Divorce court is the last place you want to be once in your life, but imagine going two or three times? With statistics indicating that on average 50% of marriages end in divorce, it’s not extremely difficult to explain why a divorce happens the first time. Typical explanations include: “We were young when we married.” or “He cheated on me;” “I just seem to attract losers;” or “We just grew apart”. If all else fails, we typically place the blame on the ex. But what do you say when it happens for the second or third time?
Even though I married the same man twice, when my children or anyone else decide to search my public records, they will find three marriages and two divorces. On many occasions I have dealt with the embarrassment of trying to explain why it didn’t work out the first time and then the second time. Have you been married and divorced more than once? If you have been divorced more than once you are not alone. Statistics indicate that 12% of the United States population will marry twice and 3% (over 9 million) will marry 3 or more times. I recently spoke with a dear friend who indicated he was going through his third divorce. After my book was published, Divorced and Still Highly Favored, I have been contacted by numerous women who have experienced multiple divorces.
There are a few songs indicate the second time around is better than the first time, however data suggests the more times you marry the greater the risk for divorce. The cards are stacked against you with 60 -70% of second marriages ending. Celebrities do it all the time, and no one seems to care. Elizabeth Taylor has been married a total of eight times to seven different men. Jokes are constantly made about her numerous marriages. I have heard visiting ministers open their sermons with the phrase “Like Elizabeth Taylor said to her 7th husband, “I won’t keep you long.”
If you are like me, you thought when you married the second time that you had learned some valuable lessons from your first marriage and had planned to not repeat the same mistakes. Looking back at my life, some things I just didn’t get the first time around. For instance, after turning sixteen I had to take the driving test twice because I failed miserably the first time. In order for me to ultimately pass the test, I had to examine what I was doing wrong. The data was clear; speeding and not being able to parallel park stood between me and my goal to obtain a driver's license. Once I knew what I had to improve, I focused on getting better. It took the encouragement of my dad and some serious practicing to help me to be successful.
Has being divorced more than once or twice caused you to want to give up on marriage? Do you find yourself saying, “Perhaps, I am not marriage material?” Do you feel like you making poor choices when it comes to selecting a mate? To save face, some find it easy to just say they are through with marriage and will never, ever, try again. For others the aftermath is much more devastating. Some, as a result of divorce are left feeling like they are less of a Christian and that God know longer loves them.
If you are discouraged, read the story of the woman at the well found in John 4: 3-30. This woman has no name because she could be any of us. Her reputation caused her to come to the well during the middle of the day because she didn’t want to be seen or bothered by others. You can imagine the gossip about her relationships. Despite her situation, Jesus went out of his way to stop by and minister to her.
Meeting Jesus, he acknowledged to her that she had been married five times and was currently living in adultery. But guess what? Even though he mentions that he knows all about her, he did not condemn her, however offered to redeem her by offering living water. This is the only place in the Bible where Jesus ministers to one who is divorced. Notice, Jesus doesn’t condemn her for her failed marital history; he shows her compassion, and grace. As a result of this woman meeting Jesus, an entire city is saved. John 4: 39a “From that city many of the Samaritans believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, “He told me all the things that I have done.”
Like the Samaritan woman, after spiritual insight, God has turned my mess into a message and my failure into faith. Even after going to divorce court twice, I can be a support and a blessing to someone going through their own struggles. If you have been married and divorced more than once, take heart, Jesus still loves you and always will. Besides, you will most likely never catch up with the woman at the well or Elizabeth Taylor. Finally, remember what Proverbs 24:16 (CEV) says, “Even if good people fall seven times, they will get back up. But when trouble strikes the wicked, that’s the end of them.”
Last Sunday was Mother's Day and women around the world were celebrated because they have given birth to children. Hallmark sold millions of cards, and many flowers and gifts were given to women out of love. Churches across the nation had special programs, gave out white and red corsages, had luncheons and such to celebrate mothers. Elementary schools helped small children make wonderful gifts for their dear mothers. Many calls and texts went out just to say "Happy Mother's Day". Despite having lost my own Mother a few years ago, I had a wonderful Mother's Day.
There were a group of women who did not get phone calls or texts. A card did not come in the mail and no one celebrated them at church. In fact, they didn't even see the children they care so much about. Some spent the day alone feeling neglected and unloved. What women with children were not celebrated on Mother's Day you ask? These are some of the women who have married a man with children and are now considered Stepmoms.
Did you know that Sunday, May 15th, the Sunday after Mother's day has been deemed Stepmother's Day? Wow, a day set aside just to celebrate women who have taken on the sometimes thankless job of being a stepmother. Did you know such a day existed? Hallmark doesn't advertise it nor do stores and flower shops offer stepmother's day specials. It's just the Sunday after Mother's Day to most. I am thankful that I was appreciated by both my children an my stepchildren on Mother's Day, but not all stepmoms were so fortunate.
Here are 4 reasons Stepmother's Day should be celebrated.
Janice R Love, Author
First Lady, Mom, Stepmom and Divorce Ministry Coach