By Ben Efe
Marriage is one of the best things that can happen to a man or woman. This is why in almost every culture; the celebration of the marital vow is cherished, honored and filled with joy.
God designed marriage to give mankind magnificent joy and fulfillment. After He created Adam, He said, “I will make him a helper comparable to him” (Genesis 2:18).
But how many marriages truly stand the test of time? Why do people who vow to live together for ever suddenly wake up and break that commitment? The truth is, as long as people live outside the plan of God for marriage, they would continually have marital difficulties serious enough to contemplate divorce. But is this what God wants?
Though divorce was mentioned in the Bible, it was never God’s desire or intention for man. God’s original intent was that marriage would last a life time. This is why His word expressly states in Matthew 19:6 that, “So then, they are no longer two but one flesh; therefore what God has joined together let no man separate.”
God emphatically said He hates divorce – “For the Lord God of Israel says that he hates divorce.” (Malachi 2:16)
Among all other problems and vices, divorce is one of the most impacting negative influences on a family, society and even within the Church yet it is growing at an alarming rate. Why is this so? If God hates divorce, and He planned marriage as a life-time union for man, how come we seem to like and indulge in it?
Please note that though Moses initiated laws of divorce in the Old Testament due to certain circumstances, it did not mean God changed his mind, but rather it was because of the sinful hearts of man. He still hates divorce. Jesus said, “Moses permitted divorce as a concession to your hard-hearted wickedness, but it was not what God had originally intended” (Matt 19:8, NLT).
The Circumstances Allowing Divorce Include:
“And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery” (Matthew 19:9, NKJV)
Infidelity is a ground for divorce. But it argued that this negates the place of forgiveness. Infidelity is a sin, yet the bible urges us to forgive the wrongs of others so ours may be forgiven by God. It did not say infidelity is an exception to this rule. But this not reduce the negative impact infidelity brings to a marriage. Besides, forgiveness is not easy to achieve when the hurt is deep and requires grace.
This happens when ones spouse, especially who does not believe in Christian values, deliberately abandons the marriage and abscond or abdicates his/her responsibilities.
“And a woman who has a husband who does not believe, if he is willing to live with her, let her not divorce him. 14 For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband; otherwise your children would be unclean, but now they are holy. 15 But if the unbeliever departs, let him depart; a brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases. But God has called us to peace” (1 Corinthians 7:13-15).
Why Marriages End in Divorce:
Outside these grounds mentioned above, many people still find many reasons to break their marriages, essentially because divorce (which means putting away) is usually a result of little putting away or put offs, which could be caused by resentment and feelings of dissatisfaction with one’s spouse.
“If my husband/wife would be this or that, I would be happy!” “If my husband/wife could only stop arguing when he/she is wrong, we would be happy!”
Indeed there are so many ifs that trouble peoples’ minds that ultimately culminate in separation and divorce for things to be better. But is this usually the case? Perhaps the greatest reason why Christian marriages fail is because couples fail to govern their homes according to Christian principles!
If people have biblical convictions God’s perfect will for marriage, it would become easier to reject divorce. This is where Christian leaders must strive hard to steer couples away from the thought or prospect of divorce, and encourage them to stay together and work things out by God’s grace. But how many of these leaders’ have sound marriages or biblical foundations to champion this goal?
Divorce For Other Reasons:
Simply put, divorce for reasons other than those named above here is going against God’s plan, which is a sin. But God is a God of grace and forgiveness. Repent and ask for His forgiveness and He will.
- But what if my husband is violent and repeatedly abuses me physically? Should I continue to live with a wife-beater who has beaten me to the extent of losing two separate pregnancies?
- Must I stay with a wife who brazenly attacks me with charm and fetish substances?
- My husband is a choir master but his wickedness to me and the children is unbearable; should I continue with him?
- My husband is an elder in church but he refuses to take care of the family financial. Should I die here?
- My wife is highly paid and is richer than I; but she does not want to drop a single kobo to support the home. Should I continue with her, knowing she is wicked and evil?
The list of reasons why people want to divorce is endless. So what must you do if you fall into anyone of these categories?
In my candid opinion, when a Christian is not sure on this or any subject, he or she should choose to take the high-ground of principle over preference. Your choice should not supersede the word of God. This is a wise and safe approach.
When we insist on following the word of truth backed by sincere prayers, it will help us to come to agreement with the principle of strict and literal interpretation of the bible that marriage is God ordained “unto death do them part” (which applies to both believers and un-believers).
If you are not divorced yet but considering it, do everything you can to prevent divorce. Don’t give up on the power of prayer. Don’t give up on God too soon.
Remember too that the divorce rate for second marriages is 70% high! And for third marriages, it is even higher. This simply means divorce makes your chances of happiness get worse not better. If you want to quit your marriage and move to another presumably better one, you might just be courting more trouble for yourself.
This is also true, because the key to succeeding in marriage, which Marriage Alive preaches, is not finding the right person. It is you becoming the right person. Think about this!