Divorce? God’s plan is better.

Chances are good that you happenned across this page because you were searching for the word “divorce” on your favorite search engine, and chances are also good that you selected this page because you’ve come to the end of your options, or perhaps your mate has. Well, you’re not alone. But if you’ve come seeking advice on how to divorce your spouse, sadly you’ve come to the wrong place. This is a page devoted to telling people that no matter how bad your situation has become, there’s still hope. It is also a page that proclaims the truth in the midst of lies about divorce, so if you’re unsure as yet, and you need evidence from the Word of God to encourage you that there may be a better road than divorce, you’ve come to the right place.

Having a proper understanding of marriage

God ordained the institution of marriage to be a solemn covenant between one man and one woman, for life. God warns us in Scripture about the danger of entering into this covenant half-heartedly. Marriage is also a stage for sincere and wholehearted giving of oneself to another. It is not to be used to meet one’s needs (see Lie #8 below); rather it should be thought of as one’s commitment to the other. When both spouses consider marriage sacred and each regards only his or her commitment to the spouse as important, with no expectation of payback, then a truly altruistic attitude permeates the relationship, and both partners benefit through a close spiritual intimacy. This is the way God intended it to be. But when couples lose sight of the other’s interests and start insisting on their own being fulfilled, many marriages begin to deteriorate.

Some lies I have heard about divorce

Lie #1: Divorce is the answer when you can’t get along. All couples disagree from time to time. In fact there are many today who, before getting married, fight about everything. They can agree about nothing, except that they want to be married to each other. This is very short-sighted, because it is often these same couples who cannot stand each other once they are married, because the issues they fought over before marrying were never resolved. Instead of the arguments ceasing, they intensify. So what’s the answer? Work it out. Don’t divorce. No matter how badly two people disagree, they can still find some middle ground. Sometimes what’s needed is for each to put his or her pride and selfishness aside and defer to the other. On very rare occasions, there may be irreconcilable differences, but quite often those that appear to be can be resolved. But you must share.

Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up. (James 4:10)

Lie #2: If you’re saved and your spouse is not, you must divorce. Many will justify this on the strength of this verse:

Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? (II Corinthians 6:14)

But this verse does not entirely apply to marriage. Paul actually was talking to the church about having fellowship and labor along with the world. Here are some verses that do apply, though:

But to the rest speak I, not the Lord: If any brother hath a wife that believeth not, and she be pleased to dwell with him, let him not put her away. And the woman which hath an husband that believeth not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him. (I Corinthains 7:12,13)

So it’s clear that it’s not required for a husband and wife to divorce just because one is not a believer.

Lie #3: Divorce is mandated by the Bible if your spouse commits adultery. This comes from a faulty understanding of the Bible, particularly the Old Testament and the words of Jesus. The Old Testament Law actually called for stoning in cases of adultery (see Deuteronomy 22), and divorce was simply an allowance that Moses made. What Jesus said in the book of Matthew is also highly misunderstood (5:32,19:9), being better explained in Mark 10. Far from being a command to put away a cheating spouse, it is instead an admonition to remain married and to reconcile, if possible.

And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband: But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife. (I Corinthians 7:10,11)

Lie #4: If my spouse cheats on me, I’m free to date other people. This stems from a different misunderstanding: What is the true purpose of the wedding vows? Some would say that if one party breaks his vows and is with another, then that party’s spouse is then released from hers, or vice-versa. This goes to the heart of the issue: marriage is not a contract, nullified as soon as it is breached, but rather a solemn covenant between three—yes, three people: the bride (wife), the groom (husband), and God. Since God is the true arbiter of the covenant, He holds both parties equally responsible, even when one strays, so it just makes sense: adultery does not desolve a marriage, for if it did, a cheating spouse would simply be “leaving.”

They say, If a man put away his wife, and she go from him, and become another man’s, shall he return unto her again? shall not that land be greatly polluted? but thou hast played the harlot with many lovers; yet return again to me, saith the LORD. (Jeremiah 3:1)

Lie #5: Believe in divorce “just in case.” This is the misguided view that divorce is an option in case of marital “emergency”: “I’ll give this marriage thing a try; if it doesn’t work out, we can always get a divorce.” The flaw in this reasoning is the misconception of the threat of divorce: the thought is that if divorce is held over a spouse’s head, it will make the marriage more solid because of motivation to avoid behavior that would warrant divorce. Nothing can be further from the truth. What really happens is the spouse that is under pressure to perform flawlessly will eventually become discouraged or bitter, and will give up, thinking it’s not worth it, and so divorce results anyway. In such cases the divorce may have been avoided and the marriage may have been stronger if both parties had not believed in it as anything but a last resort, because godly pressure would have been put on each to do his part to make it work.

He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so. (Matthew 19:8)

Lie #6: Divorce is an option when two people don’t love each other anymore. This is not even a valid statement. How can two people truly love each other in the agaph sense of the word and ever stop? Most “love” between husbands and wives these days is too shallow, consisting of either filew in the best case or at worst eroV. The latter Greek word, from which we get our English word erotic, doesn’t even appear in the Bible! If two do not love each other any longer, there was something wrong with their love in the first place.

Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Charity never faileth… (I Corithians 13:4-8a)

Lie #7: If you realize that you married the wrong one, you should divorce. Again, the overriding principle is that once two people have committed to each other, they should stay together and learn to get along, no matter how hard that is to do. Marriage is two becoming one. Can one become the same two all over again? Never! The choice that was made may have been wrong, but it was the choice that was made. Perhaps the question ought to be “Am I the wrong one, and how can I become the right one for my spouse?” rather than “Oh, dear! Did I marry the wrong one?”

And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. (Matthew 19:4-6)

Lie #8: You should divorce if your needs aren’t being met. Many people mistakenly think that getting married is something that will fulfill them. These people have the idea that they themselves have certain needs that it is the other’s responsibility to meet. The problem with this understanding is its inherent selfishness: the very person who expects another to meet his needs often pays no attention to theirs, while at the same time he himself is expected by the other to meet her needs, or vice-versa. In other words, this is a self-defeating attitude.

From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts. Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God. Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy? But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. (James 4:1-6)

How to keep your spouse (and have them enjoy it)

To the husband: As tough and rugged as many wives may seem on the outside, on the inside they are like a fragile package: “Handle with care.” Women need security in a marriage, and they need love, tenderness, protection, and appreciation. If the wife feels safe, loved, treated with care and concern, thanked for the little things she does, and not bretrayed, this goes a long way. Such a wife will be far less likely to divorce her husband.

Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered. (I Peter 3:7)

To the wife: In contrast to your own needs, the husband has needs which, believe it or not, complement yours. He needs to be: provider, leader, and protector. To boil this down, he needs to be needed and respected. If a wife steps aside and allows the husband to lead, protect, and provide for her, this too goes a long way. A husband who feels needed and respected will also be less likely to divorce.

Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband. (Ephesians 5:22-33)

My name is Brian, and I’ve written this page because I have learned these things the hard way. Yes, I myself am divorced, but I never wanted it for a minute. Please don’t make the same mistakes that I did. I’m not a professional, but you may drop me a line at iwontbreakup@myfamily.org with any questions as to the Bible’s answer to divorce.

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