In North America, we have formal cultural rituals for almost every life transition: funerals, memorial services, and wakes around death; baptism or baby naming, showers, and brisses for the birth of a child; wedding services and receptions to celebrate marriage; Bar or Bat Mitzvahs to signify the transition from childhood to adulthood; even housewarming parties to celebrate a new home. But seldom is the painful spiritual process of divorce given any attention or support through the use of ritual.
Most religious groups and clergy have moved past the condemning attitudes toward divorce that were present a few decades ago. Religious leaders and their congregations have been at the forefront of helping families and individuals cope with the changes associated with divorce.
To find out how different religious groups mark the end of a marriage and what sort of healing ceremony you can partake in, click here:
- Christian Suggestions
- Christian Suggestions continued
- Jewish Suggestions
- Possibilities for Every Faith
- Possibilities for Every Faith continued
- Creating a Secular Divorce Ritual
The United Methodist church and some others have even written divorce services for pastors and couples to follow, but such negativity and shame surrounds divorce that few couples ask for the service to be performed
The Alternate Rituals Project of the Section on Worship of the Board of Discipleship of The United Methodist Church reached the conclusion that local churches need to consider developing rituals for use in circumstances where divorce among its members has taken or is taking place. Because the church plays a significant part in the initiation of a human relationship, so, too, it ought to play a significant part in the termination of it. The decision to break a marriage covenant is fully as overwhelming and decisive as is the decision to enter into it, and all the resources of the religious community need to be offered both to the couple and to the group who must face its own grief over a marriage that has died.