If your spouse has filed for divorce, I cannot help you from a legal perspective. I will leave that up to the lawyers. However, if you are struggling with what to do from a relationship perspective after your spouse has filed for divorce, I can be of assistance.
Your Raw Emotions are Not Your Friend
Success in life comes when we realize that our initial emotions in a situation typically lead us astray. In fact, I have come to the point that when I am introduced to a new situation, whatever my initial feelings are leading me to do, I typically do the exact opposite. (Unless confronted by a mountain lion or a bear)
After your spouse has filed for divorce or you have been served papers, you will typically feel like doing the following:
Sign the papers to get it over with
Call your spouse and beg and plead that they will change their mind
Pursue another relationship
Charge up your credit card with frivolous purchases
Decompress through alcohol, drugs, or immoral behavior
Wallow in a pit of self-pity or discouragement
Though all of these emotions are natural, I would be wary of allowing them to dictate your actions. They will not serve you well.
Build a Fortress of Support
It is vital when your spouse has filed for divorce to build what I call a fortress of support. Possible helpers in this cause could be a pastor, therapist, life coach, spiritually healthy family members, and spiritually healthy friends.
Stay Away from Break Room Counseling
Break room counseling is the counseling you will find from friends that are what I call one-dimensional in their thinking. That is, they sometimes give good advice, but it is one-dimensional in that they lack the experience and knowledge to see the whole picture. Consequently, they will often miss the boat in their advice.
Friends in such a state will do well to provide the service of listening rather than feeling as if they have to say something. In fact, you may even want to tell them that you are not looking for advice, but just someone that will pray for you. You will find that your friends will last longer throughout the process as many throw in the towel because they feel helpless.
Don’t Do Anything
Many times in life, your greatest answer to difficult situations is to lay low until the initial emotions of a situation blow over. (Isaiah 30:7)
Some spouses file out of a need to retaliate, prove their point, or make you feel as much pain as they have in the past. If you react in an overly emotional manner, you are typically just feeding the drama that led you up to such a place.
Though your spouse may be very serious about filing for divorce, we have seen many retract their papers or simply use them as leverage to promote change in the other person. This is why it is vital to stay calm and refrain from breaking the battle line. If you react too quickly, you will typically find that you will end up hurting your chances of the marriage staying in tact.
Be Calm and Confident
If your spouse has filed for divorce, it is imperative that you accept that God has the back of those that love Him. That is, if your faith is in Christ, you are going to make it. And, you will be blessed at some point in time in the future. Though I cannot guarantee that your marriage will be in tact, it is helpful to know that no matter how low the score of the game looks at this time, you will win in the end.
Keep in mind that God’s promises concerning your well being never hinge upon your spouse’s actions. This is imperative to know and to sense when dealing with these situations.
Romans 8:28 tells us that “all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” This applies even when your spouse has filed for divorce.
Be Attractive in Your Spirit
When a spouse is desperate or in a fear driven state, their demeanor does not command respect, nor is it attractive to the other person. You will find that this is huge reason as to why you should, as much as is possible, keep a calm and cool presence in front of your spouse. This is largely due to the fact that a joyful spirit even in the face of sorrow can do much to lighten and even beautify the countenance. (Proverbs 15:13)