Divorce: It is so common in Marriages today. And if you are a Christian, the statistics are not any better than if you are not, though many believe that God’s design is that divorce should not occur in Christian families. But let’s face it, even if you are Christian, you may be considering divorce due to acts that your spouse has done that are not honoring God. Jesus said that divorce occurs because one person (or both maybe) hardens their heart to their spouse (read Matthew 19). So if you are thinking about divorce, you likely have hardened your heart toward your spouse. But before you sign the papers, please consider these things:
- How long have you been married? The longer you have been married, the more history you have built together. It may seem like divorce is the only option to pursue peace, but are there good times in the past that you can look back on and consider that give you pause? Are there ways in which divorcing your spouse will cause more hurt and heartache to you and others than staying together? If so, then you should try again before starting over.
- Who are you listening to right now? When considering divorce, they may only sometimes have objective advice about whether or not to divorce. If the people you are listening to all say the same thing, and that is to get a divorce, ask yourself if they are objective or may be biased in your situation for any reason. You can ask the same thing on the other side if everyone says to stay married. But whatever you do, don’t let just one or two people sway you into a life-changing decision such as divorce. You may regret the decision to divorce or you may regret the decision to stay. Also, pray and ask God what He wants you to do. His voice should be one of the most critical voices in our lives, but we often ignore it when making major decisions like this.
- Do you have children? No one should stay married just because of the children. But you should always consider the impact of your divorce on their lives. Children need safety, stability, and security. Divorce often leads to the opposite in children’s lives. Yes, children can recover from divorce, and it does not always lead to irreparable damage. But it will impact them and will likely influence their decisions about marriage in the future. This can be one reason many people live together for years before deciding to marry in America today.
- Is your reason to divorce because you started a relationship with another person? If so, that will likely not end well. Most statistics show that people who leave their spouse for another person and then marry that person have a higher chance of divorce. It is very difficult to make a marriage work when you cheat on your spouse. There are higher levels of jealousy, distrust, and fear regarding your spouse that make the relationship strained and unless addressed, will lead to further alienation that may lead to divorce again. The cycle has a tendency to repeat itself.
- Are your issues related to boundaries with others in your marriage? Often marriages struggle with creating healthy boundaries with in-laws, friends, or the opposite sex. We see alot of couples that struggle with this issue and it is fixable as long as both can learn to be more understanding of what their partner’s expectations are with boundaries and they can seek to honor and respect their spouse’s wishes.
- Is your spouse willing to change or have they completely given up on the marriage? If they are willing to change, maybe you should give them another chance. The heart of God is forgiveness and reconciliation. Christ died on the cross to reconcile us to God and He would be pleased to see your marriage reconciled if you both are willing to work on it. However it does take two people to make a marriage work!
- Is communication your number one problem? We see couples often who have tried unsuccessfully to communicate well and we have seen them come to our retreats and leave with a better understanding and ability to communicate that they never thought possible. You can build a better marriage if you learn to communicate well.
- Is the issue one of escalating violence or physical abuse? If so, divorce may be your only option to avoid the repetitive cycle. If your spouse refuses to change and lays the blame for the violence or abuse at your feet and takes no responsibility, then divorce may be your only way out. However, suppose the person is repentant, recognizes what they have done, and is willing to seek help for their mistreatment of you. In that case, you could consider giving them another chance ONLY IF they seek help and promise never to touch you again. If you are separated, make sure they seek the help BEFORE you agree to move back in with them. If you are still together, we would recommend a separation for safety reasons rather than stay in an environment where your spouse will be tempted to continue the physical abuse. For further help on this issue: https://www.thehotline.org/resources/statistics/
There are many reasons to consider before seeking divorce. Any marriage can be restored with God’s help. But it will take two people working together to fix it. If you both are willing, we are glad to help! If you are willing and your spouse is not currently, please pray for them and read this article or our FAQs to see what you can do to get them to agree. Please give us a call if we can help you rescue your marriage!