a covenant. Marriage vows should not be taken lightly
or broken easily. Nevertheless, some couples find themselves unable
to overcome difficulties in their relationships and find it necessary
to separate or divorce.Many people experience a sense of failure
promises not kept. In such situations, Meeting can help them
remember that God’s grace is available to all.
A crisis in
a marriage is a spiritual crisis.† The Meeting’s
responsibility is to minister to this spiritual crisis by providing
clearness committee, offering prayer, and holding individuals in
Light. The pain of separation and divorce, even in the best of
circumstances, can take years to heal.Meetings may provide helpful
referrals to professional counseling resources and vital support
as childcare, a listening ear, or a holding hand.
it is not the role of a clearness committee to offer legal advice,
such a committee can be a welcome adjunct to an oftendivisive
legal procedure. Within a clearness committee, mutual
accords may be reached and noted to remind the couple of
their agreement. Peaceful mediation should be sought whenever
possible, either within or outside the Meeting. If it becomes
necessary to seek legal counsel, Friends are advised to do so with
member of the Oversight Committee should consider approaching a
couple they know to be struggling with their
relationship to offer a clearness committee. Friends need to be
courageous about reaching out to a couple that otherwise might not
be ready to ask for help. Tenderness towards the needs of the
individuals in the relationship should always be paramount,
holding each of them in the Light and offering appropriate
assistance when they are receptive to it.
after prayerful consideration and using the resources of a clearness
committee, separation or divorce seems inevitable, the
Oversight Committee of the Monthly Meeting should be informed.
Dissolution should move forward only when the couple is clear that
a marriage no longer exists.
should be tender to the needs of any children involved. They have
a right to be heard. The Meeting’s role may be
as appointing individuals to listen to the children’s
fears or taking
them on an outing. It may be advisable to offer a separate clearness
committee for the children so they may freely express their desires.
clearness committee for separation or divorce may wish to consider
matters as: 1) how the separation or divorce will affect the spiritual life,
sense of self, and relationships of each of the partners; 2) alternatives
to divorce; 3) how children will be affected; 4) how finances and
be affected; 5) how legal obligations will be met; and 6) how involvement
in the life of the Meeting will be affected.