Divorce and pending divorce tends to draw a line in the sand. Husband on one side. Wife on the other. However, the effects of divorce are rarely limited to the principals. What about the kids? What about the parents and grandparents? Siblings? Coworkers?Neighbors? The bank, the school and the church? It seems to us that there are a whole lot of other people with skin in the game when two people contemplate divorce.
This often leads to a process of taking sides. Are you in the wife’s camp? Or are you huddled with the husband? A short time ago a cousin and spouse announced a pending divorce so we were caught up in this pickle. We prayerfully concluded that it made sense to remain neutral, to not take sides, and be available to both parties as friends and confidants as they processed toward reconciliation or divorce. (I was impressed! My personal bent is to take sides—that’s just me.) We quickly understood the potential value and wisdom of choosing neutrality and were eager to see how it played out. I saw how neutrality left a door open for both the wife and the husband to be comforted, and perhaps even kept a door open to a positive resolution. So how did that work out? We were “assigned” a side by our cousin. One of the divorcing parties decided since my we did not back his or her particular position, we were quickly assigned persona non grata status and tossed as having “taken sides” with the “other” party. It was a pretty painful experience for all involved. It raises some important questions.
Should one take sides? Is it possible to remain neutral? If one does take sides, what does that look like? When is it important to take sides? If one doesn’t take sides how does one balance outreach to both feuding parties?
We believe these are important questions (for which we have no definitive answers) and we would like your help in sorting this out.
Please respond with your take on this subject and examples of times when you or someone close to you took sides and why, or stayed neutral and how that worked out. We’re not really looking for a debate, but more importantly real-life experiences of how others have navigated neutrality vs taking sides in a divorce.