Tell Ruth the Truth

This is a moderated blog is a project of the Ruth Institute. Have a story to share? We're listening.


"It was torture for all of us."

I am a child of divorce. I am a 52 year old father of three children. I am married but in a mixed marriage. We do not share the same faith background. I am the third child of four. I have two older sisters and a younger brother. My mom was 15 when she got pregnant with my oldest sister. My dad was 19. They were married 6 months before my sister was born. They had four kids in five years. My sisters are actually 11 months apart (Irish Twins).

My mom was raised Catholic and actually had the notion of being a nun. My father did not have a strong faith background and was nominally Christian. He converted to Catholicism before they were married. My sisters, brother and I were very close given our proximity in age. We were all baptized and received Holy Communion. My sisters were both confirmed but neither my brother nor I were confirmed.

About the time I was in seventh grade my parents began to fight. They would spend hours every night screaming at each other in the laundry room in the basement with the washer and dryer running, but it did little to muffle their yelling. My dad never inflicted any physical harm on my mother nor did she to him. They verbally abused each other for about a year. Then when I was in 8th grade they announced their divorce. The four of us were completely devastated. We huddled together to protect each other.


My Dad moved out. Over the next several years he would drive by the house and find ways to taunt her or try to reconcile with her. It was torture for all of us.

He remarried around the time I turned 16. From the very first day and up to this day I did not get along with his wife. She has always been emotionally unstable, and at one point attempted suicide. I hated my dad for the divorce, for marrying her, and I had little respect for him. I still have not completely reconciled with him. Our relationship is tense, and I see him almost every day.

My Mom stayed in the house and lives there still today. She remarried to a man I have not liked from the beginning. He has had health problems and has been on disability for the last 25 years. He only briefly worked when they were married. He did not own anything substantial at the time of their marriage. His medical bills are in the hundreds of thousands of dollars but are all taken care of through the VA. He is barely mobile and can hardly get around the house. He has driven us all away from our mother. When she calls us to help her with something, we are all reluctant because of the drama we have to deal with. I rarely talk to my mother on the phone because he is in the background interjecting comments.

I left the church as a teenager and did not return until my oldest daughter was born 18 years ago. My wife was raised in an Evangelical church, and she and I have gone to separate churches every Sunday for the past 18 years. She raised our daughters in her church, and I go to mass alone.

Yay, divorce!

Submitted February 10, 2016 by D.B.

I'm still emotionally disturbed by my parents divorce sixty years ago.

I am a sixty-one year old adult child of divorce. My parents divorced in 1956 when I was two years old. My mother remarried in the same month that the divorce was final. My mother had full custody of me, and my new step-father raised me into adult-hood. I had minimal contact with my natural father especially after he remarried a couple of years later and produced four more children. He became busy taking care of his family, like we all do. But his absence in my life as I was growing up bothered me emotionally a great deal. I was in enough pain that I started smoking pot at about twelve years old and drinking alcohol at about thirteen whenever I could get it. Smoking pot lasted about twenty years, and I use alcohol to this day.


I have been through a divorce after a twenty-two year marriage and was not the best husband or father during that first marriage. I have remarried and have been married now for twenty-one years and almost ruined this one with alcohol abuse, anger rages, arguments, etc. For many years of my life until recently I thought my father had done somethings wrong or had not been a good husband to my mother and somehow screwed up the marriage. I was angry at him. I could not relate to him when I did see him, so I went long blocks of time, years, without having contact with him. I loved him, he loved me, but we had zero relationship. I also missed out on relationships with my aunt and grandparents on my father's side. My father passed away ten years ago, and my aunt and grandparents are also gone. My aunt passed away last about ten months ago, and I all of a sudden had access to family photos, scrap books, misc. documentation. This prompted me to research my mother and father's marriage and divorce all those years ago.

