Throughout the course of our lives, most of us will walk through seasons of hardship. I have a friend who is going through such a season right now, as her marriage is going in a direction that she never thought she would see. She is a Christian, she married a Christian, and she never imagined that such great trials would impact her marriage—but here she is, contemplating a divorce.
During a recent phone call, she said words that broke my heart: she told me she felt as though I was the only person cheering for her marriage. She explained that she has godly friends (I know many of them, so I can attest to the truthfulness of this), but many of them are tired of seeing her in pain and have become comfortable with the idea of divorce as the remedy to her current situation.
Maybe you, too, find yourself entertaining these thoughts. Things are more difficult than you ever thought they would be and closing this chapter in your life seems more logical than staying married. Many Christians have a more tolerable view of divorce because they have experienced it through friends or family members. The frequency of divorce in our country can make it seem like divorce may not be as bad as you thought. It can even appear to be a comfortable option.
But, dear sister in Christ, I want to urge you to stay and fight for your marriage, even if your friends are giving up for you.
The Bible is clear that God hates divorce and never wanted it for His chosen people. Divorce was given to the Jews as a concession because of their hard hearts. While God allows divorce in two circumstances (sexual immorality and an unsaved spouse wanting a divorce), it is clear throughout Scripture that divorce is not what He wants for His children. When life and theology collide, we can find hope in trusting that the Author of Life wrote both these commands and the ending to our individual stories.
Several years ago a friend walked through a similar valley. Early in her marriage, she discovered an addiction in her husband’s life. This discovery led to years of fighting for her marriage. She pursued counseling, even when her husband was not interested. She did everything within her power to become the wife God had called her to be and to make herself ready for the reconciliation she prayed they would one day experience. Three years later God softened both of their hearts in a way that was far beyond our greatest hopes. Their marriage has been restored and they are serving the Lord together with greater fervor because of what God has brought them through.
I hope you get goose bumps thinking about how great our God is that even salvaging this season is completely within His realm of work! No one asks to walk through these awful days, but we can marvel at God’s sustaining grace in the lives of those who decide to stay, even when conventional wisdom says to run.
The truth is that our happiness is not promised anywhere in God’s Word. The results of Eve biting into that fruit in the Garden of Eden mean that work is hard, death is sure, and we live in a broken world. Of course, I would like to enjoy happiness in my marriage, but it is not something that God or any person owes me. The Old Testament prophet Hosea was directly instructed to marry a prostitute and have kids with her. Hosea knew that his wife would be unfaithful and that his marriage would be hard, but he knew that the goal of his life was not happiness, but rather, obedience. If God could sustain him through a perpetually unfaithful spouse, I know He is big enough to sustain you through the circumstances of your broken marriage.
God can equip you to endure this season, just as He did for Hosea. You are called to fight for restoration, even if you are as tiny and unqualified as David facing Goliath. Romans 12:18 tells us to do everything within our power to live peaceably with everyone, and if God has called you to this monumental feat, you know He will give you the strength you need to accomplish it. His power is made perfect in our weakness; His grace is perfectly all that we need and exactly the right amount every day. Considering today’s trials in comparison to eternity can help us to endure even the longest of battles. Fix your eyes on the bigger picture and trust in God’s power to sustain you each day.
I know that you may be sitting deep in the pit of betrayal, rejection, loneliness, insecurity, or more, but, dear wife, I am not the only one who sees you there, God does, too. He sees your heartache and pain and He is working through every bit of it to accomplish His plan for your life. Keep fighting. Dig your heels in and stand strong on the truths of God’s Word. I am cheering for you. I am on the sidelines, hair dyed with Kool-Aid, a giant banner with your name on it, screaming my lungs out because I know that God can salvage even your marriage. I know that God’s strength can get you through this season, too.