Marriage or Divorce?

In some ways, I hesitate to write on this topic because I’ve never been married and I worry that some may think me unqualified to share on this subject, but I am so grieved lately, as several people I know have divorced their spouse and quickly found another and, even more appalling to me, they are finding acceptance in the Church. Marriage is no longer sacred. Some people change spouses like they were socks: easy come, easy go. This really breaks my heart.

I know it is not easy living with someone day in and day out. Maybe your wife is a nag or your husband snores or doesn’t clean up after himself. Maybe you’re just tired of looking at him or her but, friends, when God created marriage, He designed it to reflect the relationship between Him and His Church. Now that I think about it, maybe that’s the problem. Just as many in the Church have left their first love, husbands and wives are doing the same thing.

marriagerings

“And this second thing you do. You cover the Lord’s altar with tears, with weeping and groaning because he no longer regards the offering or accepts it with favor from your hand. But you say, ‘Why does he not?’ Because the Lord was witness between you and the wife of your youth, to whom you have been faithless, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant. Did he not make them one, with a portion of the Spirit in their union? And what was the one God seeking? Godly offspring. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and let none of you be faithless to the wife of your youth. For the man who does not love his wife but divorces her, says the Lord, the God of Israel, covers his garment with violence, says the Lord of hosts. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and do not be faithless” (Mal. 2:13-16).

When a woman marries a man, she feels secure. She believes that he loves her and she, in turn, loves him. Over time, the “feelings” of love and emotion may wane. This is when a couple will either fall apart or begin to work on keeping their love alive. If you are led by emotion instead of by the Spirit of God, you may choose to give up the mundane for something that seems more exciting but let me remind you that sin seems pleasurable for a time, but it will end in spiritual death. Every decision you make needs to be lined up against the Word of God.

I struggle to write this because I know a lot of people who have been divorced and are on second or third marriages. Some of these people are very good friends of mine. My purpose in writing this is not to heap condemnation on those who have already gone through this. I am also not naive enough to think that everyone who becomes divorced wants the divorce. If a spouse is determined to leave, there is often nothing to do but let him or her go. I do hope, however, that someone will read this, who may be thinking about leaving his or her family, and they will remember that God gave him or her their life partner to have and to hold, to love and to cherish, in good times and bad times, through sickness and health, whether wealthy or poor. There were no stipulations on those vows you made. Love is not a feeling; it is a choice. Maturity comes when you choose to love someone who maybe isn’t always easy to love or live with and yet you know God put this person in your life and you determine to bear with them anyway. You agree to let God continue the work that He’s begun in you so that your whole family can better grow in Him.

Couple holding hands

I hope you can hear my heart. My parents divorced when I was eight, so I know how painful it is when two people who once loved each other decide they can no longer live under the same roof. I am not trying to heap condemnation on anyone. That is not my job anyway. But I do beg those who are in a turbulent marriage: do not leave divorce as an option. If there really is no way you can continue to live with your spouse and you choose to move out, continue to pray for your spouse and ask God to bring reconciliation. That is His heart. I know a lady whose husband moved out to have an affair with another woman. His wife never stopped praying for him and, one day, several years later, he finally came to the place where he was willing to humble himself and repent and go back home. God’s hand is never too short, no matter how hopeless a situation seems.

It seems like there is still a lot of the “If it feels good, do it” mentality going on today, but I want to remind you that everything we do needs to be measured against the Word of God. If the Bible condemns an action, there is nothing you can say to justify it.

Don’t buy into the world’s thinking, that there are better “fish in the sea.” Begin to see your wife as the beautiful person that God put in your life to teach you how to love. Take time to look at your husband and see the man of God that he could be if he had a wife who was willing to love and encourage him in his endeavors. If you have been married a while, you may have developed some very bad habits, such as cutting each other down or being self-serving, but habits can be broken and must be if your marriage is to survive.

In case there is a single person who actually took time to read this and is still hanging in, let me encourage you to make sure that the person you marry is the one that God has for you. Once you say “I do,” you will need to go back to that assurance from time to time when things begin to get rough and your spouse turns out to be harder to live with than you ever dreamed possible when you saw him or her through eyes of love. I also believe that love does not have to wane. God can put a love in your heart which is new every morning. The key is having a servant’s heart. Instead of marrying for what you can get out of the relationship, look for the things you will be able to give. If you stay in that mode, it will go a long way in ensuring a happy marriage.

9 thoughts on “Marriage or Divorce?

  1. Divorce has been heavy on my heart lately as well. Seeing people divorce and remarry constantly….it makes me wonder why people marry at all? It is a sacred union.The second you bring up that *marriage is for life*, people pounce on you for being “judgmental”….I would share your post on facebook…but I know that people get defensive and angry and will flip out at me. People were angry at me for saying Christians shouldn’t watch “50 Shades”.

    I expect this behavior from people not in the church….but from people in the church it happens too! It’s just awful! People need to realize that vows are important and marriage *is* for life….Thank-you for writing on it despite the backlash you could receive!

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  2. Katy, I understand why you don’t want to share it. I was hesitant to share it on my wall too but, interestingly, several of the likes are from people who are divorced or separated. I just pray for God to water any seeds that are planted. The Holy Spirit has to change a heart; my job is just to write what He lays on my heart and trust Him for the rest. Thank you all for reading my posts.

    BTW, Katy, if you would like to befriend me on Facebook, you are welcome to. You strike me as a kindred spirit. 🙂

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  3. A large part of the issue is that people, especially in the church, portray marriage as Happy Happy Sunshine Land; when they find out that it’s not, the feeling is that of, “This isn’t working. All these married people said it would, and the pastor said that marriage was great all the time. Therefore, this marriage must be broken. I should go find a new one.”

    One good song that explains true love and commitment is Phil Collin’s “That’s All”. He is venting his anger and frustration, and says repeated that he’s not leaving, though it would be easier for him if he did. But in the middle, he does a profession of love, then goes right back to his frustrations.

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  4. Actually, the real issue is selfishness and a strong desire to blameshift. The issue has nothing to do with the pastor or the church. It has nothing to do with “being incompatible” or “irreconcilable differences.” Instead of keeping their eyes on Christ, two who claim the name of Christ decide they want their own way, or they are going to take their ball and go home.

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  5. Mark: Seriously?!? You take dispute the idea that people’s false expectations pumped up by the ‘pollyanna’ view of marriage so commonly given out by the church isn’t having an impact?

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  6. No, I am not disputing that people are coming to the table with warped views of marriage, but the biggest or largest part of the problem is that people have long ago taken their eyes off of Christ and decided they would rather blameshift. A “Pollyanna” view of marriage is never Biblical to begin with because it fails to address the realities of life. When the husband or wife comes home and they don’t smell sweet. When one spouse has a cross day at work and they bring that attitude home. Etc. Etc. Those things that are allowed to destroy marriage is because spouses have chosen to blameshift instead of opening up and accepting that they are both sinners that need to show love and grace.

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