Second Degree Burns

Before I left, she handed me a card with the address. Relocating the salon attached to her home gave her away: Beth, the Christian hair stylist my kids and I have used for at least fifteen years, with her two kids now out of the house was divorcing her husband from a two-decade-long marriage.

Two years before, when Beth was contemplating leaving because of “unmet needs” her neighbor and client, a devout Catholic woman sat in her hair styling chair. This woman with a number of foster kids whose husband walked out was witnessed to Beth. Even with the hurt her husband had caused, Beth’s neighbor vowed she still would have been willing to work on the marriage and challenged Beth not to consider anything less.

So while at Beth’s salon attached to her new house for our second post-divorce haircut, I hoped the rustling in the house was not Beth’s new honey doing honey-do projects. Sadness enveloped me every time I was around Beth and was reminded of her new lifestyle. Her claims of how neatly things were working out and how happy and well-adjusted she, her ex-husband, and their kids were pierced my heart with sorrow— how can something so out-of-sync with God’s plan be portrayed so natural and right? Relieved yet perplexed to see Beth’s ex-husband emerging, apparently doing some work on her house, I wondered of the impact of this confusing message about marriage and divorce they were sending their kids. Our divorce culture unintentionally encourages young people to choose cohabitation over marriage.

Divorcing couples frequently minimize the awkward moments during life milestones like weddings, graduations, grandkids, holidays, etc. And for those who boast about how well the ex-spouses get along, I am perplexed why they didn’t use those same skills to make their marriage work.

Although I wasn’t in the midst of the flames of divorce, I was experiencing second degree burns. Another domestic church divided and now abandoned, making doing the hard work that enduring marriages require seem old-fashioned and unnecessary for personal happiness.

The Catholic Women’s Guide to Healthy Relationships Tip: Pray for the stength to live in a way that upholds the dignity of marriage.