(Just a quick thing to note, this post is about when husbands and wives want to divorce for reasons other than cheating and abuse. The Bible clearly states that The Lord gives the option of divorce when cheating is involved. I know that The Lord does not condone abuse but when it comes to divorce, I don’t feel I have the knowledge to comment on it. So again, this is about divorce that is because of reasons besides cheating and abuse).
And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband:
– 1 Corinthians 7:10
Let’s talk about divorce..
As you probably know, it’s a pretty common word these days..
If a husband and a wife can’t seem to get along, they divorce.
If a husband and a wife have different goals and dreams, they divorce.
If a husband and a wife feel that they have lost the passion and excitement in their marriage, they divorce.
On the one hand, I get it, being married is certainly not always an easy thing. It takes a lot of work, a lot of selflessness, and a lot of swallowing our pride, three things that most of us (if not all of us) have a pretty hard time doing. And if we are not willing to work toward these things, then divorce can seem like the only logical option left..
But this is not what Jesus teaches us..
And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female,
And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?
Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.
– Matthew 19:4-6
You see, when we marry our spouse we become one, we are no longer just ourselves but have come together as one. The Lord created it this way for us to be a united team, working together to build God’s Kingdom. When we truly embrace this truth, we become a real force to be reckoned with, which is the exact reason that the enemy wants to separate us. He knows how The Lord can use a strong Christ-centered marriage to do amazing works. He knows how hard it is to defeat a husband and wife when they are standing beside each other in unity, with their eyes focused on Jesus.
Continuously, we are being told that marriage isn’t exactly realistic, and really, it’s pretty unreasonable to expect us to only be with one person forever. Well, I just want to say this right now.. Do NOT believe this HUGE LIE!! This is exactly what we were created to do.
From the beginning, God’s design for marriage was for a man and a woman to join together as one, and for this union to last forever – not for a few months or a few years. Not just during the passionate and easy times, and not just when the road is smooth, and the skies are blue.
Now, would I say it is always simple to stay with one person forever? Nope, while walking in our flesh, it certainly is not. We are all selfish, prideful, stubborn people, and marriage requires us to daily fight against every one of these feelings.
Is marriage always supposed to be romance and passion? It can be, but usually, no it’s not. We shouldn’t think, though, that love has to look like what you see on the TV in order for it be real, true and lasting. Real love is not based on feelings and emotions.
Does this mean that when our marriage is not working out the way that we had planned, we should just give up and find someone else? Not a chance!
Okay, so listen, I am not trying to offend but I do think that sometimes the truth needs to be said, and so here it is.. Who on earth do we think we are that we feel we have the right to partake in what God created, and then somehow decide to make up our own rules for it?
Jesus said, What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder – (Matthew 19:6). We need to read this scripture over and over and over again until it sticks so clear in our minds and in our hearts. We chose to get married to our spouse. We came before God, our family and our friends and vowed to stick by our spouse no matter what, through all of the wonderful times and through all of the not so wonderful times.
Marriage is a gift from God and when we choose to divorce, we reject His gift. We tell Him that what He created isn’t good enough for us. We tell Him that the rules that He has set out, well, we’ve come up with better ones. We make a mocking of His perfect creation.
As married Christians, we have a standard that we need to live up to. We need to stop believing the lies and the whispers (more like shouts) of the world about how divorce is just another totally acceptable option. We need to take that word out of our vocabulary and realize that when we said “I do”, we vowed forever. We made a promise to God and to our spouse that we wouldn’t only stick around when everything was going our way, or when our spouse was measuring up to our standards but that we would stay even in those times when every single thing seemed to be falling apart.
Sure, we can all come up with excuse after excuse for why we deserve to get out of this relationship, why our spouse is not the “one” for us anymore, and why our situation is different than the rest, but really, no excuse can ever stand up to the Word of God. Many times, we believe that divorce is wrong for others, but for us? Well, The Lord knows how unbearable it is to be married to our spouse, so for us, it’s okay.
What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.
We cannot allow our pride, our selfishness, our goals, our plans, our stubbornness, our hurts or our sinfulness to tear the marriage, that God joined together, apart! What God creates is perfect and right, but it’s when we allow our sin to creep in, that it starts to fall apart.
We need to remember that our marriage is not failing because we chose the wrong spouse, it’s not failing because our circumstances have changed and marriage just no longer fits into how we think our lives should be, and it is not failing because somehow The Lord made a mistake. It is failing because we are sinful beings that refuse to put our pride and our will aside, and hand the reins of our marriage over to God.
