I hesitated a little in thinking about writing this topic. I did. In fact this blog post has been typed up and pretty much ready to go for several weeks. Far too many people I know and love (including my own parents) have gone through the challenge of a divorce. But I think it needs to be stated.
Here is the simple reason why “Christian” couples get divorced. One or both parties is not truly following Christ.
Now I sit waiting for all of the negative comments from the folks who were so offended by my statement that they stopped reading at that point.
Let’s hit some major reasons people (including Christian) give for divorce:
- “We just grew apart.” – Yeah. That one. Sorry, but people following Christ in a marriage grow closer together, not further apart. As previously noted on this blog, according to a study quoted by Andy Stanley, “the divorce rate in couples who regularly pray out loud together is reported to be less than 1 in 10,000.” There is truth in the statement that the couple that prays together stays together. Intentionality is the key. Check out 22 Years of Failure.
- “He (or she) cheated on me!” – Ok. This is the one that Jesus gives as allowing for divorce. But even in this incredibly painful and trust destroying situation divorce should not be the first thought. The first thought should be forgiveness. Forgiveness first and if the spouse is repentant and seeking to change then accept them back with love. From 1 Corinthians 13: 4-6 “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” This passage should not only be for our weddings, but more importantly for our darkest days.
- “We just don’t love each other anymore.” – This is perhaps the most insidious of the lot. It’s also manifested as “I just don’t feel that way about her (or him) anymore.” I have news for folks in this boat. If you think love is a feeling then you might want to check out Dr. Gary Chapman’s book, The Five Love Languages (see The Book That Started It All). Because the feeling often assumed to be love is either lust or limerance. Limerance is period of time right after you meet a new person when you temporarily lose your mind. Hollywood makes a lot of money in romantic comedies peddling this off as “love”. Don’t believe it. Love is a choice. You choose to love your spouse, whether you feel like it or not. Feelings follow action. If you take action to love your spouse then you will feel love. I promise. Another scripture, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16). God gave His one and only Son. He chose to love us.
- “He (or she) has this habit, mannerism, etc. that I just can not stand!” – Listen, someone has to be the mature one here. If their habit annoys you then the problem isn’t them…I’m just saying. Here is something from the apostle Paul, “Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.” (Ephesians 4:32) I have several weird, stupid habits. My lovely bride either graciously ignores them OR (and this is true love :-)) helps me with them. Cup. In front of the microwave. All the time.
If both parties are truly following Christ then the odds of a divorce are slim to none. One more quote based on real life couples and statistics. In her book The Surprising Secrets of Highly Happy Marriages author Shaunti Feldhahan notes the following, “Highly happy couples tend to put God at the center of their marriage and focus on Him, rather than on their marriage or spouse, for fulfillment and happiness.”
There ya go. Hope you aren’t too angry with me.