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Parents are getting divorced. I don't know what to do.


Part 1—My parents are getting divorced, and they’re planning to get remarried to different people. This was decided when I was 14 years old, and now I’m 16. I don’t like the idea of them separating, but I don’t know what to do.—Heartbroken, 16, OK

Shayna Answers:

Dear Heartbroken,

Especially since your parents’ divorce has been looming over your head for a couple years now, I understand how distressing the thought of their separation must be. If your parents have been talking about this decision for more than two years, though, it’s likely they have given it quite a bit of thought.

While divorce is contrary to God’s original design for marriage (Mark 10:9), sin can erode some of the strongest foundations. Our culture abuses divorce all the time instead of following biblical principles that urge us to bear patiently, love, and forgive one another (1 Peter 3:7-11; Colossians 3:13).

Whether or not you agree with the decisions that your parents make, it’s your responsibility to believe they tried their best and are making decisions for the good of the family. I know this can be difficult to accept, but there are situations that happen between parents that children never know about.

It’s possible that there are a slew of circumstances going on between your parents that might be detrimental to your spiritual growth, put you in danger, or hurt you later on. Even in situations that aren’t directly affecting you or your siblings, an abusive or harmful marriage can inhibit one or both of your parents from being good caregivers to you.

Since you can’t always see or understand everything that happens between your parents, don’t try. And don’t hold your parents to unattainable standards or judge them for not disclosing more information. Just remember that no matter what they say or do, nothing that happened in their marriage is your fault or could’ve been prevented by something you did or didn’t do.

Try to remember that the situation is as stressful—if not more—for them as it is for you. Pray for them and ask if you can start leading a family worship time (if you don’t already have one). Take the initiative to establish some family traditions with your siblings, such as having worship together each night, eating breakfast together, or going to a park on Sabbath afternoon, that will help create a sense of security. These traditions will be important after your parents divorce. Whether or not you end up living in the same house or seeing each other every day, you should try to preserve these routines and stay close to your siblings.

The most important commandment God gave us regarding our parents is to “honor” them (Exodus 20:12), yet I know this can be difficult to do under normal circumstances. In addition to drastically changing your life, they’re planning on merging your family with someone else’s. Next week, we’ll address the last part of your question—how to handle your parents’ remarriages.

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