|The interviewers ask Isidor Buchmann, author of God’s Grace in Divorce, about his wife’s mental illness, family dysfunction, divorce, religious controversy and single parenting. In support of Christian marriage, Isidor steps above religious dogma and stresses the importance of saving a family. The answers come from the heart of a father who has seen the devastation of a dysfunctional home and has learned to trust his own discretion.
1.What has motivated you to pursue this project?
I started writing while going through a difficult marriage. Expressing my thoughts on paper helped me cope with my wife’s encroaching mental disorder. Learning that bi-polar is common in marriage, I had the desire to share my experience with others and wrote “God’s Grace in Divorce.”.
2. What are you hoping to offer your readers?
Many spouses suffer from the repressive yoke of an unreasonable partner. The faithful spouse may not speak up and seek help but accepts the burden, doing what’s right for the family, praying for a miracle to happen, and hoping for better times to come. Sharing the story is a testimony that no one is suffering alone.
3. What qualifies you to write on such a sensitive topics as divorce and mental illness?
I am not a psychiatrist or Bible expert but a layman. Since most of us are laymen, I speak as a layman-father who has witnessed the rise and fall of his own family and brought up five children under disadvantaged circumstances.
4. How do churches respond to “divorce for just cause”?
Biblical permissions on divorce do not apply well to modern times and religious leaders say, “My hands are tied.” The Church must respect divorce for just cause as an immutable right on which to draw when no other option is available.
5. What do you see as more important, the marriage or the family as a whole?
From my experience, the family comes first. When living with my ill spouse became increasingly more difficult, the marriage became second to establishing order, safety and happiness in my family. Clear and concise guidance from one parent takes precedence over two in disagreement.
6. When should a couple seek divorce, in your opinion?
Divorce is necessary if the spouse causes family dysfunction, interferes with raising the children, endangers personal safety and the situation cannot be reversed. Only consider divorce after counseling and therapy has failed.
7. What connection do you see between divorce and juvenile delinquency?
Evidence shows that children from broken families have greater problems with the law than those from two-parent families. Rather than putting the blame on single parenting, we must examine the cause of the family breakup. In my view character flaws of the parent(s), and not divorce, are the main contributors to juvenile delinquencies.
8. Would you say your situation is an example that a single parent can raise a successful family?
Yes. Although God’s plan of a loving mother and father is best, the traditional family is not the only model that works. As good management is key to a business, so also does solid parenting provide the foundation for a stable family. A successful home is not based on the marital status alone but the character and competence of the parent(s).
9. What do you see as the essential building blocks for raising a healthy family?
A parent must create a loving and stable home by setting firm rules, and then go out and earn a living. A dysfunctional spouse makes this impossible because parental authority is being undermined. The children take advantage of the weak pillar in and gravitate to the path of least resistance. Without correction the house will eventually collapse.
10. What is your view on marriage counseling when mental disorder is the problem?
Many counselors try to reunite couples, believing that textbook guidance would resolve the problem. While “interior decorating” will repair many marital struggles, therapy fails when the house is collapsing. I learned this from my own experience.
11. What can churches do for single-parent families?
Churches must reach out to single parents. After the divorce, my children began doubting Christian value, stopped going to church and became skeptical about religion. An understanding Church would have softened the pain and made the wounds heal more quickly.
12. In your view, what do children value most in a parent?
Children want parents who have good morals, are leading by example and are mentally stable. Single parenting causes minimal damage if the home is otherwise solid, welcoming, loving and fair – disharmony destroys a family.