Before you get all defensive, I am NOT anti-religion!
Let me say that again – I am not getting down on religion, your religious beliefs, or saying you should give up your religion.
That’s out of the way – now let’s talk.
About the role of religion and marriage. Religion and divorce. And what is actually best for you.
I don’t hate religion. Really.
Some have gotten that impression since I have shared my personal experience with religion and the role it played in my abusive marriage, difficult divorce, and subsequent estrangement from my parents and my daughter.
The thing is, I hate it when people try to control other people.
And let’s face it – lot’s of people have used religion for that very end.
That was my personal experience, true. However, I am not alone.
And before you claim, “That was your religion. You should come to my church”, it is not my previous religion alone that had people in it that wanted to use their position for their own ends.
Every religion has people like that.
Every. Single. One.
If you are of a Christian religion, consider this: according to the Bible, God’s own angelic creation wanted to gain more power for himself and become the Devil.
Jesus’s own Apostle betrayed him for money.
The desire for power – in whatever form it takes – is not new and is not reserved for fundamentalists, cults, Muslims, Jews, Christians, Hindus, or whatever.
No religion is exempt from individuals that want to use that very religion as a way to gain the advantage over others.
Marriage – and divorce – is one of the primary places where this shows up in religion.
It may be a patriarchal based notion – Man is the head of the household.
It may be a biblically based notion – God hates a divorcing – Malachi 2:16.
It may be that there is a perception that you just want the easy way out, are giving up, take your vows lightly, committed or want to commit some other “sin” like adultery, covetousness, or lust.
It’s very easy to take the self-righteous stand, judge others for what they “should” be doing, and then use religious based dogma to support that position.
And it is very easy to sway others to support this way of thinking.
BAM! Power. Control.
It may be a husband/wife using their power to behave selfishly, abusively, and with impunity.
After all, who wants to disappoint their spouse, their congregation, and GOD?! Better tow the line.
Or perhaps it’s the fear of punishment that keeps a spouse in a marriage that doesn’t work.
Hell. Shunning. Inability to remarry. Humiliation.
Somewhere in all this mercy, kindness, and forgiveness seem to have fallen by the wayside.
We are all human, therefore, we ALL make mistakes.
The mistake of choosing the wrong partner, of violating vows, or changing our minds.
Here’s the point I want to make:
If your marriage is not salvageable, for whatever reason, and the only thing keeping you in it is religious fear, it’s time to really look at your belief system.
I don’t mean giving up your faith.
I mean looking at your beliefs – that God wants you to stay in a miserable situation. That other, fallible humans say you should stay, that your spouse has the right to do anything they want to you because they are your spouse.
You are telling yourself a lie.
Leaving your spouse doesn’t necessarily mean leaving your religion.
And leaving your spouse definitely doesn’t have to mean leaving your faith or spiritual convictions behind.
If your religion, or more specifically certain people in your religion, demand that you stay in a bad marriage, is it really following godlike principles?
Is blind faith really faith?
Your spiritual connection is personal.
It is whatever YOU define it to be.
That may mean religion.
It may mean your own spiritual practice.
It may mean you don’t subscribe to any spiritual ideas.
The only opinion that counts is yours.
As soon as someone else is stepping in and telling you what you should believe and how you should live those beliefs a red flag should pop up.
You have one life.
You have one moment – NOW.
What you choose to do in that moment is strictly up to you. Regardless of how others may interpret that, you alone can make that determination for yourself.
That includes whatever consequences may unfold.
I gave up my religion.
I couldn’t accept that the God that I had read about, studied, and devoted my spiritual practice to, would really want me to stay in a relationship where my physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well being were at high risk of destruction.
I lost my parents, my daughter, and my entire community and support system because of that choice.
And I gained true spiritual connection.
P.S. Did you get everything you needed from this article? No? Maybe it’s time for a little more.
My goal is to meet you where you are and walk with you until you’re ready to set out again. A little strategy goes a long way. Let’s set up a mini-strategy session to get you started!
And don’t forget to grab your FREE Divorce Survival Kit before you go!