Christians Need Not Divorce

Marriage is more than just falling in love and being committed to each other.  Staying married in an abusive relationship does not make sense.  However, there is something each can do to make a marriage last forever.  Let us start with some background information:

God created man and woman in His own image. (Gen. 1:27)  They had a spirit and nature that was similar to Christ’s.  They had a servant’s heart and a personal relationship with God.  They were told the garden was theirs to take care of and eat whatever they wanted except from the tree of knowledge of good and evil.  (2:16) After eating from the tree of knowledge they became aware they were naked and different and afraid of God.  (3:10)  It was then that Adam lay with Eve and she became pregnant.  (4:1)

Let us suppose!  Before Adam lay with Eve God wanted them to know the difference between good and evil.  God knows all things even before they happen.  He wanted man and woman and all generations to worship Him out of choice rather than as an obligation as a robot would.   Man had to have the ability to choose.  It wasn’t until they had eaten that they took on a new nature that knew the difference between good and evil.  That nature was self-centered and selfish.  It is this nature that causes most problems in a marriage.  If we focus on ourselves and what we expect from our spouse we will find marriage less than what we expected.

Having been married over 50 years and raising four children we all are born with this selfish attitude.  It becomes most apparent from about the age of two.  It is this selfish attitude that destroys many marriages.  The more we focus on ourselves and our personal needs the more self-centered we seem to become.  It is at this point that we can become very difficult to satisfy.  There are times that no one can meet our expectations and we begin looking for different things or people to meet our needs.  In many situations we become difficult to live with.

You may profess to be a Christian but are not following Christian principles or living according to Biblical teaching.  You may behave little differently than an unbeliever. You may stay in a bad marriage because of children, financial reasons or for security but it is not a loving marriage.  So how can your relationship get back to the very beginning when your desire was to live with each other forever?

God says you need a heart as described in Ezekiel 36:26 – “And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart.”  The new heart still has selfishness in it but it is a heart that is responsive and acceptable to change.  The self-centeredness part can be changed to a love for God and others just as much as our love for ourselves.

It was this stony, stubborn heart that we all received from Adam and Eve’s sin. The heart we were born with is a heart which causes marriages to end in divorce.  The only way our heart can change, as God planned, is to allow Christ to change it by accepting Him as our Savior. A process then takes place allowing us going back to having a heart similar to what Adam and Eve had before sinning.  The new heart and spirit that we receive from God urges us to no longer focus on ourselves, expecting to be served, but we are to focus on God and Christ with a changed heart that wants to serve others.  He told us the only way that would happen, would be if we followed His command: Matthew 22:37 – 39 – “Jesus replied, ‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.  A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.”  This is what many Christian couples fail to do.  They are not willing to take the focus off their self-centered selves because they reject the Holy Spirit making the heart change that God had planned for them.

Our marriage started with Ephesians 5:21 – “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.”  I read where it said husbands love your wives just as Christ loved the church.  (Be willing to die for her.)  She needed to feel my love and feel secure that she was always going to be the only one.  She always supported me and gave me respect.  The point I want to make is the Bible told us how to treat each other and we did.

It didn’t take being married very long until we realized that we think differently.  How long does it take to realize that you have a choice: you can either argue to be right or you understand that being right does not always bring togetherness?  In most things how important is it to be right in marriage if you have totally surrendered your life to Christ. Isn’t it better to communicate and work things out and compromise?  We realized that our self-centered natures, not surrendered and changed, would cause more problems in a marriage than anything.  Scripture continually stresses we must die out to our old self-centered heart.  How many couples are willing to do this?  Those getting divorces aren’t.  Granted both must surrender and have hearts tender and responsive to the Holy Spirit’s guidance.  It probably is very difficult being married to someone addicted and is driven by their self-centered nature.  This is why the Bible says we are not to get yoked together with a non-believer.  A person who has not died out to self can make the marriage a struggle.

Everyone will have disagreements.  How do we handle them?  If you love someone enough you will negotiate with respect.  Anger has no place in an argument with a spouse.  Most anger is a response to a threat to our self-centeredness, the ego.  If we are totally surrendered and committed to Christ our humility and servant’s heart can overcome our anger.

Every day the last thing I do before leaving home is hug my wife and tell her how much I love her.  The first thing I do when I come home is hug my wife and tell her I love her.  While I am home there is never a doubt in my wife’s mind that I love her and my heart has become more of a servant’s heart, thanks to the Holy Spirit.  As a result, I could not ask for a more supportive and respectful wife.  Scripture says my wife needs to know she is loved and I need her respect.  If you want a happy marriage do what the Bible says to do.  If you are in a bad relationship one or both of you are ignoring what the Bible teaches.   Study the Bible together and pray about your relationship.

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