Divorce in the Third Third of Life

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This article is part of The Third Third of Life Toolkit—a collection of resources for ministry to and with people ages 55 and over, brought to you by two ministries of the Christian Reformed Church in North America: Disability Concerns and Faith Formation Ministries.

For a number of reasons—including longer lifespan and societal acceptance—divorce rates among people in the third third of life have doubled during the past decade. Many of the resources on this page describe the trend as well as its effects. Several resources also look at the impact a divorce of adult children may have on parents and offer advice for how best to support everyone involved.

  • Divorce Care. Judy Cook emphasizes how important congregational care and acceptance are after a divorce.

  • 10 Things I Wish Church Leaders Knew about Divorce. Laura Petherbridge describes her own journey through divorce and challenges church leaders to show love to the brokenhearted.

  • The Way They Were. Although couples often wait until their children are raised and on their own to divorce, their separation can still have very painful effects on their adult children. This article explores some of those effects.

  • Why Long-Married Couples Split. This article describes some of the reasons Baby Boomers are giving up on long-term marriages instead of living as dutiful-but-unhappy spouses as couples in previous generations did.

  • Life after Divorce. Sally Abrahms describes the epidemic of divorce among Boomers and some of the consequences.

  • How to Deal with Your Adult Child’s Divorce offers valuable tips on how to respond to the breakup of your child’s marriage.

  • My Child’s Divorce Is My Pain describes some of the impact an adult child’s divorce may have on third-thirders.

FOR THOUGHT OR DISCUSSION

  • Evaluate your church’s “divorce culture.” Are divorced people welcomed and enfolded? Why or why not?

  • What does or could your church do to prevent divorce? To support those affected by divorce? 

QUESTIONS?

If you’re part of the Christian Reformed Church in North America and you have questions about how to strengthen your church’s ministry to and with people in the third third of life, one of Faith Formation Ministries’ Regional Catalyzers would love to talk with you about ideas and strategies.

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