How-to Navigate Religious Guilt During Divorce

Many religions do not condone divorce. They have built a negative stigma around it. This is actually a reason that some people stay in unhealthy marriages far longer than they should, or for their whole life. They may be worried about the stigma and associated shame and guilt that comes with divorce due to their religious beliefs. If you are in an unhealthy marriage that is beyond repair, do not let religious shaming keep you from getting a divorce. Learn more about how to navigate religious guilt during divorce.

How-to Navigate Religious Guilt During Divorce: Freeing Yourself From Shame


Over the course of history, religious groups have looked down on divorce. There can be a lot of religious guilt during divorce, and a stigma that follows you after divorce. Some religious groups do not permit their members to get divorced, while others shun divorcees. Oftentimes, churches name divorce as a sin that should not be committed. ‘Marriage is a lifelong commitment’ is a common thing to hear. It is not uncommon to hear that God hates divorce. All of this leads to people staying in marriages that they should not stay in. It also makes people feel like they are a failure if they do get divorced. However, many times divorce can stem from circumstances that you are not in control of.

Forgive Yourself

If you are concerned about religious guilt during divorce, take time to work through forgiving yourself first. You can spend time praying and talk to God about your situation. Express your grief, sadness, and frustration. Religion always preaches forgiveness, so know that God will forgive you and that you should also forgive yourself. It may take you a while to get to the point where you can forgive yourself. In addition, you can talk to a councilor or someone objective to work through your struggles. Know that this one thing does not define who you are as a person. You are not a bad person for wanting a divorce.

Support Group

Divorce can be a difficult and emotional process to go through. It really helps to have people you can trust and lean on for support. If your church or religion will not stand behind you through your divorce, find a support group who will. There will always be people who can understand, relate and emphasize with your divorce. You will need people to lean on during the really emotional and challenging times. Also, just because your church frowns upon divorce, there are bound to be some people within the church that will be there to support you. They will be able to see your struggle from both sides, just as you do. Another option would be to look for another, more inclusive church. There are many churches that will accept you for you, and does not define you by your marital history.