Don’t Let Divorce Stop You From Raising A Virtuous Family

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To dare to be married these days is practically an heroic act. Marriage is under attack from all sides and life as a family can be quite challenging.

The French poet, Charles Peguy pegged it when he said, “Everything in the modern world…is organized against that fool, that imprudent, daring fool…against the unruly, audacious man who is daring enough to have a wife and family, against the man who dares to found a family.”

We can see the truth in this statement just by looking at the society we live in. The divorce rate among first marriages alone reveals a great crisis.

The home is supposed to be where we learn and grow together in virtue, but the no-fault divorce laws—that ensure if one spouse wants a divorce, it will happen—have stolen that option away from so many families. Pope Francis has reminded us the family is meant to be the “school of virtue, par excellence,” saying that there is truly no greater “school” to teach us such how to live a virtuous life.

It IS possible to make your family a school of virtue and holiness in the face of divorce. Click To Tweet

But are all opportunities for teaching and growing in virtue lost when a divorce occurs? Definitely not.

Divorced But Still Virtuous

Divorce is not what God intended for the family, but because of the legal injunctions, there are many families who have experienced that brokenness. Yet, they still offer examples of virtuous living. If you are wondering how to keep virtue in your home after divorce, here are some suggestions that may help:

1.     Pray For Your Ex-Spouse

Admittedly, this may seem quite difficult, especially if you’ve been betrayed. But I’m not trying to torture you, I want to encourage you in something I know is good for everyone involved. Finding it in your heart to pray for your ex-spouse benefits you and your children just as much as it benefits him or her.

Resolution for the week: pray for your ex-spouse, even if it feels like torture. Click To Tweet

Little by little, prayer chips away at the anger and resentment harbored in your hearts. It benefits your ex-spouse’s soul. And, it gives children a great example of what it means to be merciful, to love when loving the one who hurt you seems impossible. Which leads me to my next point…

2.    Give Your Child The Best Image Possible Of Your Ex-Spouse

You may have just reasons to be angry and trying to keep a positive image of your ex-spouse for your children could be a real challenge. But, your children still love him or her and you can help them have a better life after divorce if you help them maintain a positive image of their other parent. You may only be able to fathom harsh words or want to explain to them how awful a situation you’ve been put in, but it hurts your child when he hears it.

Using charitable language about your ex-spouse when speaking to your children or in person speaking to him or her when they are present is critical to helping them sort out and deal with what’s happened. This is a tough one, I know, but if you can manage to do it, it’s an outstanding way to show your children and others what heroic virtue is really all about.

How to raise a virtuous family despite divorce: Give your child the best image possible of your ex-spouse. Click To Tweet

3.    Lay Down Your Arms

If communicating with your ex-spouse becomes explosive, I encourage you to make a conscious decision to not join the fight. Your ex-spouse might be volatile or antagonistic, but you don’t have to be. In my own experience, I found that, instead of raising my voice and arguing my point, I would say nothing until he had stopped shouting. Then I would respond with a firm, level tone. Doing this normally resulted in bringing the conversation back to being civil.

4.    Be Selective In Telling The Details Of Your Divorce

Believe it or not, St. Joseph gives us a great example here. Scripture and tradition both reveal to us that Joseph was a fine, upstanding man. He was well-known in his community and I’m sure, well-respected as a carpenter and as a Jew. In the biblical account, he comes to find that his fiancee is pregnant—and not by him. Scripture doesn’t tell us the details, but it makes sense that he must have felt incredibly hurt and betrayed.

The verse goes on to state that Joseph, despite this assumed betrayal, was “unwilling to expose her to shame…” This speaks volumes about the great kindness and generosity Joseph showed in a situation that would have any one of us up in arms, ready to retaliate.

Don't spread needless gossip or speculation about your ex-spouse. Do good to those who hurt you!Click To Tweet

With that in mind, be selective about whom you share the details of what’s happened. Make sure the person you involve is trustworthy and won’t spread gossip or speculation about your ex-spouse. Other people will want to know what’s going on, but try to divulge details on a “need-to-know” basis. If they really don’t need all the grim details, spare them.

None of these recommendations are what society would encourage and some people might say you’re crazy for doing these things. But in the end, if your goal is heaven, practicing virtue and modeling it for your children will return you the reward of eternal happiness.

 



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6 Comments

  1. Angel-1304364 March 22, 2017 Reply

    There’s a load of divorces on this site. Catholic divorce dating site.

  2. George-1274666 March 19, 2017 Reply

    Whenever I see the words “virtue” or “virtuous” I always read on to see whether virtue is being used in a generic sense (as a synonym for goodness, comfort, nice, etc.) or if it is truly used to invoke the cardinal virtues and heavenly graces. Lisa’s article on virtuous living truly seeks to give you a way to invoke some of the virtues given to us by the Holy Spirit, and seeks to have you do so in the most trying of situations.

    I apologize to you Lisa for applying my thoughts to your article, but I see the first point, praying for your ex-spouse, as seeking to teach you charity (in addition to seeking God’s aid thru prayer). The second point, giving your child the best point of view, seeks to teach justice. The third point, lay down your arms, teaches fortitude and faith, while the fourth point, being selective in telling details, seeks to teach temperance and prudence. I realize that any one of these ideas could be expanded out into paragraphs and pages, but hopefully I’ve gotten my point across. Divorce is a very trying situation, but if it can not be avoided then it can be used for strengthening virtues instead of pulling them down.

    I’m not being critical by pointing out that some readers of this article won’t understand it’s objective (if you haven’t been thru divorce, you do not understand it, and thank the Lord you don’t as it means you haven’t had the misfortune to experience it … and that’s a truly blessed thing). But to those who have and struggle to find anything to latch on to in order to get thru it, practicing the cardinal virtues and heavenly graces is a very helpful bit of advice. This can never be written about too many times. Thanks for your article, Lisa.

  3. Diego-1428415 March 18, 2017 Reply

    If you’re divorced and the marriage is still valid, don’t remarry and live in an adulterous union.

  4. Jason R-1427276 March 18, 2017 Reply

    Why is this new advice? People should always focus on their kids first. I do not have any but I would never make my future kids life harder by shaming the other parent. Let the kids find out the truth when they are older and can make judgmental opinions for themselves.

  5. Eileen-933239 March 18, 2017 Reply

    Thank you. This is a great article to reflect on.

  6. Emilio-1406594 March 18, 2017 Reply

    Thank you so much Lisa,
    Great article, I needed to write this,it gives me confidence to over come and raise my son,I want to be a good sample for him even that my marriage ended.

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