Chapter 6: Lies Women Believe About Marriage
Day 5: The Covenant of Marriage
Lie #26: Sometimes divorce is a better option than staying in a bad marriage.
The Bible allows for divorce in only two cases: one is if you are married to an unbeliever and they refuse to live with you because of your faith. The other is because of infidelity – and ultimately, unrepentant infidelity. Our problem is not that we give up too soon, we force our husbands out, and then claim it’s inevitable. But it’s rarely true.
We live in a culture that has no respect for commitment. When things get hard, we quit. When things break, we throw them away. When it’s uncomfortable, we run away. This mindset has carried over to marriage. When marriage gets hard, people quit. They’d rather throw it away and start over than try to repair it, and they’d rather escape than endure discomfort.
Divorce begins before a couple is even married. Before a man and woman even exchange vows and rings, most marriages are already in decline. By the time a couple reaches the alter, they’ve already begun to take each other for granted, they’ve already begun to think marriage is going to make them (and keep them) happy. They already believe that it will be easy and effortless, that it will finally complete them. But these are all lies.
Marriage is hard, and a good marriage is even harder.
There is a lot of controversy about that, though – I’ve heard people adamantly say marriage is hard, and on the other side passionately claim that it’s NOT hard. Regardless of each person’s experience, though, I am a firm believer that marriage is difficult simply because you have two sinful, selfish people coming together and called to be completely selfless with each other.
It is not easy to submit; it is not easy to provide. It is not easy to compromise. It’s not easy to trust. It’s not easy to vulnerable. It’s not easy to love. And if these things have been easy for you so far, then buckle up, because if you’re doing it right, it won’t stay easy.
The real test of submission comes when you don’t agree with him.
The real test of compromise is when you really want what you want.
The real test of vulnerability is when it’s something you’ve never told anyone and you’re scared to death of who will find out.
The real test of love is when you don’t feel like loving because he’s cranky and irritable and you think he’s making a rotten choice.
Ruth Graham said, “Marriage must be a union of two good forgivers.”
When you (wrongly) believe that it’s your husband’s job to make you happy, that marriage should be easy, and you deserve to get your way, then whatever interferes will those things, however small, will be the destruction of your marriage.
When an irritation arises, however small or big, you must first start with the decision to forgive. You can feed a grudge, nurse a grudge, and then be destroyed by a grudge; or you can surrender a hurt, forgive your husband, and choose to love him anyway.
Most people who divorce don’t do it over one big, inciting event. It’s usually traced back to a series of small offences that were never dealt with until they were too big, too grown, and too powerful to be overcome. We are so quick to take up an offence, and in marriage, it’s extremely dangerous becasue it causes you to fight against your husband rather than with him.
Our selfishness seeps out when we pass the blame, place expectations on our husbands, leave God and grace out the picture, thinking it’s all about us. We take things personally and we always assume the worst. There’s no patience or understanding, no humility, and no mercy.
When conflicts arise, we must make a choice to step back, trust God, and seek a resolution. We must know when to bend. We must learn to forgive, understanding that forgiveness doesn’t make it okay, but it makes us okay.
James MacDonald: Forgiveness is the decision to release a person from the obligation that resulted when they injured you.
There is no marriage that God can’t work through and heal. Forgiveness, humility, patience — they’re all so hard because they go against our sinful nature. But if you commit to God to persevere in your marriage, God will teach you those things, and he will give you the grace to follow-through.
When you become a giver (and by extension, a forgiver), you will place your marriage squarely in God’s hands, and then he can begin to work to restore and bless and make your marriage beautiful.
It’s time to learn from conflict, not escape it.
No matter how hard things get, God is with you. He will never forsake you and he has promised you the grace to overcome. The only question that remains is, is that what you want?
The rewards may not come immediately. It may take months, years, to begin to see the benefits of your faithfulness; will you trust God to stay faithful now? I believe it’s worth the wait.
Stop the progression now. Don’t hold on to hurt. Don’t nurse a grudge. Don’t let your mind wander. Don’t let giving up be an option. Decide right now to forgive, to love, to give your husband the benefit of the doubt and to give God the control in your relationship.
Love is a choice – are you ready to make it?
Key points to remember:
- There is no marriage that God cannot heal.
- Marriage is a life-long commitment.
- God will use your spouse to shape and mold your character.
- God’s grace is enough for you.
- Forgiveness is the only way to receive God’s best.
- God has commanded us to forgive without limit.
- Marriage is about giving, not taking.
- I must fight with my husband, not against him.
- Learning to Love Your Husband Again – TrueWoman
- Marriage – It’s Not Give & Take
In a word: passionate. About Jesus, church, ministry, music, reading, family, friends, and sometimes even iced skinny soy mochas.