Divorce-Proofing a Marriage

By Sylvia Bambola Monday, 16 September 2013 12:52:00

This is a tough one. In Mark 10:1-9 some Pharisees ask Jesus, “is it lawful for a man to dismiss and repudiate and divorce his wife?” They asked this in order to test Him. The Amplified says to “find a weakness in Him.” They were always doing that. But Jesus doesn’t flinch. His answer: “What did Moses command you?” The Pharisees go on to admit that Moses did indeed allow a man to divorce his wife. Then Jesus zeros in on the matter. Yes, Moses did, Jesus concedes, “because of your hardness of heart, your condition of insensibility to the call of God.” But it wasn’t always so. “From the beginning of creation God made them male and female. For this reason a man shall leave behind his father and his mother and the two shall become one flesh . . . What therefore God has united (joined together), let not man separate or divide.” It’s clear that God doesn’t like divorce.

But why doesn’t He? And why is marriage supposed to be forever? Because when you ripe something in two that is supposed to be one, there is damage, there is pain, there is destruction. And this destruction and pain spill over onto not only the former husband and wife, but their children, their families and even their friends as so often times these people are forced to choose sides. Nobody wins here.

Let me say right off that I don’t judge those who are divorced because “there but for the grace of God go I.” Marriage is tough. I wager that most people who have been married for any length of years have been tempted to “call it quits” at one time or another, or at least had it cross their mind, however briefly.  But I do say we need to discuss this topic openly and honestly because divorce in the Church is just as rampant as divorce in the secular world. And this should not be. If anything, the divorce rate in our churches should be much lower. After all, we have God’s Word and His Holy Spirit to guide us.  But how to prevent it? For one thing, we need to be honest with our children. Prepare them for the realities of marriage and discourage living together before marriage. (Aside from it being called “fornication” in the Bible and frowned upon by God, did you know that the divorce rate for couples that cohabitate before marriage is much higher than the average rate? It’s true!) But most of all we need to stress that God must be in the center of their lives and to allow Him to pick out that perfect spouse for us. That means waiting. And most of us don’t like waiting for anything. And when we don’t wait, when we forge ahead and pick our own spouse based on looks, personality, position in life, etc, we could not only be missing God’s best, but we could be entering a relationship bound for serious trouble.

Remember how Jesus said the reason people get divorced is because of the hardness of their heart? Well, here’s the final blow. We all have hard hearts. Hearts that are, by and large, centered on us. We are selfish and want our way, that’s why marriage is so hard. It requires compromise, the giving up of our selves for another. Beloved, only Jesus can plow the crusty patch that is our heart. Only He can change us, give us a heart of flesh and enable us to truly live the life He desires for us, and that includes our married life, too. Remember, it’s “not by might not by power but by my spirit, saith the Lord of hosts.” (Zechariah 4:6)

Until next time,