Healing the broken

From left, Wendy Wares, Craig Wares and Marilyn West of the DivorceCare support group, which meets from 7-9 p.m. Thursday nights at First Congregational Church in Traverse City. Wendy and Craig facilitate the 13-week video program to help people in divorce or separation.

TRAVERSE CITY — Wendy and Craig Wares both went through two divorces before they found and married each other.

The Traverse City couple is leading weekly DivorceCare support group meetings. DivorceCare is a 13-week, Christian-based video program for people going through a divorce or separation.

“You don’t have to be Christian,” Craig said. “Scriptures help healing, we believe. It’s a safe place for people to share what they’ve been going through.”

Though the group originated about 20 years ago in North Carolina, Craig has been involved locally for about five years. He said he completed the program three times before he was offered a facilitator role.

“After the second divorce, I realized I couldn’t do it alone,” he said. “I sought counseling, a support group for healing. It [DivorceCare] was probably the single most important thing I’ve done to recover.”

Craig said he has seen people gain confidence and hope as they progress through the program. Plus, with the national divorce rate at about 50 percent, Craig said there is a need for DivorceCare.

Wendy agreed and said the series can help others, even if they just come to listen. Wendy said she has seen people move from admitting they need help to letting the pain go.

“Divorce is open heart surgery emotionally,” she said. “It’s a marathon when you’re hurting. There’s never a time when you have to speak, but most people open up and get a lot out of it.”

Group discussion topics include anger, loneliness, depression, new relationships, how divorce affects kids and more. Each week covers a different subject, but Wendy said people can start at any time.

“Each session is a stand alone,” she said. “We stress that we are not counselors. There’s so much information from experts. Every time I watch the video, I still get something out of it.”

Everyone is welcome to attend — no matter their experience, Craig said. For instance, they offer a segment on “gray divorce” for older people who are suffering as well as a program for kids.

“There’s never any judgment,” he said. “It’s like a death. You need a grieving period.”

DivorceCare meetings go from 7-9 p.m. every Thursday in the Fireside Room at First Congregational Church until the end of March. DivorceCare for Kids (DC4K) is also available.

Registration is not necessary, and there is no cost to join. Call 231-218-9765 with questions or visit divorcecare.org for more information.

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