Many answers to the questions we seek can be found in the scriptures.
“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matt. 11:28–30.)
Adversity will be a constant or occasional companion for each of us throughout our lives. We cannot avoid it. The only question is how we will react to it. Will our adversities be stumbling blocks or stepping-stones?
Father Lehi taught his son Jacob that in order to bring to pass righteousness, the Lord’s plan allowed for wickedness. In order for God’s children to appreciate joy, they must also be subject to misery23 And they would have had no children; wherefore they would have remained in a state of innocence, having no joy, for they knew no misery; doing no good, for they knew no sin.
(see 2 Ne. 2:23). To accomplish the purposes of God, there must needs be “an opposition in all things” 11 For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things. If not so, my first-born in the wilderness, righteousness could not be brought to pass, neither wickedness, neither holiness nor misery, neither good nor bad. Wherefore, all things must needs be a compound in one; wherefore, if it should be one body it must needs remain as dead, having no life neither death, nor corruption nor incorruption, happiness nor misery, neither sense nor insensibility.
(2 Ne. 2:11). Our adversities are part of that opposition. Elder Howard W. Hunter explained the principle in a general conference address many years ago:
“We came to mortal life to encounter resistance. It was part of the plan for our eternal progress. Without temptation, sickness, pain, and sorrow, there could be no goodness, virtue, appreciation for well-being, or joy” (“God Will Have a Tried People,” Ensign, May 1980, 25). Dallin H. Oaks
In a talk given to Young Special Interest and Special Interest members on New Year’s Eve, 1975, President Spencer W. Kimball said:
“If you have not already taken these steps, beginning with deep introspection and soul-searching on your part, do so immediately so that you can be an effective worker in the sight of the Lord.
“When this has been accomplished, then I recommend that you forget yourself. Yes, I know you are lonely. I know you feel unloved because you don’t have a special someone by your side. I know you have problems providing a living for yourself and your family. I know it is not easy to rear children alone. But you will be blessed and grow and develop if you use your own personal resources—your imagination and creativity and all of the abilities and attributes which are God-given within you. You can be self-reliant and successful.”
Let Bitterness Be Put Away from You
The scriptures suggest that bitterness is not something just to be tolerated but something to be given up. Paul counseled, “Let all bitterness … be put away from you, with all malice: and be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” (Eph. 4:31–32.) Alma taught that those in the gall of bitterness must eventually give bitterness up if they are to be happy. Only then can justice, mercy, and all other such comforts made possible by the atonement of Christ be received. (See Alma 41:10–15.)
“But how do I do it? How do I put away feelings that I didn’t ask for in the first place, emotions that I feel so strongly?” many ask. First, we must reconsider our view of where bad feelings come from. Bitterness, and feelings like it, cannot develop into a lasting attitude unless we cultivate these feelings. In clinging to bitterness, we blind ourselves to the fact that we are doing just that.
Jason, for example, felt desperate to get a divorce and leave a situation that was making him miserable. Yet four years later, he was just as miserable divorced as he had been married. “Why don’t you stop accusing your ex-wife of ruining your life?” asked a friend one day. The question prompted Jason to realize that he had been falsely blaming his misery upon external situations. When he finally saw his own responsibility for his life and feelings, Jason became more patient, more at peace. While visiting him one weekend, his daughter commented, “You had to really work at loving me last week, but today it feels like you just love me.”
When we harden our hearts, gospel counsel looks unrealistic or impossible. But when we soften our hearts, amazingly, we begin to ask different questions of ourselves and allow the Lord to comfort us in our search for peace. A scriptural example of this is the account of Enoch’s vision. When Enoch was shown the fate of those in the Flood, “he had bitterness of soul, and wept over his brethren, and said unto the heavens: I will refuse to be comforted.” (Moses 7:44.)
Even Enoch had to learn that to refuse to be comforted is to consciously spurn the comfort of God. “The Lord said unto Enoch: Lift up your heart, and be glad; and look.” (Moses 7:44.) Enoch’s refusal to be comforted and his bitterness of soul went hand in hand. Yet the Lord did not abandon him, but continued the vision, showing Enoch that the descendants of Noah would all be given the possibility of sanctification and eternal life.
If the Atonement is applicable to Enoch, who repented of his “bitterness of soul,” then persons suffering bitterness about a divorce can similarly repent and similarly receive comfort. But we must first accept the idea that we are agents, capable of acting rather than simply being acted upon. We gain greater understanding by asking ourselves the following questions:
• Have I refused to be comforted by the Lord?
• In prayer have I truly sought meekness and lowliness of heart in order to be comforted by the Lord?
• Am I willing to cast my burden on the Savior so that I can get on with life and be at peace?
• Have I studied to discover how such peace is possible?
(Taken From Article "Freedom From Bitterness" Terrance D. Olson Aug. 1991 Ensign)
Marriage is a one flesh relationship. It takes much work and effort. It also takes two willing people. Many times you will not be at the same place of commitment or growth. Marriage is hard work and every day it takes effort to work at it. God did not make marriage for you to then get divorced. Look realisticallly at what you did to contribute to the divorce. God does not expect us to be unhappy and miserable but he does expect us to work hard at our families and relationships. The decision you made to divorce is between you and God. We need to figure out what part we have in seeking forgiveness and then do so and move forward.