My Faith Said I Shouldn’t Get Divorced

I prayed for a miracle as my beliefs and reality were colliding

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

On Facebook, a woman confided her marriage was falling apart and asked for prayers. She wanted to save her marriage. I read her post and understood her conflict. Not only the one between a husband and a wife.

Marriage is a vow. One we make before God. One that is supposed to be forever.

If all of these things are true, won’t God help us save our marriage?

Won’t He give us a miracle? Or divine intervention when our spouse is cheating, lying, has an addiction or is simply unwilling to work at the marriage.

I prayed and prayed for a miracle. My faith so deep I was certain if anything would get that miracle it would be my marriage.

I believed everything they threw at me.

I was a believer.

And rule-following believers, don’t get divorced.

Or do they?

I sought the counsel of my parish priest. He looked at me and said, “Colleen I am a priest I am not supposed to say this to you. My sister was married to a man like this. You need to get out of this situation.”

This may appear shocking, but my uncle was also a priest. He gave me similar advice.

“Colleen,” he said. “The Holy Spirit has given you the gift of joy your whole life. Do not let another human being take it from you.”

I heard their words.

And He would certainly answer the prayers of a faithful, five-year-old double pigtail-wearing girl.

He would get through to my husband and the bad behavior would stop, and all would be good. But as much as I prayed the problems in my marriage intensified.

I got angry and I yelled at God.

Enough. I never complained about my parents being divorced. About growing up without my own dad who was absent most of my life. About losing my mom when I was only twenty-eight. I can’t lose my family.

One day, I was on the phone with my equally faith-filled friend.

“Colleen,” she said. “You can’t get mad at God. We all have free will and your husband is making the choices he is making.”

Okay, I’ve definitely mentioned I was a rule follower. I forgot to mention I was not a good listener. At least back in grade school. My report cards each year would say the same thing.

“Colleen is a sweet girl but she talks too much. Colleen is a nice girl but she talks too much. Colleen is a beautiful girl but she talks too much.”

Somewhere around grade five, they ran out of nice adjectives.

I was so busy talking I forgot the lesson about free will.

I learned something important as my spirituality and actual reality were colliding.

There was nothing wrong with praying for my marriage. It was not misguided. It was faith.

But I was misdirected.

We can pray for people. We can pray for our relationships. For our marriages. But we can’t control people. We can only control our own actions. Our own free will.

At some point, we must surrender to self-protection accompanied by prayer.

I love this person but they are making their own choices.

Therefore, I need to make the best choices for myself and my children and pray. In other words, I needed to take the focus off of my husband. I needed to stop begging him to go back to marriage counseling. I needed to stop begging him to stop the bad behavior.

I needed to let him go — long before my marriage ended.

To surrender, work on me, and pray.

Sometimes God has a path for us that we reject and would never have chosen.

And even rule-following — big believers — must surrender.

National Relationship Columnist, Freelance Journalist & Former Business Columnist. All Shapes of Love — #WomanResurrected colleen.sheehy.orme@gmail.com

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