Supporting Others In Divorce and Separation

Divorce and separation are never easy.

So, how do we C.A.R.E. for our group members and friends who are experiencing the anger, pain and loss of divorce and separation?


CRISIS – Understanding the Stress of Divorce or Separation

Regardless of the reasons, divorce and separation impact every area of a person’s life: physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, financial, even vocational for some. To show you care about your group member going through divorce or separation, it’s helpful to understand the stress and emotions they may be experiencing.

According to a recent article in the Huffington Post, there are Five Emotional Stages of Divorce, similar to the stages of grief:

    1. Denial: I can’t believe this is happening!
    2. Anger: What went wrong? He/she is so terrible!
    3. Bargaining: I can’t handle this emotionally, so I will negotiate whatever I need to go back to the way it was before.
    4. Depression: I can’t go to work or face my coworkers or my ex-spouse.
    5. Acceptance: This is my/our new reality.

APPLICATIONPractical Suggestions for Encouragement

LOOK – Realize your group member  might be stressed about the divorce, even if they say they’re happy or relieved to move on. They may be stressed if you notice any of these symptoms:

    • Lack of concentration
    • Defensive or overly-emotional
    • Physical exhaustion or illness
    • Loss of appetite or excessive eating, drinking, etc.

ASK – Sometimes our group members  want encouragement and support even when they try to appear strong and independent. So here are a few questions you can ask them:

    • How can I support you this week?
    • How’s your family doing? How are your kids responding to your news?
    • Do you have a good support system right now?
    • Is there anything I can do to support you and your family?

LISTEN – Be available just to listen to your group member talk about the pain, anger, sense of relief, and stress of the whole experience. Avoid telling your own story re: divorce or separation unless they ask, or avoid stating your biblical stance on marriage- which could do more harm than good if they are not a follower of Jesus.

EXPRESS KIND CONCERN – If necessary, kindly express your concern if your group member is making unwise choices during this season by saying something like, “I’m concerned about you. The choices you’re making don’t seem like you. Are you doing okay?”

REFERENCEWhat Does the Bible Say About God’s Response?

ENGAGENext Steps for Engaging Your Group Member

OFFER empathy and concern, but hold back on giving advice or stating your biblical stance on divorce; what they need is a friend to encourage them to make healthy decisions right now.

CONNECT them to a friend or dinner group at church who understands the heartbreak of divorce or separation or a trusted Counselor. For support at Hoboken Grace go to

SHARE the link to Hoboken Grace Online as a way to relieve stress.

SUGGEST they reach out to if they need pastoral care, assistance financially,  or other means of support.

PRAY for your group member and their family in this new season.


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Photo by Kinga Cichewicz on Unsplash


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