Divorce – Considering

Mentoring Tips

Make one-to-one mentoring easier by learning what to do and what not to do.  Click to learn more.

Tip#1 – Find your PLACE

  • Pray: simple yet powerful act
  • Listen: people want to feel heard
  • Ask: good questions foster productive dialogue
  • Consider: think slowly and biblically
  • Encourage: uplift rather than beat down
Tip#2 – Avoid the common mistakes

  • Fixing: this is a person, not a project
  • Preaching: walk alongside, don’t talk at or down to them
  • Carrying: show concern but don’t carry too heavy a burden
  • Blaming: no condemnation in Christ Jesus
  • Rescuing: you are not their savior!
    • Why did you marry? What were your expectations going in?
    • How long have you been considering divorce? Was there anything in particular that got you thinking in that direction?
    • What do you hope to accomplish through divorce?
    • What steps have you taken up to now to restore your marriage? What were the results of that, good and bad?
    • Why do you think God created marriage? Do you still believe He is able to heal your marriage? Are you still open to that?
    • As you consider divorce as a solution, who outside your marriage is influencing your decision? What are they telling you?
    • Have you hired an attorney? How far has the process advanced?
    • Are you involved in another relationship that could be clouding your vision about your marriage?
    • What is your biggest concern regarding your children if you proceed with separation or divorce?
    • How would you feel if another person became your child’s stepparent? Why?
    • I believe that the most important relationship in your life is the one you have with Jesus Christ. Can you tell me about that part of your life and how it’s impacting your decisions?
Deeper Questions
    • Have you counted the real costs of divorce—legal, financial, emotional, kids? I’d love to help you think through those issues if you would you be willing to take some time to do that. (listen to Before You Divorce)
    • Where do you believe you stand in relation to the Bible’s teaching on divorce? Are you aware of what the Bible says? Reference What Does the Bible Say About Divorce? When is it Allowed? and perhaps read & discuss it together.
    • What are the major areas of disagreement or conflict in your marriage? What steps have you take to resolve those?
    • What are the major things you need to ask your spouse forgiveness for? Are you willing to do that?
    • What actions do you feel that your spouse needs to ask your forgiveness for? Have they shown a willingness to do that?
    • What do you consider to be the major barriers to reconciliation in your marriage? What needs to happen to begin to tear down those barriers? Are you open to working through those even if it means a significant time commitment?
    • How are your finances? Is financial stress a contributing factor in your marriage being in trouble? How so?
    • Are you involved in another relationship? Are you willing to give that up to restore your marriage? Why or why not?
    • What is one step you can take in the right direction and how can I help you do that?
Online Helps
Other Ministry Links
  • DivorceCare Help and healing for the hurt of separation and divorce
  • DC4K (DivorceCare for Kids) Helping children recover from the hurt of divorce
  • Visit Peacemaker Ministries to learn and apply the powerful conflict resolution principles God has given to us through Scripture.
  • - Dave Carder, Torn Asunder, p. 115

    “It’s a lot easier to trash the marriage and for both parties to flee the difficulty of reconstructing the relationship. Yet to divorce now means that you only take all this unfinished business with you. It will require you to work on this by yourself. Should you refuse and try to bury it, it will contaminate all future relationships you might develop.”

  • - Nancy Anderson, Avoiding the Greener Grass Syndrome, p. 52

    “When our marriage fell apart, it happened through my taking one little step at a time. I made tiny choices that all added up to two huge choices. I had to choose between my husband and my boyfriend, and I had to choose between God’s will and my own. Be warned that each emotional step you take will either be toward your spouse or away from him or her. Choose wisely.”

  • - Jim Talley, Reconcilable Differences, p. 13

    “People make their biggest mistake when they feel they can deal with the moral and emotional parts simply by walking out and saying they are not in love anymore… Sooner or later their miscalculation catches up with them. “

  • - Nancy Leigh DeMoss, Lies Women Believe and the Truth That Sets Them Free, p. 226

    “All of us have had seasons when we feel we just can’t keep going; we just can’t take any more. As with every other of deception, the key to defeating this lie is to counter it with the truth. Regardless of what our emotions or our circumstances may tell us, God’s Word says, ‘My grace is sufficient for you’ (2 Corinthians 12:9).”

  • - Lou Priolo, Pleasing People, p. 243

    “The ability to discern the thoughts and motives of your heart (especially when experiencing intense emotion) is an essential skill for the believer. Recognizing thoughts and imaginations of the heart is a prerequisite of bringing them ‘captive to the obedience of Christ’.”

  • - Gary Thomas, Sacred Marriage, p. 51

    “Yes, it is difficult to love your spouse. But if you truly want to love God, look right now at the ring on your left hand, commit yourself to exploring anew what that ring represents, and love passionately, crazily, enduringly the fleshly person who put it there. It just may be one of the most spiritual things you can do.”

