Are you aware divorce in a family can be generational? What do I mean by that? Let me give you an example.
Grandma and Grandpa Smith divorce early in their marriage. Most generally the mother rears the children in a single parent family. Or she marries quickly and that marriage ends in divorce. The children grow up, get married and they end up divorced. The grandchildren of the Grandma and Grandpa Smith have marriages that end in divorce also.
The great-grandchildren now have a family legacy of divorce. That is all they know. They know their great grandparents divorced; their grandparents divorced; their own mom and dad divorced or never got married in the first place but separated early on. The great grandchildren don’t know any different. If something doesn’t work out in a marriage, end the marriage. It’s almost expected.
They have no “marriage skills.” In other words they don’t know how to be married. They have had no model to base their unions upon. However, I think it is possible to stop a family’s generational divorce. God’s love and God’s people can be the catalyst of change.
Exodus 20:5-6 , “I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.”
How will the thousands know to love God and keep His commandments unless the church steps up?
What the church can do
- Connect a mature two-parent married couple with a single parent family
- Provide sermons that talk about what marriage looks like and why marriage is important to the Lord
- Acknowledge the single parent families in your church by encouraging them and lifting then up in prayer
- Allow personal testimonies, when appropriate, of answered prayers so the children from single parent families can see and know the Lord works in our lives
- Provide programs/curriculums such that help the divorcing heal. DivorceCare can do that in your church
- Provide classes that teach single parents how to parent so the parent doesn’t feel like they have to marry right away
What the single parent can do
- If your parents divorced, make sure you have healed from that childhood trauma
- Take classes or go to counseling so you can be sure of your parenting abilities
- Talk to your children about what a Godly marriage looks like
- Explain how divorce might affect their marriage when they grow up. I told my kids that their marriages would have a better chance of surviving if they married someone whose parents were not divorced
- Become friends with two parent couples in your church and have them share with your children what holds their marriage together
- Get your children registered in a DC4K, DivorceCare for Kids, program
Is it possible to stop generational divorce? Oh yes, I believe it is. With God’s word and church family, divorced families can learn what a good solid relationship looks like. They can learn from their mistakes and that of previous generations. They can teach their children. Most important is a relationship with Jesus Christ.
Adult children of divorce don’t have to adhere to generational divorce.