7 Ways to Support Your Friend Through the Divorce Process in Katy Texas
A divorce is more than just the dissolution of a marriage; it's a turbulent emotional journey that can leave the person feeling unmoored and isolated. As a good friend, trying to support someone going through a divorce can be scary and sometimes overwhelming.
The DivorceCare ministry at Grace Fellowship Church in Katy, Texas offers some guidance on how to help your friend who is going through a divorce.
Recognizing the multitude of emotions your friend is going through is crucial. Divorce, beyond being a legal end of a marriage, marks the severance of a deeply rooted emotional connection and the end of many dreams and hopes for a planned future. This can induce difficult emotions like grief, fear, sadness, anger, confusion, and at times, relief.
Often these emotions change on a daily or even hourly basis. A divorcing friend who at one moment is happily enjoying a high school football game at Legacy Stadium might suddenly shut down and become angry after seeing the soon-to-be ex sitting next to a new love interest at that same game. There is no, “how to guide,” when it comes to emotions in a divorce.
Everyone's divorce process is a unique journey.
During this challenging time, one of the most supportive things you can do is to simply listen. Allowing your friend to express their thoughts and feelings about the divorce process without fear of judgment or unsolicited advice provides them with a safe space to process their own thoughts.
Invite the friend to an open area, like Mary Jo Peckham Park, where he/she can talk freely without worry of others over-hearing and you can be a focused listener.
Divorce is a time of significant upheaval, often involving changes to living situations, financial circumstances, and childcare arrangements. Offering practical help, such as helping your friend move, caring for family members, or cooking a meal, can go a long way in supporting your newly single friend.
Many well-meaning people will offer advice or suggestions on what your friend should do or look into, but often this will simply cause the person to feel overwhelmed with too many decisions. Practical help may include helping to call daycares for openings, helping to schedule movers, helping to find a good lawn service, or even helping to navigate social service agencies or insurance issues.
Ensure your friend's well-being doesn't take a back seat in the midst of all the turmoil. Encourage engagement in activities he/she enjoys, maintain a healthy lifestyle, and seek professional help if necessary. Simple things like getting out of bed, eating and basic house cleaning become very difficult when a person is overwhelmed with all that comes with the loss of a marriage.
Many will again make suggestions on what the friend should do, but it always helps to have someone to do it with. Invite the person out to eat or make a healthy meal for you both to share while having a nice visit. Offer to go bike riding at George Bush Park or walk through the trails in Cross Creek Ranch together once or twice a week. Also, don’t be afraid to bring up professional help if you feel your friend needs it.
Even if you disagree, it's important to respect your friend's decisions about their marriage, their interactions with their former spouse, and their path moving forward. Respect doesn’t mean you can’t share your thoughts, but it does mean you don’t pass judgment on their decisions. Passing judgment will only shut down communication as you will no longer be considered a “safe” person to share with.
Remember, it's their journey and it will be quite a bumpy one. A decision made one week might change drastically before the end of the next week. Give your friend the grace to change his/her mind a few times during this difficult period.
Sometimes, the best thing you can do for your friend going through a divorce is to point them toward people who understand their experience. For instance, DivorceCare at Grace Fellowship Church provides a supportive community, full of people who authentically understand divorce emotions and erratic actions. These groups provide a time to learn, share, and often a moment to feel normal in an otherwise abnormal period of their life.
"Often simply seeing and hearing from someone who has walked a similar path is the beginning of healing for the broken hearted."
A previous Grace Fellowship DivorceCare participant said, “It is the best thing that happened to me. It has been my guiding light through a really dark time of my life. I recommend anyone going through the divorce process to go to DivorceCare, get educated, and find healing. You don’t have to do it alone.”
Supporting a friend during divorce doesn't end when the legal process does. Your divorced friend will need your friendship long after the papers have been signed. Spending time together, sharing a cup of coffee, or just talking can provide immense comfort.
Amidst all the highs and lows of the divorce process, remember that the bond of friendship shines brightest during the darkest times. You can be that beacon of hope for your friend in need.