The first issue introduced divorce mostly from the perspective of its historical trends while at the same time emphasizing the fact that it is one of the acts that Allah permits but at the same time hates the most. This is due to the negative effects of divorce on the community and especially on the children who come from divorced families, as we shall see later.
The main aim of this series is to address how to cope in the event of a divorce as well as what may be done to avoid it. Divorce is somehow a taboo topic in our society today. Most of the time, this puts those affected in an awkward position due to the stigma that comes with the public knowledge that a person is divorced or facing a divorce. Affected parties will at times shy away from seeking help that would otherwise make the burden lighter, as well as probably bring about insights that could be useful in the future. Apart from the welfare of the involved adults, the welfare of the children is put in jeopardy if parties have minimal information on the effects of divorce on children and how to help them through it.
It is however worth noting that there is need to discuss divorce from the theoretical Islamic perspective while assessing real life situations as they occur. Approaching this topic from these two perspectives may help us better understand the effects of divorce and in turn, serve as a motivator to work on our marriages from the word go hence reducing the chances of its occurrence.
This does not negate, in any way, the fact that though disliked by Allah, divorce is permitted all the same due to the fact that some situations actually call for the dissolution of unhealthy marriages. This is not, in any way, trying to encourage divorce or overlook the need for it where necessary. Rather, it is trying to help parties affected by divorce to deal more effectively with their situations and look at ways of avoiding it as much as possible.
The end of a relationship is usually very difficult for spouses who made a long-term commitment to each other. This is because they have spent a lot of time together and have engaged in activities that are mutually beneficial. It is not surprising, therefore, that parties feel their time may have been wasted which leads to blame and possibly to anger.
While it’s expected that both spouses will have strong and likely negative feelings, it’s very important to watch individual reactions during this difficult time as this will have an impact on how well the parties involved, including the children, heal from the divorce. The Qur’an points out the importance of peaceful dissolution of a marriage in chapter 65 verse 2, as follows:
Once the interim is fulfilled, you may reconcile with them equitably, or go through with the separation equitably. You shall have two equitable witnesses witness the divorce before God. This is to enlighten those who believe in God and the last day. Anyone who reverences God, He will create an exit for him.
From the counseling point of view, it is very important to try, though it is usually a tough moment, to make the process of divorce as amicable as the situation permits due to the negative effects it could have on the parties involved. Counseling usually helps affected parties deal with the emotions that come with divorce such as anger, depression, and guilt. It also teaches those getting divorced stress-management skills.
Divorce has some serious effects on children as well. Robert Baron and Donn Byrne cite authors Tucker et. al in their book Social Psychology where they list some of the issues that arise from divorce. They include:
- Long-term effects on health and well-being
- Behavior problems at school
- Greater likely-hood of getting divorce themselves
Striving for stability during such a time is key for the better healing of the children. Amicable separation and stability also curbs behavioral issues that frequently arise in children with divorced parents. It is also very advisable to put an emphasis on proper nutrition in order to take care of the health of the parties.
The next issue will look at the age-specific behaviors displayed in children after a divorce and ways of helping them. I will also explore factors that could help strengthen marriage in order to avoid the likelihood of divorce as much as possible.May Allah guide us all. Ameen.