About the Author

Heather Gemmen Wilson loves to laugh. She says, "Through all the circumstances of my life, I have gained more than I have lost ... and I'm not just talking weight." Heather is married to her best friend, Lawrence W. Wilson, a pastor, and they have a colorful blended family of...

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  1. Great post! I couldn’t have said it better. When my first marriage ended in divorce I was devastated and felt it went against all I believed in. However, without those valuable lessons God taught me about myself and about people during that time I wouldn’t be the woman I am today. I stood firm in my faith when many looked down on me and have been blessed with an AMAZING husband and beautiful children. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Heather,

    Thank you! I had a friend at church counsel me before my divorce the way you described. She talked and talked and talked with me. Then we prayed even more than we talked. I was the one ready to just run straight to the option of him leaving, she is the one who was at the cross walk and would tell me to stop, think, and listen–not to me but to God. My divorce was in 2004 before I met this woman, my ex moved in with the kids and I in 2006 to ‘reconcile’. That never happened. We just lived together with our kids. The first 6 months were great, then it fell completely apart. I thought for sure I would die from the pain of seeing my kids go through this again. But it wasn’t a healthy relationship, there wasn’t any committment to make it work from either of us, it was just convenience. I made the decision I was done, could do no more, could not make it work if he wouldn’t commit to working on it with me. I felt I betrayed everyone, I had let everyone down. My friend switched gears slightly with me and her focus of conversations, prayers etc was for God to work in me so that I would know without a doubt that he still loved me just as much, show me that he had a plan B since A went astray! There was a lot of good that came out of so much pain. Good for all involved but I still wonder what if, plan A would have worked out. Then what?

    I’m still waiting on God to lead me to a wonderful godly man who will treat me the way God wants me to be treated, who I will respect and love the way God wants me to love. I’m relearning patience because I really want to be married again, I really want to have a husband who will share my faith and love for God, who will talk to me and with me and grow with me. A man who will love my children as his own but most importantly respect their father for who he is, a wonderful dad to our children.

    One day God will give me the desires of my heart. Until then I will just keep talking and listening to God.

    • Oh Lisa. You just made me cry! I join you in your prayer above, asking that God will give you the desires of your heart. I love that you are delighting in Him until that day. He is so, so sweet. Much love and prayers, Heather

  3. Heather,

    The blessing after something that wasn’t God’s will…I can’t make sense of that, either; except that it’s totally Grace and unconditional love. For God to bless after that…it’s the heart of His love. It’s what forgiveness is all about. For me to live in freedom, basking in His love and grace for me, is totally amazing–an abortion and now this life?! Wowzer, Daddy-o! Wowzer!

    Rich blessings, Heather, as you continue to give your Now to your Daddy-o…

  4. I also was divorced many years back and it was devastating. We didn’t have any children, but I still felt like I was betraying my family. I didn’t have a faith in God back then,
    but He still worked in my life and eventually gave me another chance to do this the right way. Today I have a wonderful husband and a crazy beautiful 6 year old and I’m so grateful. And about a month ago I finally came back to Him after years of spiritual wondering, praying to be shown the right way. God is, indeed, great!

  5. I have a dilemma… After being apart for thirteen years, my ex-husband and I are talking about getting back together. We never divorced but the thing is, he’s living with someone and has two kids with her. I’m also living with someone I’ve been with for eleven years. My ex’s suituation is different from mine; the guy I’m with really loves me and would do anything for me and I know that. My ex’s live-in says she doesn’t want anything more to do with him and says she doesn’t love him anymore but has nowhere else to go right now. She’s also bi-polar. I don’t know what to do. On the one hand, the man I’m with now, he’s so good to me and has given me so much. But my ex did as well, he just didn’t have the money to do it. But I let my family guide my course and tell me that he wasn’t good enough and that he wouldn’t amount to anything so I looked elsewhere and eventually, left. A few weeks ago I messaged him on FaceBook and told him I thought he had a lovely family and I was happy for him. From then on, we’ve talked about our marriage and what we both felt went wrong in it. We were both relatively young and we sort of chaulk it up to immaturity. We’re forty and fifty now and wonder if it’s worth saving at this point. We’ve both started having feelings and aren’t sure if they’re real or not. I’m so torn at this point!

    • Wow. What a emotional situation you are in!! I don’t dare to try to give you counsel on a blog for something so significant; but I HIGHLY recommend that you reach out to a pastor or wise and godly woman at church or a professional counselor to help you figure this out. Don’t do anything drastic until you have thought it through carefully and prayerfully with the help of another Christian. May the Lord give you wisdom!

      • What’s also hitting me now as well is that the man I’m with is a non-believer and my ex is. Marriage vows mean so much more to me now that I’ve found God as it does to my ex as well. This is just so hard..

