Q&A with Elisabeth Klein Corcoran, author of Unraveling

October 21st, 2013

You are very candid and share personal experiences and struggles in your book Unraveling. What was the writing experience like? And how do you feel knowing that your story will be read by many others?

Writing Unraveling was very cathartic. It was like therapy…a very scary, public form of therapy! Instead of being worried about having my story out there, as some understandably might be, I consider this just part of the redemption of my life. I believe that every hard thing that comes to us can be turned into something beautiful when we invite God into it, and I am hoping that this book gets in the hand of every hurting person to help them feel not so alone in this painful experience.

Would you say that you support divorce or simply support those facing a broken marriage?

This is a tricky one. I would say that I support God. I support his Word. I support women. I support marriage, one hundred percent. I support those in difficult marriages. I support divorce when a marriage is irretrievably broken. And I absolutely support those who find themselves going through divorce. That said, many in society today get married knowing that they have the divorce “escape route” available to them, and I think that’s a very sad way to approach marriage. One should never marry if they are already contemplating keeping the “get out of jail free card” at the ready in their back pocket. I believe that marriage is a covenant entered into before God and a commitment that should never be taken lightly. And all couples need to expect their share of conflict and hardships as no relationship is immune to these things. Whenever troubles occur I suggest forgiveness, maintaining a heart to not “throw in the towel,” finding ways to have open and honest dialogue, and when needed seek out mentorship and counseling. But unfortunately, despite best efforts, counseling, deep contemplation, and prayer there are circumstances where divorce becomes necessary.

You talk about how during and after a divorce women are in need of support systems, but are often failed by the church and its members. Why do you think that is?

I think people are scared. I think people might feel that to show someone compassion and support through something like divorce is the same as condoning divorce. I know that’s how I used to feel. I would want to know how someone came to be divorced (did they initiate or did the spouse?, are there “biblical grounds” or did someone just fall out of love?, etc.) before I would decide how I felt about their divorce so I could then decide how I would interact with that person. I’m sure I would’ve never said this outloud, or have even been able to express it like that, but I was very into what appeared right or wrong, as opposed to just looking someone in the face who’s hurting and asking how I could help them or love them or pray for them. I hope I’m becoming more like that these days, more able to show grace no matter what.

What would you say to those struggling with divorce?

I want to encourage you to feel every single feeling that you’re experiencing. You must remember that you are grieving a significant loss, regardless of how you came to this point. Now is the time for the deeper works of resting and healing. Do not rush yourself through this process. You have not irreversibly trashed your life. You are not irretrievably broken. You can and you will heal. You will not feel the way you feel right now for the rest of your life.

What do you hope for readers of the book?

I hope that the person who ends up with my book in her hands finds a companion. I hope as she reads, she thinks to herself, “She really gets me,” or “It’s like she’s reading my mind.” Divorce—for obvious and some not so obvious reasons—can be very isolating. I want the reader of Unraveling to feel: understood, supported, encouraged to keep going, not so alone, and pointed back to God.

While writing Unraveling you created some online resources to help women going through difficult seasons. Can you share a little about what you have available and the impact you’re seeing on this grouped support?

My first resource would be my blog where I write on issues surrounding faith, living in a difficult marriage, separation and divorce, and single parenting. My other main resource is the two private Facebook communities I’ve created and now moderate: one is for women in difficult Christian marriages and the other is for Christian women who are separated or divorced. These two private communities are comprised of hurting women who need support and as they share their stories, they are encouraging and taking care of each other. It’s been really beautiful to watch.

Anything else that you’d like to share?

I used to just be grateful for a God who got me through my hard things. Now I’m grateful for a God of hope and of new things because I have watched him turn my life around and he is in the process of resurrecting my heart, doing some beautiful things out of my messes, and I am coming back to life. He was always with me but I am experiencing his faithfulness, goodness and deep grace in really gorgeous and personal ways, and I’m just so thankful.

Read an excerpt from Unraveling below...

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