Moses in Deuteronomy 24:1-2 allowed a man to divorce his wife and for her to be married to another. When Jesus was questioned about this in Mark 10:1-9, He made it clear that divorce was not in God’s order in the beginning, but was allowed because of the hardness of the people’s hearts. Knowing the nature and character of God, it isn't a stretch to conclude that divorce isn't God's plan for His children. One can readily imagine that divorce saddens our Lord. Nevertheless, our human experience ... applied against Scripture and prayer ... sometimes reveals that divorce is inevitable.
Let's face it, some of the marriages that Christians find themselves in are just plain ungodly. The respective spouses loathe each other. They don't like each other. They don't respect each other. They don't enjoy spending time with each other. Even being civil to each other can be quite stressful.
I've counseled couples where the wife would sheepishly admit that she'd told her daughters things like, "I hope you don't grow up and marry someone like your father." Or the husband would admit that he felt guilty for sometimes wishing his wife would just disappear --- so his life wouldn't have to be so complicated.
Mind you, I don't advocate divorce. But if the two have made every possible effort to salvage the relationship ... it may be time to face the inevitable. Instead of staying together "for the sake of the children," might it be time to divorce for the sake of everyone involved. If you can't give your kids two healthy parents, can you give them one? There may come a time when you must submit yourself and your marriage to the Lord, and seek His counsel. And when you do, you might not be the first person I've ever heard say that the Lord released you from this marriage. (I think He actually can do that!)
So what happens when you come to the conclusion that the marriage is without a future. You've prayed and waited on the Lord's leading. You're now confident that the Lord is giving you permission to exit this marriage. What then? Enter my concept of a "God-honoring divorce." To be clear, I still think divorce is the very last resort. One should never take it lightly. It breaks God's hear to see two people get to this regrettable place in their relationship. But when one or more hearts is so hardened, it's time to talk about how we might go about honoring God with our divorce.
An acquaintance of mine recently sought my counsel on his own divorce. Experiencing much pain, he asked for my opinion about how he should respond to the hurtful things he was experiencing. It seemed from the circumstances that his wife wasn't pursuing a very Christ-like response to the situation (despite the fact that she agreed the divorce was the appropriate course of action). What should he do? How should he respond to his divorce and his wife's unfair attacks? Let me share what I told him:
- Examine your ways and test them (Lamentations 3:40). Make sure that you've owned your part in the conflict. Be sure that you've taken responsibility for what is your responsibility.
- Your pain can speak louder than your true beliefs. Take every thought and word captive to God's truth (Proverbs 4:23 & Proverbs 13:3).
- If you think your spouse isn't being fair with you, look no further than Jesus' own example. He was accused unfairly: