Updated: Sep 23, 2020
Your friend is getting divorced and you don't know what to do. You don't know how to console them. You feel like you rarely (if ever) have the right words to say.. And you might even feel like you’re not doing enough.
The fact is, chances are you’re doing just fine. The fact that you even care is amazing. However, I totally understand wanting tangible and surefire ways to be a good friend during this season of their lives.
So, here are (5) ways you can help your friend who is experiencing divorce:
1. Just listen.
This may seem obvious, but it’s so important to know. Whenever they open up give them space to vent, cry, or be speechless. Grief comes in waves and sometimes they may be overwhelmed by the emotions they feel and need someone else to sit with them in it Just sit and listen. When they need you to speak you will know it.
2. Be a judgement free zone.
Relational trauma will bring up attitudes, behaviors, thoughts, and fears they may not have ever experienced before. As a matter of fact, it ma manifest things you have never seen in your friend before. It may be shocking, however your job is not to judge, condemn, or (sometimes) even correct. Let God do the soul work, especially early on. Be a safety net for their frailties so they know they always have somewhere to go when they need redirection.
3. Provide HEALTHY distractions.
DO NOT help them replace their old partner. Getting over your ex with a "next" is not best practice. However, you can get them out of the house, do some binge watching together, complete a Pinterest project, go on a random trip, exercise, SOMETHING! The anecdote for exogenous depression is MOVEMENT. Get them out of the literal space they’ve likely submerged themselves in. Of course, ease them into to it, but if they’re willing to go take the opportunity to help them find something else to put energy into.
4.Pray with them.
Sometimes they don't have the words to say for themselves, and just need someone to intercede for them. Someone to say all of the things you can't. I always tell people I counsel to lean IN to God in the midst of the pain, but it's often hard to do alone. Stand in the gap for and WITH them so they still experience the covering of God even when they cannot reach for it themselves.
5. Give them resources.
One of the most important things for me was to find resources that actually informed and encouraged me during my experience. I needed people who could speak my language and tell me I was going to be okay even when I felt I would die there. However, those resources were few and far in between, which is why I wrote When Seasons Change. It is an interactive devotional (with video access!) that helps people process the trauma of broken relationships, while affirming their feelings and experiences. I believe it's one of the best tools in existence for Christians who have experienced divorce. Do your friend a favor and give them more than a cliche during the hardest time of their lives. Buy it today and maybe even go through it with them.
Overall, don't feel like a bad friend because you don't have all the answers or know what to do. Just be and let them be as well. The greatest moments they experience will be the times you simply allowed them to be broken and loved them still.
Do you know someone experiencing divorce and find these helpful? Have you experienced divorce? Is there anything else you would add to the list? Comment below! I want to hear from you.
**Author’s note** I no longer use the term “divorced person” as it one negates people first language AND it doesn’t speak to the transient nature of divorce. You EXPERIENCE trauma, you don’t become it. However, for the sake of this post I used more familiar vernacular.