        • Lord, I pray that you will give Sue the grace and wisdom that she needs. Comfort her, strengthen her, fill her with your Holy Spirit. And, Lord, I pray that you will provide her with a good Christian friend who will walk with her during this time. Amen.

  6. Amazing, these are some of the best thoughts I’ve ever read on divorce. It only adds credibility that you are divorced yourself. I’m often frustrated when divorced people try to excuse divorce or make the bible say something it doesn’t. I appreciate your honesty and agree with every word you wrote. I’m going to bookmark this page to use in the future. That you are delighted in your second marriage is a beautiful testimony that God doesn’t give us what we deserve, he gives grace. I imagine your happiness is also a reflection of your attitude. Instead of holding on to shame and bitterness you’ve openly taken responsibility. Truly it’s a beautiful thing to see, your words shine!

  7. My story is a bit different..

    Love is simple in theory — sacrificial, selfless, unto death. But our hearts complicate it. After finding out of years of infidelity from my man, I saught the Lord — desperate for a word from Him. Every feeling in me told me to flee. Even fellow sisters in Christ told me to flee. “It is your right to leave,” they insisted. But God spoke something different. He spoke a word of restoration from Joel 2. And by His great grace I chose to believe Him — in spite of what I saw.

    It has now been three years and God is faithfully restoring my home, my heart, and my man. But it was in the deepest part of the valley that He proved His faithfulness. My God truly is sufficient to meet all needs — emotional, physical, and spiritual. Learning that has been the abundant life. “Seek ye first His kingdom…” He restores regardless of circumstance. (Just thought I could give a word of hope to those still in difficult marriages. With God ALL things are possible.)

    • THANK YOU for posting this! What a powerful testimony. So glad that you and your husband were both willing to let God work in your lives and in your marriage. I pray that he will richly bless you both.

      • Thank you, Heather. I appreciate those prayers.

        I think one of the greatest lessons he has taught me is that no earthly man can every truly fulfill my soul-longings. Only my Maker. When I finally released my husband from filling that role for me, I became free. Free to love regardless. Blessings, sister-friend.

    • Lara, what a great testimony! And that’s sounds sacrificial for sure and hard, but when we weather the storms with loved ones, it seems to make the sun shine brighter when they pass. I love hearing these redemtive stories.

      • Thank you, Tammy. I wouldn’t say we are the full redemptive story yet — we are still in process for sure. BUT God is faithful, and I cling to His promises. Blessings to you, friend.

    • Lara, thank you for posting your comment. I am also dealing with the “after effects” of infidelity from my man. It’s hard. We are still together and rebuilding, so it’s take every day as it comes. The testimony you and others here provide is a constant source of strength for me.

  8. As one who is divorced – I can’t imagine any one being “for” it. My ex-husband was abusive – physically, emotionally and mentally – as I recently found out – financially. I am not “for” divorce yet there are times when it needs to happen. I married a wonderful man a few years after the divorce. We had some really tough times, a lot of it related to continued difficulties from my first marriage – but we were committed to each other and it has been 34 years. I am not sure my (from my first marriage) and I would be alive today were it not for me getting out.

    • Thanks for sharing, Becky. I’ve seen similar scenarios with other couples, where it appears they should NOT be together, and I just don’t know how to make sense of it. I wasn’t in an abusive marriage by any means, but even I am clearly better off with the man I’m married to now. I don’t know how to make sense of it, so I’m just going to thank God for his grace!

  9. My divorce was final less than a year ago. I have a beautiful 4 year-old daughter who is a miracle from God and I would do anything for, and I did. If an outsider looked at my marriage, they would have said it was a godly, happy marriage and we had a blessed family. I hid the physical, verbal, and emotional abuse that went on for years behind closed doors. I was so “committed” to my marriage that I would never consider divorce. If only I tried “hard enough” and “trusted God”, the abuse would stop. That was the worst part of the abuse for me and still lingers in my psyche. God never left me through this entire process and continues to heal my heart and my mind. In my effort to be a “godly wife”, I exposed my daughter to this abuse, which she now considers her “norm”. I stand on God’s promises to heal these deep wounds in my daughter’s heart and mind and use this trauma to His glory. If you are in an abusive marriage, please know there is hope in the Lord and His will might actually include divorce. I know the Word says that God hates divorce but I’m pretty sure He hates His daughters being beaten, too.

    • Thank you, Jennifer. All the scripture points clearly to the fact that God dearly loves the vulnerable ones and opposes those who abuse them. Much love to you as you and your daughter seek healing and restoration.