Believe me, I know exactly what it’s like to be at a point in marriage where it all seems completely unrepairable. There have been many times in mine and my husband’s almost 7 years of marriage that I have wanted to throw my hands up and quit because I was certain that there was no way that we would ever be able to make it work. But what The Lord has been revealing to me is that yes, there really is no way that we are ever going to be able to make it work… on our own. When we try to fix our marriages by using our own ideas and the ideas of the world, well, failure becomes pretty much inevitable. We, as people, don’t know too much about real, enduring love, but Hallelujah! We serve the God that does! When we choose to turn to The Lord and ask Him to restore every area that we have broken down, that is when miracles happen. When we choose to let go of our wants, needs, and ideas and truly lay them down before His throne, He is faithful to bring healing and restoration.
So, you might be thinking, “yeah yeah, this all sounds fine and dandy for some but what if our marriage is different?
What if it really is no longer fixable?
What if everyone is telling you it’s pointless to keep trying, a lost cause, an unwinnable battle?
What if we can come up with millions of valid, logical reasons to call it quits?
What will be our one reason to unpack our bags, and stay?”
Well, I’ve felt that same way, friend, and I can tell you this, the only reason you’ll ever need is Jesus.
We serve a perfect, mighty, Holy God that continues to look upon us with love and with grace. Have we ever once deserved His love, His forgiveness, or His mercy? No, never, but even so, our God still chooses to look past all of our flaws, our blemishes, and our brokenness.
He doesn’t withhold His love until we smarten up and achieve perfection. He doesn’t abandon us when we are not meeting His standards. He doesn’t ridicule us, insult us, or tear us down. No, despite the millions of reasons that He has to leave, He stands beside us anyways, for better or for worse.
You know, Jesus is not only our motivation, but He is also our example. He shows us everything we could ever need to know about love and about showing it to others.
When we’re at the crossroads of divorce and marriage, let’s remember Jesus and the love He has shown us. Let’s remember that even though we may be totally “justified” in leaving, so is Jesus, but even so, He never does.
Now, I’m not going to pretend that once we make this choice to stick it out that everything will just instantly become all sunshine and butterflies. The reality is that making any marriage last means making this same decision every single day. Every time our spouse makes a hurtful comment, every time our spouse doesn’t step up the way that we think they should, and every time we think we’d be better off with someone else, we need to ignore the urge to run, and instead, choose to stay right where we are.
Difficult times are sure to come but with them also comes the opportunity for us to extend grace to our spouse. Are they perfect? No, far from it. But you know what? So are we. None of us are perfect, all of us fall so short of the glory of God, and all of us are need of a lot of love and a lot of grace.
When those trying times come, we need to lift our eyes to Jesus, we need to surrender our will and give it over to God. We need to look past every single flaw and see the beautiful qualities that The Lord has put in our spouse. Divorce may seem like the easy option and the only option, but it’s not. When we choose to ignore God’s perfect design and come up with our own, we lose out on all of the beautiful blessings that would have come along if only we would have chosen His.
So listen, I don’t want you to think that I’m coming from a place of judgment because truly I’m not. The Lord knows that there are plenty of days that I still struggle to remind myself that His will for my marriage is not divorce. Many times I have to ask God to help my heart to choose to show love and grace towards my spouse when all I really want to do is run the other way. Really, this post is just as much for me (if not more so) as it is for anyone else.
As hard as marriage can be sometimes, believe me, the beauty of it is far greater! The Lord did not create marriage and the rules that go along with it, to punish us. It wasn’t a mistake or a flawed design. No, when The Lord created marriage, He created something far more glorious than we even know. Marriage is supposed to join a man and a woman together in unity. It was His way of giving us a teammate and a support to hold our hand while we face the obstacles of this life.
And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.
– Genesis 2:18
Marriage is a powerful thing, and when we choose to embrace it for what it is, The Lord will use us to do mighty things.
The Lord also uses marriage to grow us, refine us and perfect us. We are not meant to stay stagnant in our walk with Christ, but we are meant to learn and to increase in love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance (Galatians 5:22-23). Personally, I can’t think of a much better way to practice all of these beautiful, godly attributes than with my husband.
So, if you take anything from this post, I hope you take this.. Although marriage can be difficult at times, the beauty and the blessings that come to those who choose to let go of their feelings, and truly embrace the marriage that God has joined together, are so much more than we could ever even begin to imagine. Is marriage always going to be great? No, but praise The Lord that we can look to Him in those trying times to give us all that we need to keep on. God is well aware of our struggles, but even so, He tells us, “stay”.
Jesus is always good! And because of this, He really is the only motivation that we will ever need to let go of our own wants and needs, and to keep pursuing the godly marriage that He so desires for each of us to have!
When there have been tough times in your marriage, how did you persevere?
What scriptures encourage you to keep working towards that godly marriage?
Let me know in the comments.
My son, forget not my law; but let thine heart keep my commandments.
– Proverbs 3:1