Divorce: How can you help?

Let’s be honest. As people stand in front of church promising to love, honor, and cherish until death parts them, we know it doesn’t always work out that way. The reality is that divorce will continue to happen until Jesus returns because this world is hard and broken and messy.

Often, the church—and by “church” I mean the members who worship there—don’t know how to act when a marriage ends. A funeral? Well, we offer meals and send flowers and hug and cry with the mourners, but when a marriage dies, it seems that Christians freeze at the exact time when they are needed most.

What makes me sad is listening to the stories of people who ended up not only losing their spouse but also their church family because it was awkward or ostracizing. At a time when people are changing homes, separating finances, and worrying what friends and family will think of them, this is not the time to add to their hurt because of a lack of love from the body of Christ, which God designed so that “if one part suffers, every part suffers with it” (1 Corinthians 12:26).

How can you suffer with someone? Here are a few ideas on how you can support and love the people around you as they walk through their divorce.

  • Make time for coffee, to simply sit and listen to their hurt. You can’t fix or change the situation, but you can at least let them grieve.
  • Help the person to find a counselor (Christian, if possible!) who specializes in these situations. Some specialize in issues such as chemical dependency, abuse, adultery, codependency, etc.
  • Bring flowers (to your female friends) or go to a game (if you’re a guy). Or whatever else might help remind your friend they aren’t alone.
  • Sit with them in church. They aren’t used to sitting alone, so fill that void.
  • Text messages of support . . . include Bible encouragement. 
  • Help them find a trusted financial advisor if they need budget help and support. 
  • Use a network if they need help finding additional income or a new job. 
  • Bring freezer meals. Their minds are already consumed with other tasks. Not having to worry about dinner is a blessing. 
  • Remind them of grace. Whatever role they played in the ending of the marriage, they need the reminder that forgiveness is free. Grace is for everybody, not simply for those who stay married. 

What else would you add to the list? Please leave your suggestions in the comments!

Linda Buxa is a writer and editor who is thankful for the body of Christ, which God gave us to support everyone who is hurting. 


What does God's Word say about divorce? Watch Pastor Mike Novotny's series on Your Time of Grace!