I found out that my mother became dissatisfied in their four year marriage and hooked up with a friend of my father's (while she was still married to my father). This new man in her life became my step-father, who raised me. I did not know this information until I was sixty years old, just a few months ago. All through my life none of my elders told me what really happened, not even my father. For at least fifty years I had misplaced blame for my parents' divorce. I blamed my father. When my father remarried, he was married until death, about forty-five years. My mother has been married four times during her life.

After learning this information now, I am in anguish thinking that if I had only known this information when I was twenty and was able to process it, maybe I could of had a relationship with my father over all of those years. In my humble opinion, I think the sexual revolution may have started a long time before the 1970's. My testimony to the negative effects of a divorce when children are involved is that I am sixty-one years old and I am still emotionally disturbed about my parents divorce that happened sixty years ago.

Submitted by R.A. October 2015.



When parents don't love each other

by s.f. (ny, ny)

When parents don't love each other, they don't love each others family. when they don't love each other's family, they don't love the family of their child. the child feels alone and can't show too much love or devotion to either side.

when the parents remarry and have children, they love that new spouse, and that new spouses family. the first child has to watch while the parent loves and gives preference to that new child's whole family.


this state can continue for the first child's entire life. watching the parents ignore 1/2 of the first child's family, and giving preference and love to the latter child's entire family.

i have lived this as the first child. the anger at the callousness and unfairness never really subsides. And then they wonder why you're angry and why you never really seem to "get over it."

when the parents don't love each other, they should just give the child up for adoption rather than making the child live like that.


My sense of family was swept away...

 

 

I just want to say what my reaction was when I understood that night, when I was seven, what was the meaning of the word "divorce."

  • Despite an empathy that made it very possible to forgive them in my early 30's;
  • Despite an understanding of how much a young, responsible couple was up against in the 60s;
  • Despite understanding the impossible balance between being a parent, focusing on one's children, getting a job and being a single person having to see a new path after desertion of sacred vows;
  • Despite recognizing that our milquetoast clergy were themselves baptized into the 'orgasm as sacrament' culture through every venue of communication;
  • Despite not having escaped some wrangling with it myself;
  • Despite having recognized how God can take every misdirection and infuse it with grace...
I will never forget the sensation that night. 

My entire sense of family as unity and sanctuary was swept away completely, as if the house itself had been taken away and we were all exposed to the elements and directed to fend for ourselves.

It brought on a sense of being unlovable, of possibly being at fault, of being horribly imperfect, of needing to be completely self-reliant, of needing to be perfect, of needing to never share any insecurity, problems, fears or anything else that might annoy other people.

Despite having been, in time, truly healed through grace, the wound ran deep. I was lucky in that I had two very good people as parents and had all 4 grandparents. Despite this obvious advantage, the lack of confidence, the lack of direction, and the cross of scrupulosity were crippling.

The grace of it is recognizing the same wounds in others; and knowing that just having the glimmer of an idea that we were individually created, by love and with a unique purpose, is an irresistible lure back to the trail that leaves one fascinated and starving for God and His love.

Between Mary Kay and Pro Life, God has put a fire in the belly, a courage and a generous, but always needing more of, patience. It is very easy to love when all these broken are seen as cherished children Jesus aches to bring to Heaven.

By J. A. Submitted August 25, 2015 


Five step-moms and sterilized at age 30

My parents divorced when I was about 9. I grew up in a home where marriage dysfunction was the norm. We went through 5 step moms. My brother and sister all became close because we had to rely on each other. 

I married my first wife when I was in my early twenties. I was emotionally very immature. I needed to be loved so I dated little and married fast. My 1st wife could not have kids so we adopted a beautiful boy. He was 3 weeks old. When our child was 3 years old we divorced, the child had an addictive personality and needed a dad, I was not there full time as my wife moved away. He became a drug addict and was in and out of jail. We tried to help him but as divided as we were, we were not much help. To make matters worse my second wife and I were battered in court for more child support so much that we decided to give me a vasectomy at the age of 30. The Dr. never even asked me why at such a young age, why would I want to sterilize myself. I could not imagine being beat up in court again because a marriage failed, the courts were used to hurt me because I hurt my wife by leaving her. 