  10. Excellent post! And I especially loved your final thought because I totally agree and can relate.
    I got married when I was very young–at 19–and it ended only months later because it was like we were two kids just playing house. Instead of seeking help or direction from God, I simply ended it without really trying at all (again, I was very young and naive!)
    I married a second time for the wrong reason–afraid no one else would ever ask me. That marriage also ended in divorce. This time, I did know more about God and His Word and His will, yet foolishly and selfishly chose MY own way.
    I am currently 10 + years in my third marriage…is this one easier? Nope. But I know Christ more intimately now and I have His help and I have {finally} learned that HIS way is the best way. I finally realized that I was looking for a MAN to be my “Savior” and God has taught me through my relationship with Christ that HE is the only man I am to look to as my Savior. He taught me that breaking a vow and choosing MY way may seem “easy” and the right thing to do at the time, but it actually leads to more despair than I have ever known.
    My current marriage may be harder than the first two at times, but this time around I am committed to Christ and honoring Him and my commitment and He has blessed me immeasurably for that. And it’s just as you said, if God can do such a tremendous job of redeeming selfish choices and mistakes, there’s no telling what He could do with Plan A!

  11. While I haven’t personally experienced divorce (thank God) and have been married to my sweetie for almost 27 years, I saw my best friend through her divorce 10 years ago and saw how awful it was. I have to add – I agree that your husband is very handsome and sexy! Sorry – I looked! 😉

  12. What a complicated thing the big D is! In my prodigal years, I believed the D would solve problems, but it never did. If anything, it made them worse or just different ones. But then, I’m also not sorry my Mom left my biological father because it meant we were safe from his abuse. Regardless, I know God’s GRACE and MERCY is big enough and wide enough and deep enough to cover them all, even the big D. “Mercy truimphs over judgement!” James 2:13

  13. For those who know me, not a single person would have ever dreamed that divorce would have been a part of my life. I was against divorce in the extreme, but my daughter and I had no choice but to leave. After 10 years, I left after going through a messy divorce filled with affair allegations and more. My ex is mentally ill and unwilling to accept that fact. God has preserved us through this time, and it is so good to read so many of these stories. Thank you.

    • Every divorce situation is different; each one is complex and painful. I never in the world expected it to happen to me either, and now I have lost every inkling to be judgmental of others. You just don’t know what’s going on behind the scenes. Thank the Lord for helping you to persevere!

  14. So good to read these comments. Thank you Heather, for posting. I’ll watch your road signs.
    Still following God’s way of confession and forgiveness; we all need it. Highs and lows, I tell myself not to quit when it’s hard going. The worst is seeing the freedom and release divorced folk have and their second chance…it’s discouraging in the trenches.
    But God has been giving me help: this morning before I read incourage I was thinking about how husband’s authority is under God and how the wife can and should “go above his head” when wronged to see what she should do!
    I know God has used my marriage for his glory and I know he knows it’s hard (for both of us, to be fair)!
    So thank you for a refreshing cheer, for a fuller picture of remarriage too.

    • During the 14 years of my first marriage, I would sometimes wonder if being free would be easier than working through the hard work of marriage. Turns out that there IS less to forgive in a second marriage—no negative history, no memories of those young and immature days when it’s so easy to make mistakes—so it’s much easier to be amicable; but you don’t have the positive history either or the satisfaction of having worked through difficult times. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts on this. You help us all to think carefully through this very complex issue.

  15. This was an amazingly touching read. How joyful that you have been given such happiness. Praying your new marriage will be full of blessings and love love love.

    God bless!

  16. I really appreciate your post. I am a child who was affected by divorce. Love your comments on “Slow. Children at Play.” My mother was actually married and divorced four times by the time I was eighteen. The fall-out is indescribable and long-term. Wish everyone could see ahead of time the complications of divorce before choosing that path. However, I will say there are occasions where divorce is a relief. One of my stepdads acted in inappropriate ways with me and I was terrified of him. Was really thankful for the day he was no longer able to impact our lives. Anyway – as I said before, this post causes us to stop and ponder some very important points. Thank you for speaking to this issue.

  17. This was a good article for those whose marriages can be saved. Some can’t. Some divorce because the wife is tried of being used as a literal punching bag and also because her children get abused as well. I can tell you the children don’t miss the dad in that scenario. Also, the husband might decide he is better off gay or just doesn’t love you anymore. Yes, I’ve lived through a lot and have no regrets that I got out of that marriage, other than I wish I had saved my children sooner from the nightmare they had to live through in that abusive situation.

    • You’re right. This article is written for people who are in a troubled marriage where both partners are basically good-hearted, just self-centered or on the wrong path. I simply am not qualified to address how to handle such a situation as you describe above. My heart goes out to you, and I pray that God will heal your wounded heart. Much love, Heather

  18. My marriage couldn’t be saved, there was no going back only going forward and when life gets me down (im still on my own after 14 years) i think of the blessings my ex left me, Mike, Grace, Emily and Beth and without him they couldn’t of been here. Somethings are meant to be happen just as they do but it can take a long time to see that God was right all along.

