Some of the most committed Christians I know have suffered the heartbreak of a divorce. Each story is different, each heartache unique. Some are the result of infidelity and betrayal or covert abuse. Other times, contempt extends so deeply over the years that the other begins to look more like an enemy than a lover. Sometimes two good-hearted people choose to break their vows for “irreconcilable differences”. Regardless of the story, the death of marriage comes to many of us, whether we choose it or not. In order to be honest and live full-hearted lives, we must honor the beauty and the death of what has been. We must hold the heartache, relief, joy, or gut-wrenching grief that accompanies the ending of a story.
Each marriage, no matter how long, creates a marriage soul. A new entity; a child. If you were married a year, you have a one year old baby. Married 20 years? Your marriage is now a young adult. It’s important to acknowledge the marriage soul, because “she” will help you name the significance of the death of your marriage and acknowledge the vitality of life she had. She may have been in ICU for years, she may have had a long horrific cancer, or possibly the sting of betrayal may have felt more like a car accident; a quick yet painful death. The grief becomes tangible when you can feel and name the loss of the marriage soul that was created between you both.
The Church loves Marriage, but seldom prepares us for what her death might look like. Some statistics state that up to 50% of marriages in the church end in divorce. We must bravely face the death of this dear one head on, behold her brokenness. We must wail out our grief, honor our sacrifice, and gently lay her in the grave when the time has come to let her go.
Below is an example of a eulogy of marriage. I pray it helps with the grieving process of laying her to rest.
Eulogy for Marriage
Lamb of God; Prince of Peace; Crucified Savior. Have mercy on us.
Grant us peace in this tragedy.
For the unbearable toil of our sins against each other and against our young marriage, which has led to her death, we plead for forgiveness.
For the terror of departure from the beauty we have created together, we grieve loudly. We acknowledge her goodness and her glory shown most clearly in the faces of her most glorious creation, our children, (insert children’s names).
We plead for comfort as we bless the holy.
We are committed to no longer pretending. We also acknowledge the brokenness, the pain, the betrayal. We are undone, and we must say goodbye, though it hurts.
For the scandalous presence of death in your Creation, we plead for the resurrection. We long for wholeness in the midst of our brokenness.
Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world.
Have mercy on us as we navigate this loss.
Grant us peace as we lay our hopes and dreams in the ground.
May we fully enter the weight of death so we may rise again into new life.
Let it be.