Manners Matter: Divorce

Dear Mary Pat,

My sister left her husband. It’s heartbreaking to see. They have three children who are still in middle school and high school. She says that there were issues that couldn’t be worked out, but I know my sister very well, just as I know her husband. He is a good man and didn’t see this coming at all. I don’t think they have any insurmountable issues. She’s given me a list of his “done me wrongs,” and it is weak. He’s a great husband and father, and I can’t believe this is happening. She wants my support, but I’m finding it very hard to give. She denies that there is anyone else; however, I’m not sure if I believe her. I just don’t know what to do.

Sad Sister
Town Withheld

Dear Sad Sister,

This is a very sad situation, especially for the children. You ultimately have no control over her actions, but as her sister, it would be good if you level with her. Scolding her will only make her defensive, so kindly and firmly tell her what you think. Maybe she has convinced herself that the grass is greener elsewhere or that her husband really is a jerk. Either way, she might be acting on emotion and not thinking her actions all the way through.

Be sure to remind her how this will impact her children. Also remind her that she might just be exchanging one set of problems for another and that all relationships require work. Encourage her to talk to a marriage counselor or a pastor before she makes any permanent decisions.  

After you tell her what you think, then your job is to be a supportive aunt and sister-in-law. You can also still love your sister, even if you don’t agree with her decisions.  

Good luck,
Mary Pat