  • - Ron Deal, The Smart Step‐Family, p. 104

    “Numerous studies document that children who experience parental divorce exhibit more conduct problems, more symptoms of psychological maladjustment, lower academic achievement, more social difficulties, and poorer self‐concepts compared with children living in intact, two‐parent families.”

  • - Gary Thomas, Sacred Marriage, p. 107

    “When I hear of couples who break up after just three or four years, I feel sad because they haven’t even begun to experience what being married is really like. … Becoming one‐‐in the deepest, most intimate sense‐‐takes time. It’s a journey that never really ends, but it takes at least the span of a decade for the sense of intimacy to really display itself in the marriage relationship.”

  • - Gary Thomas, Sacred Marriage, p. 97

    “Dating is largely a dance in which you always try to put the best face forward‐‐hardly a good preparation for the inevitable self‐disclosure implied in marriage. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if many marriages end in divorce largely because one or both partners are running from their own revealed weaknesses as much as they are running from something they can’t tolerate in their spouse.”

  • - George Kenworthy, Before the Last Resort, p. 9

    “No matter what your situation, I’m confident that there is hope for any marriage‐‐as long as you are willing to believe that God, through His Spirit and the wisdom found in the Bible, can radically change your lives.”

  • - Dennis and Barbara Rainey, Starting Your Marriage Right, p. 9

    “Marriage is the union of two imperfect people who, in their selfishness, sinfulness, and demands of each other, will cause disappointment and hurt. You must lay aside those difficulties and hold fast to forgiveness, love, and Christ’s command to love even those who don’t at times appear to love you.”

  • - Linda Dillow and Lorraine Pintus, Intimate Issues, p. 108

    “To God, forever does not mean ‘for as long as the marriage works.’ Forever means for the rest of your lives. God sees our vows as life‐binding and permanent (Numbers 30:1‐2; Malachi 2:13‐16; Matthew 5:33.37).”

  • - Gary Thomas, Sacred Marriage, p. 70

    “Contempt is born when we fixate on our spouse’s weaknesses. Every spouse has these sore points. If you want to find them, without a doubt you will. If you want to obsess about them, they’ll grow‐‐but you won’t!”

  • - Tim and Joy Downs, The Seven Conflicts, p. 62

    “Each of us is born with an instinctive ‘me first’ attitude. But in marriage, each husband and wife has to cultivate a ‘we first’ mentality‐‐and each needs to know that his or her partner shares that value.”

  • - Tim and Joy Downs, The Seven Conflicts, p. 170

    “The Bible’s most profound insight on marriage is that there is a purpose for marriage, and it isn’t simply for our personal enjoyment. The purpose of marriage is to glorify God by helping to reshape each of us into the person he or she is intended to be.”

  • - Nancy Leigh DeMoss, Singled Out For Him, p. 11‐12

    “I have come to believe that you and I can manage to acquire almost anything we are determined to have. If we want to be married badly enough, we can find someone who will marry us. If an unhappy spouse wants to get out of marriage badly enough, he or she can get out. But we need to be reminded of how dangerous it is to insist that God give us our own will.”

Next Steps
    • Encourage your mentee to seek wise counsel from their pastor or a local Christian counselor
    • Encourage them to seek couples counseling if their spouse is willing
    • Encourage your mentee to count the full cost of divorce—legal, financial, emotional, kids. Offer to help them think through those issues by listening to and discussing the Before Your Divorce FamilyLife Today broadcast.
    • Encourage your mentee to ask their spouse to attend a Weekend To Remember marriage getaway together, even if as a last resort
    • Encourage them to pray daily for God to be working in their own heart and in the heart of their spouse. Encourage them to use the Lifting My Wife and Lifting My Husband prayer cards to guide them. Encourage praying with their spouse if possible.
    • Encourage them to examine themselves in view of God’s Word to see if there is more they can do to reach out to their spouse one more time.
    • Encourage husbands to connect with other men in a Men’s Fraternity group for accountability and support
    • Encourage both husbands and wives to understand their biblical roles and examine how they are fulfilling those
    • When anger or bitterness persists, offer to help them through the forgiveness process
    • Offer them comfort for the evils they have suffered and mercy for the sins they have committed
    • Encourage them through hope and help scriptures
    • Encourage them in every way to put their full trust in God and to give their burdens to Him daily
    • Encourage them to read some of the Online Helps contained within this Mentor Guide and discuss these with you
    • If they have children, encourage them to talk openly and often with them about how the kids are processing what is happening around them. When it seems appropriate, encourage them to seek biblical counseling for the kids as well, perhaps through DivorceCare for Kids.
    • Encourage your mentee to get involved in a local, bible‐believing church for spiritual growth and accountability.