There are many reasons why marriages dissolve; however, it is never because God desires this. There is no scenario -go ahead think of them- where God would rather you divorce your spouse. At this point, you're either going to stop reading this article out of pure disdain for such a position or keep reading wondering if such an argument can be substantiated.
At the core of understanding why God prefers you to remain married, is a clear understanding of what marriage truly is. Briefly stated marriage has everything to do with God's plan, while divorce has everything to do with man's plan. However, before going any further first let me point out a few things
that marriage is not -then we'll get to why you're really reading this article.
Marriage Is Not...
Marriage is not a decision people arrive at because they are compatible, nor does compatibility predict marital success. In fact, most couples are more opposite than they are the same. Compatibility comes from the decision and willingness to grow together. It is an artful dance between self-sacrifice and spousal empathy. Compatibility is a skill that can be learned, but if left
neglected, will die. Imagine if God's love toward us were dependent on our compatibility with him. Who would be compatible? As much as we change, at any given moment in time, God knows us down to the strands of hair on our heads.
Marriage is not a continuum of passion and pleasure. After the emotional dependency is gone, planning for the future stops, the birds silence their singing, the butterflies come to rest, and the sun takes its final plunge into the horizon – the night comes. For many couples this is the period of disillusionment, they no longer "feel" in love. They can now see every imperfection, inadequacy, limitation, and fault in their spouse.
Passion and pleasure, like love, is decision-based -but more than just a choice. While it does begin with a choice, it grows and metamorphizes into passion. Like an uncomely caterpillar who emerges into a butterfly after undergoing a radical transformation so is the couple who immerses themselves into the cocoon of one another emerging with new passions and pleasures.
Marriage does not mean "happily ever after." Although you may not believe in a fairytale marriage, you may feel that the best marriages have the least problems. When going through marital problems, it is difficult to imagine a situation or marriage worse than your own. Marital problems come from two basic issues
(1) difficulty in understanding and (2) a difficulty in accepting. The truth is that majority of marital problems will not be resolved -rearing their ugly heads time and time again. Happily married couples who report fewer problems are not perfect; they are simply more effective at problem management. God has called us to reconcile our differences with one another, sacrificing ourselves by making daily decisions to live in peace. How successful you are at managing problems will likely determine how happily ever after you end up?
Not My Will But Yours
So why remain married if you are no longer compatible, the passion is gone, you argue all the time about everything, and you are simply not happy? This is because God doesn't break covenants. When you get married, you agree to participate in the covenant established by God. There is not one instance where God has broken a covenant. To understand the value God places on convent we have to understand the value he places on his word.
God honors his word so highly that he places it above his name (Psalms 128:2). It is for this reason that when God joins together, in a covenant, he commands that no man should separate it (Gen. 2:24; Mat. 19:6; Mark 10:9). The covenant is bound by his word!
We often think of "let no man separate" as external influences that threaten the sanctity of marriage. However, most divorces are caused by the internal threats. "Let no man separate" is a warning to those in the marriage not to see divorce as a way out of the covenant. It is a warning to guard your heart and not allowing your heart to become hard toward your spouse (Mal. 2:15; Mat. 19:8). Internal threats from a
hardened heart can be contempt, resentment, impatience, self-pleasing behaviors, harshness, antipathy, incontinence, and unforgiveness.
Matthew 19: 8 "Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because of the hardness of your hearts, but it was not like that from the beginning." God honored the covenant of marriage so much, that although divorce was not intended, he created a way out of the covenant so it would not be dishonored. God is letting us know that divorce comes from our inability, and often unwillingness, to forgive -the hardened heart.
Malachi 2:16 "For I hate divorce says the LORD! says the God of Israel…So guard your heart; do not be unfaithful to your wife." Here we are urged in perhaps the most explicit and demonstrative language that God does not like divorce -giving way to the necessity and conclusion to guard one's heart.
"The moment you go into covenant God places in you everything you need to fulfill that covenant -everything you need to be a loving, benevolent, sacrificial husband; everything you need to be a loving, affirming, honoring wife. These are deeply rooted God designed characteristics, and it is when these qualities are not nurtured when you become apathetic in your marriage."
Marriage is the most sacred covenant created by God to exemplify the relationship between him and his people (Eph. 5:32).
Marriage was created to show God's unfailing, extravagant passion for his people -a people who were created in his image but were imperfect (Hosea). A people who were to experience and demonstrate the deepest levels of patience, kindness, faithfulness, endurance, and forgiveness.
Marriage is the means by which God would expand his kingdom and influence throughout generations (Mal. 2:15).
Marriage was designed to illustrate the complementary nature of sacrifice and reverence -revealing a harmonious relationship resulting in unity (Eph. 5).
Marriage is not a tradition; its architect is not traditional -he's intentional. Therefore, marriage is an intentional agreement to do things God's way; to always grow together, to love sacrificially, to demonstrate reverence, and most importantly to never give up.
As a covenant keeping God, God watches over his word to perform it (Jer. 1:12). In Psalm 89: 34 God says, "My covenant I will not violate, Nor will I alter the utterance of My lips."
If you have reached a point in your marriage where divorce seems like the only answer, know that the Lord's grace is sufficient for you; that God always provides a path of reconciliation.
Pray and ask the Lord to harden not your heart towards your spouse. Ask for the love and patience to see your spouse as God sees them. Seek the Lord for wisdom and strength on how to remain faithful to his covenant during the tumultuous times in your marriage.
Husbands often desire to have a wife who is more yielding then one who seeks to seize power and authority. Wives often desire the freedom to be whom they choose to be without the criticism from their husbands.
Forgiving an individual who has hurt you grants them the freedom to give new meaning and definition to their actions; it frees them from the past. When you stop the ‘re-membering’ process you no longer respond from a place of hurt and disappointment, you respond from a place of hope and optimism.
At the outset of marriage counseling, some couples often ask how effective will marriage counseling be, and will it be able to fix or save their marriage. The answer often depends on an array of factors, but, always is influenced by the couple’s perspective.