Q & A with Keith & Sherri Warwick – DivorceCare leaders
This past December, I attended a Christmas dinner with a group of people who meet together weekly to discuss how divorce has affected their lives. The group is called ‘DivorceCare’ and in my hometown, Keith and Sherri Warwick lead a weekly group which reviews and discusses study material from www.DivorceCare.org.
While I was at this meeting I realized that most people affected by a divorce probably don’t think that they could benefit from such meetings. Maybe it’s a struggle with pride, but most people don’t open up about a rocky marriage breakdown easily. You want to heal, but you feel worried about letting too many people into your thought process.
The reality about the situation, however, is that we all need people to talk to and we desire a safe environment in which to do so. So I thought I would help make the first step a little easier for you and post a quick Q&A about DivorceCare. My hope is to encourage you to consider attending at least one DivorceCare meeting this year.
So here are my 10 questions to Keith and Sherri Warwick:
I (Keith) have been through a divorce so I can understand where those who are struggling through this, are coming from. Most of my experiences was meeting with people. Everyone I knew was jumping into a relationship too quickly and it was causing some destruction. Time does heal. We (Sherri and Keith) prayed about leading a DivorceCare group and previewed the material. We felt called to help people see there’s life after divorce. Both of us also come from divorced homes.
#2 How long does the program run for?
Typically, the program runs 13 Weeks, but we usually like to add an additional week at the beginning, and sometimes at the end.
#3 What does a typical night look like?
There is no time limit, really. We are willing to listen to anyone who wants to attend and open up. We want to be an encouragement to everyone who comes. The night starts with an introduction and light conversation. We always open the small group with prayer and then each person shares, as he/she feels comfortable. No one is obligated to speak, but most people do feel it’s a safe place to open up. We usually discuss what we learned from the previous week. We watch a video from the DivorceCare study; it’s usually 30 minutes long. We finish by discussing what we just watched and then say a closing prayer.
#4 What is the most common question you get asked when you tell people about your Divorce Care group?
Most people want to know where we meet and they are usually surprised that we don’t hold meetings in a church building. We meet at our home. It’s a relaxed atmosphere.
#5 At what stage during a marital crisis or breakdown should someone consider joining a Divorce Care group?
Any marital crisis that becomes serious enough that ‘Divorce’ is becoming part of the language is a good time to consider it. The group is definitely intended for people who are hurting and know that they would like to be healthier, but a common misconception is that you need to be divorced to come. Some people who have attended were divorced years ago, but a common phrase from them is, ‘I should have done this a long time ago.’ If anyone is considering it, I would recommend trying it out and see how you feel.
#6 Do you have to be connected to a church to attend?
No. We usually have some people who are not connected to a church and they get a lot out of the meeting. But it’s worth noting that the material is Biblically based.
#7 How do you ensure that the group is a safe place for people to open up about their feelings and life details?
Confidentiality is important if you are going to attend the group. Nobody needs to share anything that they don’t feel comfortable sharing. We ask people to respect each other. We guide the conversations and ask that words that are spoken here, remain here.
#8 What if life is too busy and someone can’t commit to every week?
Not everyone makes it for all 13 sessions. People join us at various stages of the weeks. It’s not a necessity to be there at week 1 and make every week. We also have people who get involved on multiple occasions. Someone may have missed some good sessions the first time around, so they try to attend sessions the next time we run through them. Many people who think they’ve been ‘cured’ have showed up again and learned something new. To be honest, there is always something knew that we grasp each week. It’s a learning experience.
#9 What does a ‘graduate’ of DivorceCare look like?
A success story for each person is unique. There is typically a new joy on someone’s face; you notice that his/her demeaner has changed and there is a new sense of hope that there is life after divorce. It’s a challenge to give a sufficient answer to this question without meeting some of the people who have been through it. It’s not something you can easily put into words.
#10 What do you recommended for children who may be part of a divorcing family?
In addition to running this DivorceCare group, Keith and Sherri do enjoy being coaches to other couples. They desire to help people put God in the centre of their lives, while breaking down the typical church barriers.
If you have read any of this and feel that you might be interested in attending a DivorceCare meeting, then here is a link to help you find a DivorceCare group near you.
Thanks for taking the time to read,