I'm now 57 and have been happily married for 18 years. I have one regret, it is I wish more than anything that I had children. I was emotionally dysfunctional when I first married, my family's role in the sexual revolution hurt me and I carried it on to hurt more people. Marriage is a beautiful thing, a sacrament in the Catholic church. Marriage is a moral obligation to raise our children and be a family. Its not a union of people that are selfishly focused on self pleasure. I have no children, I have no legacy because I messed up really bad. I just pray that my story can help a young person or couple from all the pain I inflicted on myself and others. God has the only plan that preserves families and your dignity, God wants what's best for you despite what your desires and hormones are telling you. 

May God bless America! George

Submitted on July 8, 2015

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Hidden Pain

by c.a.w.

Life growing up was never easy for me. Maybe it was my sensitive temperament. I was shy, and a bit of a tomboy. Consequently, I was never popular in school. It was hard, but at least I had my family to turn to, right? I always had my brother to play with, and on occasion, my cousins too. But eventually things turned sour.

Occasional arguments between my parents turned into late night screaming matches. And I cried at night, trying hard to pretend I was asleep.

My father was not the perfect husband. He was often harsh and critical of my mother. She would say it was verbal abuse. Perhaps it was. But my mother was not perfect either. She responded to my fathers criticism by seeking comfort in another man. While I was too young to know about sex and affairs, I knew something felt wrong when he was around. My mom claims to this day that he was just a friend back then. But do you really need to kiss or have sex to have a emotional affair?


My parents separated on my 9th birthday. I'm not sure it really sank in right away. My dad offered to go to counseling, but my mom felt it was useless or too late. They fought like cats and dogs every time they see each other. They would constantly bad mouth each other in front of me and my brother. Finally a couple years passed and the divorce was finalized. My mother was free to marry the man she had befriended. On the surface I tried to be happy for her. I longed to live in a house again and have some stability.

But deep down inside, I hurt, and I hurt badly. But I was good at hiding the hurt. I was secretly depressed. Now, things were not good at school or at home. I tried to stay positive, but quite frequently I wished I'd die. My step father was no parent. He would occasionally make sexual innuendos at me. I was scared to shower when it was just me and him in the house. I would often hide in my bedroom, the basement, or ride my bike for hours. My brother had moved back with my father. We would see each other on the weekly visits, but things began to change with us as well.

I felt like a only child. I would get offended when people mistakenly or purposely called me by my step father's last name. You see, my maiden name was the only thing left I had to cling to of my parents marriage, and I wasn't giving it up for THAT last name.

I prayed and prayed that the Lord would save me from this pain. He did answer my prayer, but the healing took a long long time. I am grown up now, married with a family. I still get occasional boughts of depression, due largely from the insecurities I developed growing up.

My mother is divorced again, my father eventually remarried. My parents "get along" now when they see each other at family functions. But still, I admit, I sometimes resent the fact that, while both sets of my grandparents had been married for 50+ years, neither sets of my kids' grandparents are still together. My husband's parents are divorced too. Its definitely a game changer. I looked up to my grandparents marriages. Who will my kids look up to? Yes the sun has set on my parent's marriage, and I have accepted that it will never be repaired. And while the wounds of my past are not fresh, I know the scars are still there. They will always be there. Kids may move "past it", but they do not get "over it". It molds us to who we are, and its not always for the better.

Remember this when you choose divorce over reconciliation.

 


Parental Alienation Syndrome

by Heather B. (Maryland)

My Experiences with Parental Alienation Syndrome

I still remember standing at the top of a sloping gravel driveway. My sister stood beside me; I was uncertain of the words we were trained to speak. As the black pick-up truck made its final ascent to our front door, I look at my sister. I look at my mother who is wearing an expression on her face, which I now identify as smug. Her eyes prod me and I fear not having the courage to say what I know in my heart is wrong, because the emotions I am feeling are hurt and fear.

