Prodigal Parents — The Reality of Divorce

This week, The Christian Century features an interview with Elizabeth Marquardt, author of Between Two Worlds: The Inner Lives of Children of Divorce. Marquardt’s research helps to document the fact that there is no such thing as the “good divorce,” as is often claimed by those who support the divorce industry.

Here is an especially poignant section of her interview:

But there are deeper issues. For example, when children of divorce hear that God is like a father or a parent because God’s always there for you, they experience a disconnect. For them, parental absence is as common an experience as parental presence.

It’s remarkable to talk to the children of divorce about the parable of the prodigal son, in which the father waits for his errant son to come home. They recognize the act of leaving home, but in their experience it was the parent who left, not the child. It was the parent who left the family, or who was always leaving to go to work or out on dates. If anyone was staying home waiting for someone to return, it was the child waiting for mom and dad to come home.

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