The weekly DivorceCare meeting is led by Janet Quillen.

At 5:30 p.m. every Tuesday, a small group of local divorced people meets at Subway south of Wabash on Indiana 13 to break bread and exchange stories.

An hour later, the group then makes the short drive to the Wabash Friends Church to hold their weekly DivorceCare meeting, led by Janet Quillen.

Quillen asked that the identities of the other members of the be kept confidential. However, when new members arrive at a DivorceCare meeting, Quillen makes sure to share her own story with them right away.

Quillen has been married and divorced three times.

Met her first husband at 23 when they both worked at Delco. He was an electrician and she worked in the office. The were married in June 1964. In February 1965, they obtained custody of her husband’s sons from a previous marriage.

In June 1965, they welcomed a son, and in November 1968, a daughter followed.

Quillen said the real trouble began in 1970 when she suspected there was something he wasn’t telling her.

“I felt something was wrong with our relationship,” she said. “I finally confronted my husband.”

She asked him if there was someone else. He confirmed that there was.

“I almost passed out,” she said. “I was shocked.”

He soon moved the two older boys into their grandmother’s house. Then he moved out, too, leaving Janet and her youngest son and daughter alone.

The children missed their father, though. She wanted her marriage back, too. Her husband was less interested in this idea.

“I tried to do what I could to get us back together. I went to a counselor. My husband’s brother and his wife offered to keep (their youngest son and daughter) at their house while I went to a counselor. They were on my side. The counselor told me to have my husband come back with me. When I told him, he said to me, ‘You need it, I don’t.’”

At the end of that summer, she decided to get a job so she could file for divorce because “he wasn’t going to do it.”

“He said I had a reason for filing for divorce, but he didn’t. After I got a job and had insurance, I filed for divorce. He showed up at the hearing but didn’t have an attorney. He signed the papers and was ordered to pay child support. I got to keep the house,” she said.

In spring 1971, Quillen said she met the man who would become her second husband.

“He was divorced, had three children and lived 2 miles from me,” she said. “We rushed into a marriage. I sold my house and moved into his.”

It wasn’t long before Quillen said she knew she had made the wrong decision.

“I realized I had made a big mistake,” she said. “I tried to do my best for all the children.”

She found a home to rent close to friends who were babysitting for her son and daughter.

“This second marriage was the mistake I made,” she said. “I wish I had stayed in our family house for all four of my children. This is one of the very important topics of DivorceCare – ‘not to rush into another relationship after divorce,’”

A few years passed. She got a different job, where she met the man who would be her third husband. They dated for about a year and were married in May 1974.

“He had a good job and didn’t want me to work so I got to be a stay at home mom,” she said.

In January 1980, her husband had a cerebral aneurysm and was left with brain damage.

“He could no longer work. He was difficult to live with because of brain damage. According to him, everything was my fault. We went to a pastor for counseling. After four years, he wanted a divorce. I sent a letter to his attorney informing him of my husband’s mental condition. I went with my husband to his appointment with the attorney. Twice the attorney told my husband that he didn’t have to go through with the divorce. I did not sign the papers until the issues were affecting my children. He then moved to Huntington where his children lived.”

After that, Quillen was able to live in her house until her daughter graduated high school in 1987. She then bought a house in Wabash, where she still lives.

Quillen said she first started becoming involved in outreach at around this time. She and two other women started a singles group called Singles With A Vision (SWAV) which met weekly at a local church.

“The group consisted of singles who had never married, widows, widowers and divorced people. I began to feel a special need for those who were divorced,” she said. “So, I started having a divorce support group meeting in my home. A few years after that, the Wabash Friends Church started having support groups meeting in their church. I didn’t attend the Friends Church so I met with the pastor, and he approved us to move (there).”

Quillen said sometime after that, a couple of attendees informed her of a DivorceCare group which met in Kokomo. They provided her with the information. The pastor approved purchasing the associated videos which go along with the program. When the Wabash Friends Counseling Center opened, they then became DivorceCare’s sponsor locally.

“DivorceCare has helped so many people,” she said. “I will continue to lead the group as long as God allows me to.”

Rob Burgess, Wabash Plain Dealer editor, may be reached by email at