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Lysa Terkeurst: The Male Response To Divorce And Why


The News

My wife shared an article about divorce with me written by Lysa Terkeurst, the founder of Proverbs 31 Ministry. 

We’re both big fans of her site and social media platforms, which reach about 40 million people. It empowers women and family, and is a wonderful resource for all.

I’d say that prior to Lysa’s June 13, 2017 article, Rejection, Heartache, and a Faithful Godshe, her life and marriage were the standards by which millions of people measured their own. She was a light on the hill for what a true, bible-based marriage, Christian wife, and ministry could look like.

On June 13th she bravely shared she was divorcing her husband of almost 25 years. She remains that shining light on the hill, and even more so in her brokenness and faithful humanity.

The Female Response To Divorce

My wife was crushed over the divorce, as were millions of other wonderful women around the globe. I’ve been reading comments in posts and articles all week about their responses to the news. I’d estimate about 99% of all respondents were very supportive offering prayer and support.

If I were to paint a collective portrait of the sentiments, it would reflect most women expressing fear of losing their own spouses due to divorce. The readers shared how they hurried to their husbands to hug or assure them of their love and adoration for their marriage.

These women cherish their marriages, and instead of spreading hurtful gossip about Lysa’s divorce, they flipped the positive opportunity to assess their own relationships in physical and visceral responses.

I learned so much from my own wife sharing her heart about this matter in an article she wrote: Lysa TerKeurst: The Female Response. In my wife’s response, she began a private group for women struggling with affair recovery as a way to support and love her sisters.

The Male Response To Divorce

While heavily under-represented in comments on Lysa’s or any other social media forum, I’d intuitively say not many men rushed to their wives to embrace them over fear of ending up like Lysa and Art. It’s not that men wouldn’t feel empathy for the Terkeurst divorce, or that men don’t cherish their spouses, but the male condition has become conditioned to the reality of marital failure.

Men aren’t as surprised when the other proverbial shoe does fall. Maybe it’s the hardened shell we build around our hearts as a distorted sort of protective barrier. Maybe we’re culturally encoded to suppress emotions while wrapping our minds around rational next steps in a never-ending session of “what-if” bad things happen.

The reality is that we as men have failed in the business of marriage. A January 2017 study claimed between 50 and 60% of all husbands have engaged in extramarital affairs at some point in their marriage. While difficult to determine data related to infidelity being the actual cause of divorce, studies show 37% (either spouse) occur as a result of cheating.

I’d add that while the legal justification for divorce is usually listed as no-fault or irreconcilable differences as a means to get the marriage dissolved as quick as possible, data suggests infidelity is involved at a substantially higher rate than reported.

Despite the data, collectively, men have not equally carried marriage’s yoke. The principle of pursuing marital purity isn’t openly accepted or discussed in masculine circles. Men look at a guy like Art, and hope they either don’t get busted in whatever they’re engaged in, or wonder how they’d carry on if their marriages ever fell apart.

Mentoring Men

Unfortunately, we don’t mentor men to be husbands. We say “I do,” and then do. But do what?

That’s where we drop the ball. Unless we’ve had a strong God-centered teaching on the reality of Adam’s Genesis 2:24 experience of merging two into one, then chances are, men mistake the verse as combining two resources such as bank accounts or furniture.

Without mentors, we do as we see. What men have seen over the last decades are their parents divorcing, fathers abandoning the family by either choice or heavily-burdened custodial requirements, temporary live-in love interests helping raise the kids, and Herculean single-parent efforts to maintain a sense of balance.

These dynamics also create injury for the kids, and where the male child is physically, emotionally or spiritually wounded by their dad; the pain often manifest itself into efforts to medicate it as an adult through alcohol, drugs, sex, pornography or suicide.