As my father pulls his truck to a stop and peers out the window at us, my sister and I say simultaneously, “We don’t want to see you!” My father glares at my mother. He speaks no words. He stares at us. Does he see the fear in our eyes? What is he thinking? Tears well up in his eyes. He backs down the drive-way. I watch until his truck is gone and then I listen until I can hear his engine no more. I cry. I am seven-years-old.


It is May 2011, the month of Mother’s Day. It is the last time I will see my daughters for a while for they are moving with their father to another state—I sent them to him, because he has more money than I do; he can give them a better life. My ex-husband assures me that our pick-up spot is the same time and same place. It is the day of our rendezvous. I call. My ex-husband tells me that my daughters—who are age 7 and 9—do not want to see me. I am speechless with disbelieve. Our mother-daughter relationship is stable. Our visits have been joyful. I find my voice. I don’t believe you. It is your duty as their father to be supportive. How can you allow our children to decide our visitation arrangement? Oh, I see, you talked to your mother and she approved this message. I’m angry. I want to talk to my daughters. Their small voices carry across the air waves to my ear. Their voices communicate fear. I try to keep the steel from my voice. Pack your bags. I am coming to get you. It’s our last weekend together. And then I hear the words just as my sister and I said them so many years before, “We don’t want to see you!” The pain rises with the tears. I force my voice to remain calm. I now know what I have done. I will do no more damage. It’s okay. Mom loves you. Good bye.

I would not talk to my daughters for four months. I decided to stay out of their lives until they were old enough to make the decision to be in my life, until he could not use them as a weapon and damage them further. I don’t know if it was the right decision, but I was poor—as I am now—and I could afford no one to advocate my right in this joint custody arrangement. I had to trust that time would heal the wound. I didn’t know what my ex-husband and his wife said about me during that time of silence. I didn’t know if my daughters would ever want me in their lives again.

The Devastating Effects of Feuding Parents

At the time of this incident, I was studying Parental Alienation Syndrome in a graduate course. I had never heard the term. It was fascinating and terrifying to see the dynamics of my estranged relationships in the text I read. I believe this new knowledge kept me from destroying my relationship with my children. I believe it allowed me to do my part in maintaining their innocence even though there is inevitably a loss of innocence when facing the reality that:

1. Your life will never be the same and…
2. Safety is not guaranteed or given, but a quality to be sought

That is what divorce teaches children. I want you to know that poor parenting hurts children and causes so many mental health issues. Poor parenting is the reason our society has distorted moral values. Please heed what I am telling you. Examine your parenting methods. Research proper parenting techniques. Find your weaknesses. Don’t deny that you have them. Do it for your children. Put your children before yourself…before they grow into a distorted version of who they were meant to be.

To read my chapter on Parental Alienation Syndrome, visit: analyticalperspective.wordpress.com

 


Lifelong Grief

by Alysse E. (Raleigh, NC)

My divorce story begins with an image of my father, curled up underneath my baby bed while I slept, whispering a tearful goodbye. Later that night, he would beg my mother, “Please, don’t take her away.” Because I was only two when my parents divorced, I have no actual memory of this moment. But my mother has shared it with me enough times that it feels like a real memory. I clung to this image as a child, and in some ways it fed my fantasy that my parents might have stayed married, if only she had allowed him to stay.

Whenever I heard this story, it always struck me that my father did not say, “Don’t leave me,” but only, “Don’t take her away.” My Lebanese father viewed their troubled marriage through the eyes of a culture where family ties are strong and divorce is rare. He believed they could find a way to work things out so that I could stay in his home, even if the marriage was bad. But that was not enough for my American mother, who had grown up in a turbulent home where her own mother had stayed too long in an unhealthy marriage “for the children.” After all, it was 1976, and the culture was shouting that getting out was the best thing to do—that she deserved better. What my parents did not realize at the time is that divorce never works out for the better—especially not for the children.


 

Nearly 38 years later, I am still grieving the loss of my parents’ marriage. The divorce left me fragmented, vulnerable, angry, and, in some ways, homeless. I am always half empty—longing for the family I will never have. When they divorced, my mother and father broke up our little family, but what neither of them realized at that time is that they also broke me in two.

