10 Ways You Can Help Someone Struggling with Divorce

10 Ways You Can Help Someone Struggling with Divorce

I stood on the front lawn and counted. Concern grew. One. Two. Three. Three neighborhood homes near mine housed a battle. Inside their walls marriages seemed to be imploding. As divorce waved its flag, I wondered, what could I do?

Comments from previously divorced Christian girlfriends came to mind. When they needed folks most, friends often fled the scene or simply turned up missing. Divorce creates uncomfortable and uncertain circumstances for many, friends included. Often we’re not certain what actions to take or words to speak. But what if we determined to intentionally love those weighted by divorce?

The second is like this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:31 WEB

In the midst of marital splits stand our “neighbors” – our fellow man and very real people with hurting hearts. They live across the street, share familiar genealogical roots, sit in the next workstation or even in our church pews. Christians, how do we love those weighted by divorce? Here are 10 ways you and I can begin our outreach.

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  • 1. Be Available

    Be intentional. Reach out to that neighbor and let them know you’re available. To facilitate communication, offer a phone number or email if they don’t already have it. Strike up a conversation on the phone or in person. 

    “We’re here if you need us” races miles down the road of neighborly love at a time when many folks race the other direction. 

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  • 2. Deliver Dinner

    Have you ever tried fixing dinner for one? It’s doable, but most food packages house larger quantities. Add in the small splinters of free time single parents experience and we have a “love your neighbor” opportunity. Why not deliver dinner to a divorced person’s front door?

    Consider a crockpot of yummy goodness or disposable containers set to slide into their freezer. Neighbors will likely offer a thank you. Disposable plates, cups, and silverware often become an added bonus as well. 

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  • 3. How Can We Help?

    One simple question often opens an ocean of answers. Perhaps it’s mowing the lawn, retrieving the mail, returning the trashcan to its familiar storage spot, praying, or offering a listening ear. Why not ask those weighted by divorce for their list of needs?

    In two or three weeks, consider returning and asking the question again. There’s something about the return effort that billboards a message of neighborly love and concern. 

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  • 4. Extend the Invite

    We might be familiar with inviting married couples to dinner. How about the newly divorced? When the face of their friendships and subsequent activities change, why not include those facing divorce in an evening of activity?

    Maybe it’s slipping an invite their way for dinner, a graduation party, a cookout, a trip to the movies, a Bible study, church, or even a hike. Roll them into the fold of your family plans. 

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  • 5. Stay in Touch

    There will likely be an ebb and flow of emotions as our friends navigate their new road. Knocking on the door once to let them know we care is noble and certainly an extension of concern. Why not knock a few more times throughout the coming weeks?

    Maybe it’s a note or an e-card to brighten their day. How about a prayer or a bouquet of flowers or simple encouragement that God still loves them? 

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  • 6. Refuse to Bad-mouth

    Bad-mouthing folks is dangerous practice, but oh how enticing it might be when we want to come to the defense of our neighbor. We’re wise when we refuse to bad-mouth parties in the midst of marital difficulty. Take heaven’s high road instead.

    "Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, outcry, and slander, be put away from you, with all malice." Ephesians 4:31 (WEB)

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  • 7. Squelch the Gossip

    Oh, how easy entertaining conversations can be. We’re wise to squelch words before gossip forms. Gossip further breaks marriages already teetering or broken, not to mention the hearts of those involved.

    Gossip benefits only one, and that’s the author of darkness. Why support his plan and not that of Jesus?

    "He who goes about as a tale-bearer reveals secrets; therefore don’t keep company with him who opens wide his lips." Proverbs 20:19 (WEB)

    "A perverse man stirs up strife. A whisperer separates close friends." Proverbs 16:28 (WEB)

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  • 8. Pray

    How can I pray for you? It’s a powerful question, and one most would offer to answer. Why not submit the question to divorced “neighbors”? Their answers will give us valuable prayer material to pray quietly behind the scenes of our own home or even hand-in-hand with them. 

    Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus toward you. 1 Thess. 5:16-18 (WEB)

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  • 9. Moving Day Goodies

    Often divorce includes the sale of a family home. Moving proves stressful in good times, let alone in days of turmoil.

    Offer neighborly love and support by sending water or snacks to their house during the move. Goodies in disposable containers remind them that someone cares and may offer a well-needed energy boost or thirst quench. 

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  • 10. Help with the kids

    Where there are kids, activities await. Why not offer to taxi a divorced parent’s child to youth group, a school activity, church, or to simply tag along with your family on an outing?

    Maybe there’s a mentoring opportunity. Offer to babysit, or gift payment for a babysitter. All show love to our single-parent neighbors. All are ways to love those weighted by divorce. 

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    Kristi Woods, writer and speaker, is passionate about women walking deeper with God. She clicks words of encouragement at http://www.KristiWoods.net and is published in both Chicken Soup for the Soul: Dreams and Premonitions and Military Families as well as on Proverbs 31 Encouragement for Today. Kristi, her husband, and their three children survived a nomadic, military lifestyle, and have set roots in Oklahoma. Connect with Kristi here: Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.