  19. “Give your spouse the right of way more often than you take it.” Wow, that is some powerful advice for all marriages, and I’m taking it to heart.

    Thank you for sharing all parts of your story, Heather, with such clarity and honesty. You are a gift!

  20. I admit this is the sort of thing that I don’t want to hear. Not even 2 months past the Big D myself, I think that it is wrong. Like you said, divorce goes against God’s plan. Lovely, Godly women have reassured me that God doesn’t wish for me to be lonely or hurting or in a relationship that is detrimental to who I am. Yet the thought of being happy with someone else feels like I would be betraying my ex.

    Even if I don’t want to hear it, I know God sent me here to hear your words and sit with them for awhile. Thank you for your honesty and the promise of hope.

    • You must be a wise, gracious woman, and I’m so sorry for the pain you’re going through. Two months after divorce is still a tender time. Don’t worry about the future yet; just rest in the Lord.

  21. While divorce is a devastating experience, I’m thankful that God has brought you through to the point that you can counsel others. God can restore broken hearts. I think marriage is worth fighting for, no matter what the cost.

  22. My husband became involved in the Hebrew Roots Movement cult (yes, it IS a cult) three years ago, and it has changed him into a completely different person. Our twenty-one year marriage has become a sham – in name only. He looks at our daughter and I as second class citizens because we are female. I’m not to question any decision he makes – not even about the big-ticket decisions: he’s retiring 6 months shy of 25 years from the fire department in December, which means he is giving up 5% of his retirement pay (he’ll only receive 70% of his current salary) over the rest of his life. And in this economy, no less. He says he is just going to sit around and do nothing. I’ve been his bookkeeper for the past 21 years for his various small businesses, so I’ve been working three jobs – taking care of the household, homeschooling, and the bookkeeping. And, no, he does not lift a finger around the house. I even wash and wax my own car, wash the exterior of the house by myself, etc. And now I’m just done.

    I’m going back to school this fall to become a Medical Assistant (he says he is looking forward to the salary I’ll make, but he’s in for a surprise), and then I’m asking him to leave – once I have a job. Even my daughter is wanting him out, since he treats her like she’s a little girl with no intelligence (and she’s 18 and just graduated). Did I mention that I’m FIFTY years old? I never ever imagined that I would be in this position at my age.

    I’ve gone through a lot of the grieving process these past three years, and yes I know divorce is traumatic. My first marriage lasted less than a year – he was…..abusive. And that divorce was just awful. Yes, I’m in counseling, too. But I will take the trauma of divorce any day over what I’m living through each day right now.

    My only hope to get through school is God. Here’s a little true story: I qualified for a Pell Grant that would pay about 2/3 of the tuition. I prayed that if God didn’t want me to pursue this path, to please let me not get all of the grant money. I got all of it. Not only that, the school offered me a scholarship that paid 75% of the balance left over!! This was a HUGE confirmation that I’m on the right path. Only God can see what will be, I’ll just keep going forward, one step at a time and try to let Him worry about the future – instead of me doing the worrying!

    All this to say: I would never ever condemn anyone for having been divorced. Sometimes it is necessary. Thanks for this posting today – I needed to read it and am very (in)couraged!

  23. I missed this post over the weekend, but now I’m catching up. My own divorce was finalized les than a year ago – it has been devastating. But God is SO FAITHFUL!

    I think the dearest thing I’m learning is that He is with me, even in my horrid failures. From a recovering perfectionist and someone who tends toward the legalistic side of things, I am amazed at how God doesn’t abandon me, even in my wrong choices. He still walks with me through the consequences and somehow bring good from the bad.

    I love our God so and I’m grateful he keeps showing me grace and blessing. I write about the experience at Far From Flawless. Thank you for sharing your story!

  24. Just what I needed to read to day. Our son and wife are getting divorced, they have two little children. This divorce affects so many people but most of all our grandchildren and it is almost too easy to say to our son, you need to stay because of the children or God says divorce is wrong or all the other things one expect a Christian to say. And we have said it all but they are still getting a divorce so we want to support both of them in the future as they both parent their children. Already the changes we see in both of them are not bad but good…both have been shaken to the core of their beliefs but one is still not willing to work on the marriage all. Actually I now have a relationship with my daughter in law that I never had before my son left her. She is seeking help and I am proud of her. Our son continue to be a huge part of his children life and financially take care of them which makes us proud of him We are all products of the fall, frail in our relationship with other even at our best which is where only God’s grace can give strength to get through a divorce. I keep thinking of my favorite quote, Life is in Christ, so there is life after divorce for He never divorces us, nothing can separate us from the love of God, not even divorce. All else may pass away but not His love for us. Thank you Heather for this God anointed post. Our hope is to be there for both our son, daughter in law and grandchildren showing grace, grace marvelous grace, grace that will pardon and set us free.