Tug of War. Both my parents love me dearly. Even after the divorce, I never doubted their love for me, not even for a moment. But that love was a double edged sword in some ways because they were always competing for me. For most of my childhood, I felt torn between my them, and their two worlds.

Because my mother had primary custody, I saw my father on weekends and holidays. I always felt guilty when I spent time with one, or like I had to hide my feelings of love for the other. I would miss my mother when I was at my father’s house, and when my father would drop me off after a visit, I would feel like my heart was being torn from my chest every time we said goodbye (I still feel that way to this day!). At a school event, I would be so happy to see my father in the audience, but when he came backstage to give me a hug, if my mother and her new husband were nearby, I would hang back, fearful of showing too much emotion, and perhaps hurting my mother’s feelings. That tug of war feeling has never gone away.

My parents’ divorce also robbed me of precious time with my father that I will never get back. Growing up, my father always tried to squeeze as much time as he could into our summer visits, and the every other weekend I saw him during the year. Once he had a new family, our time together was more limited. Nearly every visit, we would have one “date night,” where we could just be by ourselves. As much as I treasured these moments, they were never enough.

In addition to lost time with my father, I lost someone to protect me from the men my mother mistakenly brought into our lives in her (understandable) search for love; I lost someone to affirm me as a woman during the awkward and painful pre-teen years; I lost someone to greet and grill my potential boyfriends; I lost someone to comfort me when my heart was broken; and I lost strong arms to hold me when I fell and to encourage me to try again. Today, when I see my little girl run to greet my husband at the door, when I see her smile as he picks her up and twirls her around, I grieve for all the moments I lost with my father that I can never get back.

Homeless. The divorce of my parents also robbed me of a real home. Sure, I have my mother’s house or my father’s house. But I mean “home” as that one place where you feel safe and you truly belong.

Growing up with my single mother and two siblings, life was chaotic most of the time. There always seemed to be some kind of traumatic event happening, either with us or other family members. My mother did her best to provide a safe and stable home for us, but on and off throughout my life, there was a man in the house who was not my father. Some of these men were married to my mother and others were not. A few were decent guys, but at least one—the one who stayed the longest—left me fearful and distrustful of any other man who walked through our door. During these years, I experienced a lack of control over my world that left me always anxious and eventually bitter. That changed my perception of home, and limited my ability to feel safe (and relaxed) there.

In some ways, my father’s home was different—more stable. Although I never felt unsafe, I always felt like an outsider. While he and my siblings from his second marriage always welcomed me with open hearts, it was my stepmother’s domain, where I was reminded that I was “the other child,” the outsider from his first marriage, not really part of his new and forever family. This feeling was reinforced for me a few Christmases ago, when my stepmother asked everyone to gather for a family picture. When my father beckoned us over to get in the shot, she said quickly, “Not them!” I remember my father’s face turning red with rage, as he hissed, “What is wrong with you!” On one hand, I can’t really blame my stepmother for wanting to have one picture of just their family. But where does that leave me? It is impossible to forget these moments, which happened throughout my childhood, but this one stung even more because it involved my children.

Broken Family Ties. Divorce also means that my two children will never experience my mother and father as Grandpa and Grandma. Nearly nine years after the birth of my first child, my parents have never been in the same room together with my children. My kids will never know what it is like to have their real grandparents, enjoying them, as a couple. And I will never be able to witness even a moment of them doting on my children as only biological grandparents can. Instead, I get broken bits and pieces—my dad with the kids, my dad and my stepmom with kids, or my mom by herself.

The reality of this loss hit me like a brick one Christmas, when we were driving home from staying at my father and stepmother’s home. I was on the phone with mom, sobbing about the emptiness I felt from the visit. It reminded me of the way I often felt as a child during summers with my dad—half empty, jealous, unsatisfied, and longing for more. As I talked with my mother, I looked over at my daughter sitting beside me in the backseat, and it dawned on me how much I desired something I would never have—to spend a holiday with just my parents and their grandchildren. “It breaks my heart,” I told her through tears, “that our children will never have you and Baba (my father) together—they will never know what that feels like!”

