There are times in my quiet time with God that I think He is saying “Feed My sheep.”
Then I ponder what He might want me to say. Lately, I’ve been running into people that are married and struggling, married and about ready to bail out of the marriage, and/or divorced and dealing with the downside of their choice – custody issues and money issues and the hurting children. I thank God that there are many married and doing well in their relationship!
My daughter recommended a Christian blog called ElisabethKlein.com. It’s for women in crisis relationships. According to my daughter, Elisabeth never advises anyone when they ask, “Should I divorce?”
The thing with couples, there’s always two sides to the story. Each may sound perfectly true from their own perspective. The real picture is only clear to God. So that sounds to me like Elisabeth Klein has wisdom in not telling people to divorce or to stay together.
When I was younger, my husband and I had very close friends that began to have marital problems. We started to take sides. I said, “We’d better not get involved here or we’ll damage our relationship.”
My husband had been thinking along the same lines. So we supported our friends the best that we could and we left “he said, she said,” out of our conversations.
I chose to write about marriage, so I did a lot of research. In “The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce: A 25 Year Landmark Study,” a book by
Judith S. Wallerstein, Julia M. Lewis, and Sandra Blakeslee says children suffer greatly from divorce, especially if they change homes every week. It’s hard for them to make friends and to make plans with the friends.
That’s only one downside. Yet, if their home is extremely volatile and they may be forever damaged being there, what can a mom or dad do? It’s no easy question.
I feel fortunate that I married a man that respects me and whom I respect. We never call each other names, even when we’re mad. We talk things out so we understand the other persons’ viewpoint. We offer grace when the other person isn’t getting it. We dated just about every week along the years, and still do, almost forty years into our marriage. We allow each other the freedom to explore hobbies and interests that the other is not interested in, when we can afford the money to do so.
My husband and I recently got online to take the Meyers-Briggs personality test and I told my youngest daughter that I’d bet we were totally opposite. Yep. So we thrive amidst the obvious tensions that can and do arise. We talk things out; we try to comprehend the other person’s viewpoint. I’ve gritted my teeth and held on for dear life a time or two when I really wanted to leave. Once, in an extended struggle, I called his best friends and told them I needed their help. They got in his face and told him a few things I never could have. He needed prodding to get outside his shell.
He stuck with me when some of my bad habits quietly eroded his well-being. I never knew that until a few years ago. I’m more of a confront-er; he’s quiet and ponders things deeply before he speaks. He told another friend that he was advising – on how to save his marriage – that he decided he loved me more than my inability to keep the laundry caught up and to keep the clutter away – my lifelong struggle. How important was the guy’s marriage to him? Could he overlook some things as well?
Maybe it’s because I keep trying to change, with God’s help, and he’s changed because of God’s influence in his life, that the longer we’re married, and the more we walk in the other person’s shoes, so to speak, the better it gets. I tuned in to Focus On the Family radio program often in my life and purchased helpful resources. Their website’s value seems priceless to me.
God hates divorce. Jesus speaks strongly about divorce in Mark 10:2-12. My oldest daughter thinks it’s because God knows the damage it causes. Many years ago, my in-laws divorced, so I researched divorce. One author said divorce caused grief worse than a death because the wounds keep getting re-opened when you deal with the other person. Plus, there’s no rejection in a death.
If you are thinking of divorce, think long and hard about it, I urge. Proverbs 11:14 (ASV) states, “Where no wise guidance is, the people falleth; But in the multitude of counsellors there is safety.”
Above all, pray. God may ask you to be patient; God may ask you to work on your own failings and ignore the other persons faults; God may say to separate because of the lack of safety for the spouse and/or the children. Another Proverb warns against acting hastily. Proverbs 25:8a (ASV): “Go not forth hastily to strive, Lest thou know not what to do in the end thereof…”
I’m writing this because people I care about have divorced or are considering divorce and it breaks my heart, along with hoping to make an impact on others. Strong marriages are great for society and as Christians, marriage is a representation of Christ’s love for the church, as portrayed in Ephesians 5:21-33.
These verses speak on the roles of husbands and wives and their responsibilities toward each other. May God be glorified in our lives.