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What Can We Say to a Christian Friend Who’s Divorcing?

Reviewed by Karis A. Williams, MSMHC, LPC,   December 1, 2023

There are a few times in life that we want to be able to have the perfect words to say to the people we love, but somehow, it is during those times that we end up putting our foot in our mouth.  Trying to speak words of comfort to a friend or family member that is hurting through divorce is certainly one of those times.

So, what can we say to a Christian friend who’s  divorcing?  First, we can let them know we are praying for them.  While it feels like the lamest thing we do, it is actually the first thing we should be doing.  Second, we can let them know that we love them regardless of how others may treat them in these circumstances.  Third, we can let them know we are there for them, regardless of what their needs are and what time of the day or night they need us.

Let’s take a look at each one of these points in more depth.

Let Our Divorcing Loved Ones Know We are Praying for Them

This advice regarding what we can say to a Christian friend who’s divorcing is actually not as cut-and-dry as it would seem.  How many times do people say they will pray for someone and then never give it a second thought later?  Granted, I am sure they truly intended to pray for that person’s need.  But we are all human.  We all forget.  And honestly, I am guilty of doing that and felt so bad when I saw those people again.

So what can we do about this?  First, we can pray about it immediately.  It is rare to not be able to pray for something on the spot, especially if your loved one is speaking with you in confidence.

Next, make sure to put it in your prayer journal.  Check out the beautiful journal here or check this link to choose the one that fits your needs the most.

My Experience With Feeling Inadequate in Prayer

One of the struggles I always had when I would tell someone that I would pray for them was that it felt luck such a lack of really doing anything for them.  I felt like I wasn’t DOING enough.  But nothing can be further from the truth.  While I am not exerting my energy in a huge way, I am calling on the Creator of the Universe to be my helper in this time of crisis.  Will He answer the way I want Him to?  Not necessarily.  But He WILL answer in the best way for my friend(s) and their situation.  He knows infinitely more than we do and what is best for us all.

I pleaded with God when I was going through my divorce.  When the topic of narcissism came up, I prayed that the diagnosis could be wrong.  I prayed that it could be anything else—because if it was it had more of a chance of healing.  As things didn’t get better, I pleaded with God to work a miracle in our marriage.  He chose to answer those prayers with a no.  And guess what?  God, in His infinite wisdom, knew that if He answered those prayers, my journey would have been impossibly hard.  So the miracle ended up being that I found healing as my own person, not attached to the husband who abused me for 30+ years.

And that realization shows me that prayer is actually the BIGGEST thing we can do for our loved ones.

What Can We Say to a Christian Friend Who's Divorcing

Let Our Divorcing Friends Know We Love Them Regardless of How Others are Treating Them

People who are going through a divorce can and often do feel an incredible amount of embarrassment.  Even when it isn’t their fault, they feel that their failure to keep their marriage alive is out there for all to see.  And that is in some respects true.  Everyone does find out.  And everyone talks about it.

In Christian circles, this is even more of an issue.  Not only is everyone talking about it, unfortunately many are also evaluating to see if you pass the “Biblical Divorce Test.”  Was there adultery?  Were they abandoned, even though the ex still seems to be around?  This is honestly one of the most tragic things that can happen in the church body.  Instead of support in a difficult time, people often receive judgment and distance.  And they really don’t need to feel any more of that.  They need to feel love and healing as they try to move on.

So in light of this, what can we say to a Christian friend who’s divorcing to make them feel less self-conscious than they already do?   First, we can let them know that we aren’t talking about their life to other people.  And mean it!

Then we can let them know that we love them and want to be there for them.  We may have no idea what that looks like.  And we can tell them that too.  Maybe they have a need that they can communicate to them.  Or maybe they have no clue what they need either.  Regardless, they need to know that you are there with a hug, some love, and the ability to listen and really hear what they are saying.  And that leads us right into the next point!

Let Our Divorcing Loved Ones Know That We are Listening to Them

Listening to our loved ones who are hurting does not just mean that we heard what they said.  It means we comprehended it, processed it, internalized it in a way that we can truly understand what they are going through.  We can never totally comprehend and understand because we are not them and we cannot see into their brain and all of their experiences that brought them to this place.  But we can get pretty close if we truly listen to what they are saying.

Below is a Ted Talk that speaks about the power and need to listen to truly communicate and function with those around us.  It is 15 minutes long, but stay with it–it may be one of the most important things you listen to as you interact with others going forward!

Let Christians Getting Divorced Know They Are Not Alone

Unfortunately, being religious doesn’t save many from getting divorced.  Here is a chart with some facts regarding Christians and divorce:

Rate of Marriage/Divorce Across Religions

Those figures do not represent over a long time, but just the marital status of the various religious groups from June to September of 2014 according to Pew Research.  

While the numbers do not seem especially high, it still means that there is a definite need in the church for divorced people to feel like they have a place and a validity.  And they need to be ministered to in a different way than those that are married.  Their needs are very different.  And while many churches have a hard time relating to the small number of divorced people in church, it is probably one of the places God would want them to find comfort the most.

A huge starting place if your church does not have a ministry for the divorced is Divorce Care.  It was written by a husband/wife (Steve and Cheryl Grissom) who had gotten divorced years ago and saw a need in the church to help those struggling with divorce.  It has a stellar lineup of counselors/helpers.  Some of the most notable are Leslie Vernick, Tony Evans, Dave Ramsey, and Denise Hildreth Jones.  There are about 20 more professionals in the field that have done an amazing job of helping over one million people find peace and healing.

If you go on the website, you will be able to find a local group that you or your loved ones can attend.


Hopefully, this has been a helpful resource for those who want to be supportive to those around them that are hurting and want to know what we can say to a Christian friend who’s divorcing.  Will we always have and use the right words?  No!  But we can let them know that even though we don’t have the right words, they have our heart.  And that together the two of you (or however many are involved) will find the right words and actions.  Because honestly, the most important thing is that they do not feel alone and they know they are loved in the middle of the valley they are facing.

Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

If you liked this article, I think you will love the following ones as well:

23 Reasons Why Narcissists are Drawn to the Church

When the Church Doesn’t Recognize Narcissistic Abuse

Will the Church Support Divorcing a Narcissist?

Are Narcissists Demon Possessed?

What Does the Bible Say About Narcissism?

Can a Spiritual Narcissist Heal?

Can a Narcissist Be a Christian?

What is Spiritual Narcissism?

What Does the Spiritual Narcissist Do When You Try to Leave?

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Hi! I am the founder of Navigating Religious Narcissism after being raised under a narcissistic mother and married to a narcissistic man for 31 years. It is my prayer that I can be as valuable on your journey to healing and peace as were so many who crossed my path of healing.

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