Impossible Suggestions For Healing From Divorce



There are many steps you need to take to heal from the tragedy of divorce, some sensible and palatable, but other steps seem impossible, ridiculous, and downright out of the question. One of those for many people is the suggestion to pray for their ex-spouse.

The mere mention of taking this step to someone who has lost their marriage can cause intense hurt and anger—emotions that I’ve experienced myself—so I hope as you read this you will take it as a gentle reminder from someone who has walked in your shoes.

I know the suggestion to pray for your ex-spouse can seem like you’re being asked to ignore all the injustices and travesties your ex-spouse has forced upon you. It can seem like asking you to ignore your hurt and disappointment, sweep it all under a rug, and just keep smiling. It feels like an insult and makes you hurt even more.

The indignance you might feel is a natural reaction, but one that must be tempered with a supernatural attitude—one that keeps in mind the love of Christ for all people and the example He gave us in the way He lived His life. If you’re struggling with the idea of praying for your ex-spouse, here are a few points to reflect upon:

First, no one was too lost for Jesus.

Jesus dined with sinners and tax collectors—the ones who brought fear and loathing to the people of their towns. They were the people who no one wanted to deal with. People who did terrible things. If you brought that example into today’s world, it would be like Jesus having dinner with the terrorists who brought down the Twin Towers on 9/11. Shocking, isn’t it?

And he didn’t just eat with them, he talked to them. He tried to change their hearts through friendship and truth. You may not be in a position to do this with your ex-spouse, but you can pray for them. Jesus told us:

Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you (Matthew 5:44).

Jesus never minced words and his directive here applies to us today, no matter how hurt we are.

Second, reflect upon the parable of the lost sheep:

Now all the tax collectors and the sinners were coming near Him to listen to Him. Both the Pharisees and the scribes began to grumble, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.”

So He told them this parable, saying, “What man among you, if he has a hundred sheep and has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open pasture and go after the one which is lost until he finds it? “When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. “And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!’ (Luke 15: 1-6).

Why is this important? Because it reveals the lengths that Christ will go to to bring back a lost soul. His question asking who wouldn’t leave their flock to go after one sheep is ridiculous if you look at it from a practical standpoint. Of course no one would leave 99 sheep to go in search of one! Shepherds are paid to maintain the flock.

But this is what Jesus is trying to tell us. He loves us so much that no one is too lost to Him—not even your ex-spouse. No matter how insidious his or her crimes against you are, Jesus is targeting your ex-spouse and He wants him/her back in the fold, so it makes sense that He would ask you to pray for your ex-spouse.

I say all this to you, knowing that there are a lot of you who have been through a divorce and already pray for your ex-spouses; maybe you have done so from the start. I commend you for this and encourage you to continue this practice.

But for anyone who struggles with the idea of praying for your ex-spouse, I further encourage you to consider this step to healing. Not only will it help you lay down your arms, so to speak, but you will be taking part in Christ’s salvific work and that, my friends, builds treasure in heaven that no divorce lawyer can take away from you.



  1. Paul-983490 July 7, 2013 Reply

    I pray for my former wife in utterances too deep for words. What I mean is, I say in effect, I don’t know what she needs or how to help, but You do, I ask that You meet her needs. I empty my mind, and I sense the Holy Spirit takes over in my intercession.

    I find it nearly silly to pray in specifics for her, or many loved ones in my life. I trust the Holy Spirit to bring to mind what I should pray for, or do the utterances too deep for words in my spirit. I’m not saying I speak in tongues, I don’t think I have the gift.

  2. Cath-982331 June 29, 2013 Reply

    When a spouse is absent, it can be unbelievable. Their presence is not only missed, but never forgotten. Although the wounds may never fully heal, life will go on. In a sense, praying for their well being and spirituality is loving them the best you can and loving them because God made them. It wasn’t until I was able to accept that God will accept me and forgive me for mistakes I have made that I could truly hope for the best for another and pray for them. God loves us all. Catholic, Christian, etc.

  3. Carol-737878 June 28, 2013 Reply

    Excellent suggestions & thoughts to consider.
    A priest who had been married to an abusive spouse, divorced & annulled before he became a priest said that he had been given the advice to pray for his former spouse because it would change him & his attitude. He said it worked & recommended that we should offer up something simple such as, “Lord, please bless …. and give him/her what he/she needs.” He said you didn’t even have to mean it when you said it, that just saying it would be enough.

  4. Miguel-928587 June 28, 2013 Reply

    I think another solution would be to just go along with the theme of story, just as losing a tooth or two, it may feel weird inside for a while but life goes on it was supposed to happen as confusing as it may be. Pray, go somewhere, add up all your successful moments with Jesus, become wealthy by counting all things money can’t buy and believe and know God is Victory. If God is for you who then is that against you? Know that it’s people like you in particular who Jesus loves with or without all your teeth after all who else is like God?? -PAX

  5. Josh-980489 June 28, 2013 Reply

    I agree with this suggestion 100%. Here’s another thought to consider: Jesus prayed for his persecuters while they were inflicting horrendous pain on Him – i.e nailing him to the cross!
    Personally, in my life, I’ve found that I can’t begin to experience the healing presence of Christ, UNTIL I begin the mental activity of forgiving those who have hurt or wronged me. Does the hurt and disappointment ever go away completely? No, but when I think about the past hurt, my choice to forgive comes rushing in like a wave crashing upon the shore – it washes over the hurt and disappointment and takes the bitterness away, just like retreating waves carry grains of sand back into the ocean…..
    Peace to all who are hurting that read this…..

  6. Michael-975591 June 27, 2013 Reply

    It is nice to hear this reiterated because it is what my pastor said too

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