“marriage introduces you to yourself; you realize you are not as noble and easy to live with as you thought…”Tim Keller, The Meaning of Marriage
In marriage we deal with our own selfishness first! In marriage, it is not, as the world teaches, all about me. In marriage, there is a partnership of mutual self-giving for the purpose of spiritual and moral growth that produces the oneness that God intended.
Marriage is to show us the kind of relationship God wants to have with every person on the planet. In the Old Testament, “marriage” is used to describe the Spiritual relationship God had with His chosen people (Psalm 45 & Isaiah 54:6). When The people of God sinned, especially when worshipping other gods, their sin was equated with adultery (Jeremiah 3:1-20). In the New Testament, the analogy is Christ as the Bridegroom and the Church as His Bride (Ephesians 5:25-33, Revelation 19:7-9).
The most common reasons given for divorce today, outside the church, are lack of compatibility, money issues, lack of intimacy, adultery, physical appearance, addictions, getting married at an early age, or married for the wrong reasons… Always in the top five for reasons for divorce, both inside and outside the Church, is the lack of intimacy and, yes, that is part of the “Do Not Deprive” in verse 5 that we talked about a couple of weeks ago. But there is more to intimacy than that, though that is a good part of it.
For instance, showing affection through small acts. Remember love is a verb: daily kisses on the cheek, hugs, holding hands, backrubs, foot rubs, or the touch of a loved one goes a long way. Even phone calls and/or notes to say “I love you” from time to time sure don’t hurt the relationship.
Intimacy involves paying attention to your spouse. It’s the sign of a healthy marriage to ask about the type of day they’ve had, if there is something worrying them, and you need to let them vent… – that means both spouses – the one that stayed home and the one that left the house to work.
When acts of intimacy decline or disappear, then your spouse may feel rejected which can lead to distancing and wall building and have devastating effects that could destroy your marriage. You must work at being intimate in your marriage.
At the first sign of discontentment you need to sit down and communicate with your spouse, communicate – not talk at, not rant. And, don’t forget, half of communication is listening. Are you hearing what is actually being said? Or, rather, what you think they are saying? Don’t hesitate to ask clarifying questions, don’t accuse.
Many of the things that are given for reasons for divorce are avoidable if you are aware of the possibility that they are happening. IF you take the steps to prevent them. I believe that incompatibility is a catch all to the other issues. In addition, money issues and most of the reasons given could have been prevented by practicing the 3 most important things.
In a Christian marriage the two become one. In every marriage there will be issues that need to be dealt with, and dealt with quickly, you were two different people with different tastes, expectations, agendas, dreams, and attitudes towards money. There should be a blending of these to become one and it will take effort and sacrifice to meet that goal in any marriage.
As for physical appearance… Everyone changes with time, but change is not always bad. If you work at it, change can be good and bring growth and strength to your marriage. But change is also unavoidable – each of us are changing everyday. I am not the same person I was… I am influenced by things and situations; athose changes are either good or not but I will not be the same person next year that I am today. And neither will you. What should remain constant is our love for God and our spouse and both of those take an act of will. Love is a verb.
The number one reason given in many of the lists for getting a divorce for those in the Church is pornography (need help with an addiction? Curious about more info? Check out the previous links, but also, don’t hesitate to contact the pastor – he can walk along side you, no matter the issue.)
Lust, by definition, is a passionate or overmastering desire or craving – for power, money, or something else that you do not have or cannot have. To covet is to lust after. Keep in mind that lust has as its focus, pleasing yourself, and it often leads to immoral actions to fulfill your desires with no regard to the consequences. Lust is about possession and greed. The Christian faith is about selflessness and is marked by godly living. This means the putting off of the old sin self and putting on Christ, taking our thoughts captive in obedience to Christ. In 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 we read:
"For although we live in the flesh, we do not wage war according to the flesh, since the weapons of our war- fare are not of the flesh, but are powerful through God for the demolition of strong-holds. We demolish arguments and every proud thing that is raised up against the knowledge of God, and we take every thought captive to obey Christ."
In Malachi, this is addressed to the man who abuses His wife but it would also would apply to the wife… God hates those who abuse their spouse, who covers them in violence but especially to the husband as he is to be the protector.
Divorce deeply wounds and attempts to destroy His Beloved (The Church). The enemy seeks to use divorce works to steal, kill, and destroy God’s creation. That being said: there are marriages loaded down with all types of verbal, emotional, sexual, physical, and mental abuse. We in the Church need to open our eyes and realize that while divorce is always caused by sin it is not always sinful.
- Are you praying for your marriage?
- How are you working at your marriage?
- Is there a problem that needs to be communicated?
- Scripture: Matthew 5:15-16, 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5, Acts 1:8, Acts 22:15, Romans 10:14-15, 1 Peter 3:15, Malachi 2:13-16 (NIV, written out below), Ephesians 5:21-33, 1 Peter 3:1-12, Leviticus 18 (ESV), 2 Corinthians 6:14-18
- Article: 6 Steps for Resolving Conflict in Marriage
“Another thing you do: You flood the Lord’s altar with tears. You weep and wail because he no longer looks with favor on your offerings or accepts them with pleasure from your hands. You ask, “Why?” It is because the Lord is the witness between you and the wife of your youth. You have been unfaithful to her, though she is your partner, the wife of your marriage covenant.
Has not the one God made you? You belong to him in body and spirit. And what does the one God seek? Godly offspring. So be on your guard, and do not be unfaithful to the wife of your youth.
“The man who hates and divorces his wife,” says the Lord, the God of Israel, “does violence to the one he should protect,” says the Lord Almighty.