Yesterday I attended a wedding of a dear friend’s son. I introduced myself to the young man sitting next to me who happened to be the oldest brother of the bride. We had several minutes to engage in conversation before the wedding began, and I was surprised…or NOT surprised by what I learned from the exchange. A year ago his wife began divorce proceedings. This young man has five children ages 5-16 and they were not handling the break up of their family well at all. He wasn’t either, in fact he was heart broken. He had paid for counseling, but her mind was made up. He said that unbeknownst to him, before she had filed, she had been meeting weekly with other women to receive instructions on “how to leave your husband and save face.”
I have heard of groups like this before. A good friend’s wife had gone to such a group. The members walk the women through the steps of maligning their husbands BEFORE divorce is even mentioned. They are taught how to vilify their spouse to garner pity and support. They also teach the women how to orchestrate a positive legal position so that they have the advantage in the divorce process. The women who want out of the marriage have all the approval and sympathy when the word “divorce” is finally spoken. The groundwork has been carefully laid…their husbands are the scoundrels. They are the victims.
I’m sure that in some cases there are husbands who are to blame, and maybe there are some marriages that can’t be saved, but such a group focuses on deception and destruction, not truth and resolution. A woman attending such a focus group is doing herself and her family a terrible wrong, and these “well-intentioned” support groups are doing a disservice to the families they are destroying. If instead of focusing on character assassination the group’s homework assignment was “name five admirable qualities that your husband brings to the marriage,” or “look up the statistics of divorce and what it does to children,” or “watch the movie “Fireproof,” and do what is necessary to fall in love with your husband,” how many marriages and families would be saved.
My heart went out to this young man, just as it did our good friend whose life had been destroyed by a woman not willing to put her heart and soul into saving her marriage and her family.
As we listened to the beautiful marriage vows exchanged just moments later, I momentarily cringed at the thoughts of selfishness that have invaded the sacred trust and union between a man and a woman. I’m sure the young man seated next to me was lost in his own thoughts and feelings…just not so momentarily.