Having a rough time in your marriage? Do you wish you’d never married your husband? Our society makes it very easy to throw in the towel and divorce. Divorce might seem very tempting, but let me tell you from personal experience; it’s really hard on your children. Actually, it’s devastating for them. Yes, God can heal them over time, but your children will always carry a deep emotional scar. Whoever started the rumor that kids can bounce back from divorce was lying!
I’m not saying that a woman should never divorce her husband. The Bible certainly gives a clear allowance for divorce in Matthew 19:9 where Jesus says “I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.” Jesus clearly states that when a spouse has cheated on you sexually, divorce is permissible. After many years of studying the Bible, I also believe God permits a woman to divorce her husband when he grossly sins against his wife through continuing physical or emotional abuse. After all, God instructs us in Proverbs 4:23 “Above all else, guard your heart for it is the wellspring of life“. After years of severe emotional or physical abuse, a woman can become a mere shell of a human being. I don’t believe that is God’s will for anyone. Throughout the Bible, we see that God is more concerned with mercy than merely following rules.
All this being said, please do everything you can to fight for your marriage. Don’t give up easily. Don’t let bitterness grow. Work to resolve issues before your heart grows so cold that you don’t feel like working to save your marriage. You may possibly need to separate from your husband in order to bring his attention to the seriousness of the problem, but your goal should be reconciliation and restoration of your marriage. Find a good counselor. Get a mentor couple. Read the Bible. Pray continually. Don’t give up on your marriage too easily. If for no other reason, fight for your marriage on behalf of your children.
Our romanticized culture has led many Christian women to believe that they need to find their one true “soul mate” who will make them happy for the rest of their life, with little hard work on their part. Not true! I don’t see this concept anywhere in the Bible. In fact, the Bible makes it clear that we are supposed to be more concerned with loving others than finding someone who makes us happy. Philippian 2:3-4 says “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility, consider others better than yourself. Each of you should look not only to his own interests, but also to the interest of others.”
Sorry to burst your bubble, but I believe it’s important for you to realize the following ideas about marriage are actually 3 more myths:
2. Your husband is supposed to be your source of happiness. (Actually, God is the only one who can provide perfect love, security and comfort)
3. Happy couples never have conflict. (If you never disagree on anything, one or both of you is likely burying the issue and allowing resentment to grow)
4. If you find the “right” guy, a wonderful marriage will just happen. (Actually, a good marriage takes planning, intentionality and effort)
Before you slam me, please understand that I’m not advocating defying the government order to wear a face mask during the pandemic. I’m talking about the invisible “mask” that many of us wear around others, in order to keep them from truly knowing us!
Have you ever felt trapped in a dysfunctional part of your marriage? Do you struggle with feeling hopeless about something in your marriage? Well, over the years, I’ve learned that I begin to break free from that hopelessness and oppression when I rip off my “mask” and drag the problem into the light! Here’s what I mean by that. I mean doing something extremely courageous by revealing the problem to a godly friend or counselor. This means, not only revealing what your husband is doing, but also bravely revealing your own part in the dysfunction.
Proverbs 28:13 says this: “Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy.” This is a wonderful verse to live by! You will most likely find that as you begin to drop your “everything is just fine at our house” mask, that other women will begin dropping their masks as well. You will find it comforting to realize you’re not the only one struggling with issues.
You will also find that dropping the mask means you will be more open to receiving godly wisdom and direction. Instead of pretending that everything’s great, you’ll be in a position for God to speak counsel into your life, through both the Bible and wise people. This doesn’t mean you go around telling everyone about your husband’s faults! It means getting real with a few trusted, wise, godly women or a trained counselor who can help you apply Biblical principles to your marriage challenges. You will also receive encouragement, prayer support, and hope in the process!
At the risk of you thinking I’m totally looney, may I suggest that you talk with your husband about clear boundaries regarding your female friends? In other words, he should not be a close”friend” of any of your own girlfriends! I know this might seem old-fashioned or even ridiculous, but many affairs start out with a husband “just talking” with another woman. We need to be careful and alert to the schemes of the enemy!
1 Peter 5:8 says “Be alert and of sober-mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” So, be alert to the enemy’s scheme to get your husband emotionally entangled with one of your friends. He should not spend time with her without you. He should not even be spending time on the phone with her giving advice or listening to her woes. Without him intending to do so, he will slowly find himself developing an emotional bond with your friend, and she will start bonding with him. Danger lies ahead!
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…”