Chelsea Curran is a guest writer.

For the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, strengthening the love and bond within families is a consistent focus in the gospel’s teachings. However, there are many who are currently struggling with the idea of separation, inevitability of divorce, or have already experienced the end of a marriage. And it can cause the result of feeling less than the faithful member they endeavored to be. It can be a painful experience that wears on every member of the family. But there is hope when it comes to taking the next step in healing after making the decision to undo a bond that’s been worn too thin.

When two people make the marriage covenant, it’s important for each to grow together and nurture their relationship so love can flourish. There is an excellent reason why couples receive a copy of The Family Proclamation when they are sealed in the temple. It’s an excellent tool and reminder to all members of the family. But adversity will always try to stand in the way, and a wedge can be placed deep enough to stop the progress that’s been made, and provoke couples into reevaluating their place in their marriage.

Too often, despite the diminished, undernourished love, couples will stay married for reasons such as cultural unacceptability to divorce, one’s hope the other will change, they need the security a marriage provides, or they live in a certain type of fear. Whether it’s fear of being alone, or fear for their life. These are just a few examples, but it’s more often that such marriages can and will likely lead to the destruction of the individual. Emotionally, spiritually and physically.

Sometimes divorce is necessary, and will often cause many to also reevaluate their purpose in the Church. We live in a close community, and naturally we don’t want to feel like our personal choices are being judged by others. It’s why families try to put off that everything is fine for as long as they can. At least until they pull away from the Church completely—usually out of fear of being ostracized by fellow members.

Divorce is a private matter, but church leaders are called to provide support and council during times of emotional, financial and critical need for struggling families. Occasionally there might be those who disapprove, and are inclined to express their opinion in ways that feel hurtful or invasive. It should be encouraged to those individuals to understand that more goes on in a family’s life than what they express. Whether it’s simple differences or abuse, being an unbiased friend leaves room for the spirit to enter their lives and bring comfort.

Children are often the bystanders who deal with repercussions of divorce, which can sometimes push couples into staying together for their sake. But all children learn by example, and without the true love and affection that should be exchanged between their parents, their understanding of those values can be negatively affected in their future relationships. However, the same can be said for watching their parents choose to walk away. And for that, parents may calmly go forth in helping them understand as much as they feel prompted to as the children get older. But better yet, encourage what it takes for a relationship to work and the value of a loving relationship. Help them understand that difficulties and changes that may come about, but it will allow them to understand that their choices can still lead to the eternal happiness Heavenly Father promised us.

Something to look forward to is the hope of loving again. Of course, this depends on the individual and the idea of remarrying is not for everyone. But if it’s a strong desire in one’s heart to share a loving connection with another, the Lord knows it. And likely knows an individual who will nurture that love with extra care.

Hurt caused by the past can create a void that individuals wish to fill; so desperately that they are blindsided by people willing to take advantage of that vulnerability. Discouragement may follow, but it doesn’t change the way the Lord sees his children, or the promises He made so long as they continue to live in faith. A good start is by recognizing that our relationship with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ should be our first priority. Setting that foundation can create the right mindset for clearer promptings of who to bring into our lives.

Single members who grew up as a witness to the end of marriages, shouldn’t let it stop them from finding the kind of love that will bring eternal happiness. Living in that kind of fear changes how one perceives others and the goodness they can bring into their lives. Again, it stresses the importance of divorced individuals to withhold from expressing bitter ideals that discourages love. Not that one shouldn’t vent to the appropriate audience when necessary, but children will follow those ideals that will last until adulthood. As hard it may be, trusting that love does exist will help all siblings trust each other and trust the good people they encounter.

Divorce is considered an ugly word in all cultures and faiths. Marriage is a sacred covenant and a wonderful thing to have when it’s respected. But if circumstances change, it’s a factor of life that shouldn’t carry shame, and it’s certainly doesn’t mean the end. More importantly, that marriage experience was not for nothing. What was had, the trials that were faced and lessons learned occurred for a reason, and the Lord sees immense value in that. No one is forgotten and they will be blessed with peace by continuing in faith.

chelsea curran

Chelsea Curran is a writer and artist from Arizona, who shares the fascination of love and how to help relationships thrive. Her desire is to share hopeful ideas to the world in the best way she know how; through her creative outlets. She is the author of “Unseen Road to Love.”

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