Do you feel tempted to throw in the towel regarding your marriage? I know it can be tempting to just bail out, but please let me encourage you to do everything you can to fight FOR your marriage!
When you’re going through a serious challenge in your marriage, it seems right to choose the path where the pain can be quickly relieved. In a nutshell, it often seems best to choose divorce. But I’ve been through divorce, and I can honestly say that even though some of your pain will be relieved, you’ll be faced with a whole new set of problems and heartbreak.
So, maybe you should try something else. What if you were to seek outside counsel for your marriage? What if you were to spend time on your knees crying out to God on behalf of your marriage? What if you were to courageously, but respectfully, confront your husband if he is seriously out of line in some area? That could be the beginning of a turn-around in your marriage.
And also, please consider that other people are watching how you handle challenging times. Your children are watching how you handle this. Are you teaching them to bail out of situations and relationships when the going gets tough, or are you showing them how to persevere and do the hard work to restore the relationship? Meditate on Hebrews 12:1-2 “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus…”
Yes, sometimes ending the marriage may be the right path, especially if there has been a pattern of affairs or abuse. But often, we choose to end a marriage because of resentment or unmet expectations or because “he’s not making me happy”. Please, please, please work to address the issues that are prompting you to consider divorce. There may be a way to develop a healthier perspective and a healthier relationship. This will likely take work, and the process could be painful, but often good things happen when we persevere through the pain!
Are you and your husband at odds? Are you discouraged in your marriage? Pray. Are you longing for more intimacy and love in your marriage? Pray. Are you concerned about the choices your husband or children are making? Pray. Prayer really can change everything! It can produce a miracle! James 5:16 says “The prayers of a righteous person are powerful and effective.”
I have witnessed God do absolutely amazing things when I have prayed with total faith in His mighty power. I have witnessed miraculous healings. I have seen God soften my husband’s heart in areas. I have witnessed loved ones turn to Christ for the very first time. I have witnessed God supernaturally supplying much needed financial help in the nick of time. I have even seen God “heal” completely broken computerized equipment in our sound studio!
Here’s the thing. I don’t have the power to do any of those miracles. I especially don’t have the power to change my husband’s heart or my children’s hearts….but God can and does change hearts! In Ezekiel 36:26-27, God says “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you. I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.” Awesome! So, seek God in prayer. Be persistent in your prayers for your husband and children. Your situation might seem impossible, but nothing is too hard for God. He can even change hearts.
If you love your children, one of the MOST important things you can do for them is to keep your marriage healthy and intact! Not to scare you, but the research regarding children from divorced families is alarming. Perhaps this is one reason the Bible says in Malachi 2:16, “For the Lord God of Israel says that He hates divorce”. God knows the devastating impact of divorce on children’s lives.
Research by Focus on the Family has found that teens from divorced homes are much more likely to engage in drug and alcohol use, as well as sexual intercourse than are those from intact families. Also, kids whose parents divorce are substantially more likely to be incarcerated for committing a crime as a juvenile. Plus, research from the Heritage Foundation found that children of divorced parents perform more poorly at school and have higher drop-out rates.
Yes, God can heal a child’s heart following a divorce, but the scars will remain. So, work hard to keep your marriage healthy and strong. Pray every day for your husband and pray daily for marriage guidance from the Lord. See a counselor if you guys are fighting a lot or if you are growing increasingly resentful. Don’t let your heart grow hard. Fight for your marriage. Your kids will thank you!