Longing. When I was about four years old, my father and mother briefly considered getting back together, mainly because I was having a “hard time” with the divorce. During this period, we spent one glorious day together at a local park—just the three of us. I can still see my parents smiling and holding hands. That was probably the happiest day of my life. They eventually decided against reconciling, and my father married my stepmother shortly thereafter. I was not invited to the wedding, and I later learned that it was because she did not want him to be reminded of his “old life.”

Today, I still treasure that brief moment of family togetherness. My parents’ divorce left me with an unresolved longing for their reconciliation, even though as an adult I understand what drove them apart. Their marriage was probably doomed from the start, mainly due to cultural differences, unfaithfulness, neglect, and traumatic circumstances (the first six months of my life, we were trapped in Lebanon during the beginning of the civil war). Even though I cannot imagine them still married, I will never get over my natural longing for them to have stayed together.

Lifelong Grief. Once, when I was complaining about my parents’ divorce to a friend (who comes from an intact family), she responded, “You are always talking about your mom and dad getting a divorce!” Maybe it was the way she said it, but it was like she was saying, “Why don’t you just get over it?” At the time, I was too stung by her words to answer, but if I could go back, I would tell her that my parents’ divorce is the worst thing that ever happened to me.

Divorce is the end of a child’s family. My family—the biological mother-father family that God used to make me—ended the day my parents said, “I don’t.” Yes, I have a family, and new and lasting relationships with my siblings from my parents’ second (or third) marriages, and for these things I am thankful.

But I do not have the two people who created me. No alternative or additional family, no matter how loving, will ever replace what I lost. Nothing will repair the broken cord that was my parents’ marriage and now is not, and nothing can change the fact that my children will never know their grandparents as a married couple. I am all that is left of their marriage, and like their marriage, I am broken.

For me, the legacy of divorce for children is lifelong grief. It comes back in waves throughout your life, and it impacts your own children in ways you do not expect. And no, you never get over it.


3rd times a charm

by Ashtin (Iowa)

My dad

My dad

My biological mother and father had only known each other 6 months when they had their shotgun wedding, which my mother was 5 months pregnant at. They were young, even though my mom had Curtis(6)( my brother from a previous marriage) already, Logan was born, then myself.

But at the age of 2 my parents got a divorce I assume for the same reason any Hail Mary marriage doesn't work out. And by the time the final court date my mother was 3 months pregnant with my little brother keeton (the product of Darren and my mom). They end up getting married, and my mom got custody of Logan and I, so under one roof there was 7 people (Darren had two kids from a previous marriage)and two dogs. We saw our dad and Jenn (my moms ex BFF and my dad's new girlfriend/assistant) on weekends, but Darren hit mom a lot and spanked Logan with the metal part of the belt, and me... I don't talk about it, but he was always nice to me calling me sweetie and daughter.


So after mom finally had enough of the beating she left, swearing off men forever but there were still problems and mom signed over custody to my dad and jenn, and then my dad quit his high paying job and laid around all day but my step mom jenn took us to day care because she didn't feel dad was in the right state of mind (drugs) to care for us. So we moved back to Iowa to live with our grandparents till dad got enough money to move into a house of our own. Jenn didn't come with. :(.

Grandma and grandpa are fantastic people!! Hands down the only example if a real relationship I ever have seen. But my mom lost contact with us, we didn't hear from her for 6 months, jenn had come to Iowa after 2 months apart. We got a house and I was doing well in school, and even though I called jenn "mom" there was always an emptiness I felt. My older brother Logan idolized my mom, me on the other hand wanted answers, why doesn't she want me, I am her only baby girl. What possibly could I have don't wrong to make her give me up! But she and Gary (her boyfriend) and keeton showed up on our door step. Shocked and already had come to terms I'd never seen them again. I was hesitant to trust again. But Logan he was head over heels joyed at this.

