Supporting Family in Divorce


#1

My brother & sister-in-law are on the brink of divorce. We have been praying for them and offering support, but I am looking for advice, in that it's a new situation for us to deal with. He's a non-practicing Catholic; they were married in the church years ago. I have no idea if there was actual infidelity, but they have had a lot of stressful events and I am compassionate for them both and their two kids. My husband, on the other hand, is extremely angry about the situation.

So my question is: what do you think we could do to be supportive for them? And what should my husband & I do to prevent the "fallout" damaging our relationship?

It's going to be a rough road, so I have been praying for God's strength to keep me centered and be able to make good decisions.


#2

Well.... as much as things will change after the divorce, your brother needs to know your opinion of him has not changes. Do not pass judgement. Since he is your brother, the more time you spend with your ex SIL, the more he will feel betrayed. I am not saying don't talk to her, I am just letting you know your brother wants your loyalties to be with him.

Also, I would tell them 'If you want to talk I am here' and leave it at that. If they don't want to give the details, respect that.

Also, you have to remember that when people face challenges, their behaviour can change. You are under no obligation to let them take it out on you.

Without much more detail, there is really nothing I can suggest

CM


#3

[quote="Merie, post:1, topic:233067"]
My brother & sister-in-law are on the brink of divorce. We have been praying for them and offering support, but I am looking for advice, in that it's a new situation for us to deal with. He's a non-practicing Catholic; they were married in the church years ago. I have no idea if there was actual infidelity, but they have had a lot of stressful events and I am compassionate for them both and their two kids. My husband, on the other hand, is extremely angry about the situation.

So my question is: what do you think we could do to be supportive for them? And what should my husband & I do to prevent the "fallout" damaging our relationship?

It's going to be a rough road, so I have been praying for God's strength to keep me centered and be able to make good decisions.

[/quote]

Has your brother perhaps confided in your husband? Are you very close to them as a family? I'm just wondering why your husband is so angry. I mean, it's an awful thing to happen, but it's your family, not his, so...

I would resist taking sides, period. Do not stop your relationship with either of them and especially with the children. I would also reinforce that they took vows in front of God and that there are alternatives to divorce. Have they done any counseling at all? I hope they haven't gone to a secular marriage counselor because some of them will suggest separation instead of reinforcing the marriage as a covenant.

You could tell them that you will pay for them to attend a Retrouvaille weekend and you'll watch their kids while they are away. Many couples on the brink of divorce have been helped by going to one of these weekends and doing the follow-up sessions, even people who didn't want to go to counseling.

This has the potential to cause a lot of disruption throughout the whole family. Stay in prayer and communicate with your husband to find out why he's so angry. That will be a start.


#4

I would recommend (Tenatively as I have not finished the entire book) a book called Divorce Busting. It lays out clear arguements about how divorce rarely solves more problems than it creates and how that is especially true when kids are involved. It also has a lot of great advice about how to work on problems in a constructive way.

As a child of divorce and whating my mom go through two very nasty ones (one at age 4 and another as an adult), I can personally testify that there are reasons to seperate, but it is not the rosy picture that many TV shows, and modern culture makes it out to be. Also the scares on the kids are much deeper than many parents ever realize.

I woud strongly recommend a counselor, one who leans towards results driven counseling that focuses on solving problems not just rehashing them. I would recommend against beating them upside the head with the “You made a vow and HAVE to keep it bit”, right now they probably need help solving the problems in their marriage not being told they are forced to stay together.

I would also recommend that the OP and her husband find a counselor as well. It never hurts to tune up your marriage, and it can help you both process what is happening to both yourselves and your family.


#5

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.