-your-fibers sense — overwhelmed by a weight too heavy to lift and twisted in knots too complex to untie in a single counseling session.And so, in divorce, parents communicate a view of God’s love that speaks more powerfully than words. But lies are powerful when they have good material to work with. My eye is on child.” We see God’s protective care for children of divorce. His specialty is in redeeming — in healing, restoring, and strengthening.It is important to recognize, then, that there will always be a painful proverb in the back of your head that has its root in that experience. Divorce is a fertile ground for lies of justified self-hatred. We see the structures that he has set up to care for the weak and his grief over the violence that breaking these structures does. His forte is in trauma, and in complex pain — not always in fixing or explaining right away, but in being-with (Isaiah 43:2). The ‘father’ pictures in Scripture have never been anything but painful for you.

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