So we went and had lunch and they left back to Kanas city. We didn't talk for 6 months after that, but when we finally did, we saw her every summer and Christmas break, she would call logan all. The time and I was lucky to speak with her once a month. Logan was always the problem child so I was always put on the back burner. Well my mom moved to Texas with Gary (now husband, really nice guy) and we continued seeing them. But in the summer of 2012 we got back to Iowa and Jen and dad had gotten a divorce. I was crushed! Jenn was my best friend. My brother logan who had always had a problem with authority ran off and started doing heavier drug and left me with just the depressed sobbing angry mess that I called "Dad." I was often put in the middle and heard horror stories about the both of them! And to top it off my mom called and said she couldn't afford to have us done for Christmas. I am 17 now and haven't seen her since that summer. We talk sometimes. I still see jenn regularly.

My life is gravely impacted by divorce. I have never been in a real relationship. I go for guys that treat me like dirt because honestly I've never known anything else. I go into deep depressions, and sometimes I'm perfectly normal. I don't want love to destroy me like it has done my family. So yes I'm terrified of marriage and love, and growing up because what I've seen is only hurt and hell comes out of it all. Life isn't suppose to be lived like this but I keep myself from getting hurt. I just wish someone understood.


Their divorce nearly killed me

Growing up in suburban Philadelphia, the daughter of two yuppies, it seemed like I had everything. I was pretty sheltered, a shy child by nature and nurture. The later cause of my introverted nature was the fact that my parents avoided verbal communication with each other. The only time I remember them directly talking to each other was a rather loud fight.

Instead of providing a good relationship model and any hint of social skills for me, my parents’ example made me evade meaningful social interactions with my peers. I found refuge in school, dance, and music. Unfortunately, my older sister discovered escape through drinking, drugs, and sex.


Fast-forward to late 2003. I was in 8th grade, in the middle of the terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad stage of puberty. My parents announce that they are getting a divorce. Although they had been practically divorced during my entire life, this announcement turned my world upside down. My life-long depression spun out of control. I started experiencing suicidal thoughts. The climax of my depression was when I held a knife to my wrist. I wanted to kill myself, but I was afraid of the physical pain I would feel. I ended up putting the knife down. The next day, I went to see my guidance counselor at school. I told her what happened, and long story short, I was sent to the mental hospital. After my hospital visit, I continued therapy and medication.

While I no longer experienced suicidal thoughts, I still had much healing to accomplish. I learned that both my mother and my father had been in long-term relationships with other people (their current spouses). I also learned that my mother had been married before she met my dad. I was disgusted with the deceit and lies my parents had been feeding me. I was stronger than they thought, so why didn't they tell me the truth? I was so irate that they would blatantly lie to me!

In high school, I was still very shy and hesitant to develop real relationships. Subconsciously, I think that I was afraid of being hurt by others. My parents “relationship” consisted of mostly silent treatment, with occasional incidents of passive-aggressive behavior. In my mind, that was the pattern that all relationships followed. Throughout high school and the first year or two of college, I thought that in the rare chance that I became married, I would eventually get divorced.

Both my mother and father remarried, the former in January 2009 and the later in December 2011. My sister was in a serious relationship with a great guy. In my own family, I constantly felt like a third wheel in my family. I only started dating in college, but was consistently disappointed by the lack of authentic men on campus. Fortunately, I became more involved in my church community and learned about self-less, sacrificing, true relationships through academic study and personal witness of couples committed to each other, through good and bad times.

I will always carry some scars from my parents’ divorce. I share my story with you to show you that divorce is a horrible experience for children. If you come from a faith background, the following quote best sums up divorce:

"Divorce is when parents cast of their cross and give it to their children."

My story is just a small example of how deeply wounded our culture is by our destruction of marriage. We must work diligently to restore the true meaning of marriage as a sacrificial, life and love-giving union that produces children and furthers the good of all society. Marriage is a beautiful, life-long commitment and must be carefully entered into and protected and nourished by every one of us.