We’ve talked about Why Christian Couples Get Divorced but in this post I want to cover perhaps the most common first step down the path. In fact this first step is incredibly innocent and most people would never even notice the slight shift in their relationship that it causes.
“If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over.”
For those of you who have spent much time in the church you recognize this verse as the first of three where Jesus is teaching about dealing with sin in the church. In our the church we previously attended these three verses, Matthew 18:15-17 were used as a broader guide for conflict resolution among Christians. So if I had an issue with someone else in the church the order of events should always be 1) Talk to the person directly and see if we could not work it out 2) The two of us would get with 2-3 objective others and try to resolve the issue and finally 3) Take it to the local governing body, in that case the church board. At every stage the people involved and the situation should be bathed in prayer. I will say I served on that board for many years and we never once had a conflict reach that third level. The people loved God and each other in wonderful ways.
But do you know what I notice very often? I mean very VERY often? As people we don’t want to take the first step. We don’t want to go to the person with whom we have the problem. We feel more comfortable talking about the person to a third party rather than to the person themselves.
Why did I title this post Avoiding the Path of Destruction?
One of the most common, perhaps the most common first step in the end of a marriage is this: One spouse talking to a member of the opposite sex about their spouse instead of talking TO their spouse. If a husband decides to complain about his wife to another woman he treads dangerously toward an emotional attachment to the other woman. If a wife talks to another man to let him know how her husband has disappointed her and the family then she is seeking comfort in the wrong arms.
Please don’t misunderstand me. If you have concerns about your husband or wife and you have talked to them THEN you share the concerns with another couple for prayer support you are most likely in a safe place. If you want to be sure you are safe simply ask your spouse for permission to have the other couple pray for the situation. In addition there are certainly times when seeking solo professional counseling may be necessary. But neither of these should be the first step in talking to someone. After you pray the FIRST person to talk to is your spouse.
Let’s sum this up.
- If you have a concern, complaint or problem with your spouse, talk to them first. Pray together and individually.
- If the issue isn’t resolved find an objective other couple with whom to talk together and or pray with and about the situation.
- Depending on the severity of the issue seek professional counseling.
Remember this admonition from 1 Peter 5:8, “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”
Guard your marriage carefully. Don’t EVER talk to a member of the opposite sex about your spouse in a complaining or negative manner because if you do and don’t stop it could very well be lead down the Path of Destruction for your marriage.
Love you all!