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.
“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.
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.