Marriage: Divorce–Never!

Torn fabric

Divorce is something that is extremely common. One cannot go anywhere without meeting someone who is divorced, in the process of divorce, or thinking about getting a divorce.

Statistics of America state that about 41-50% of all marriages will end in divorce. The average length of a marriage in the United States is seven years.

In the church, the statistics may be slightly lower. Their average can be found at about 38% get divorced or are divorced already.

These statistics are just with first time divorce rates. There are many people who have been divorced more than one time.

The reason for divorce are numerous, but usually stem around the following: infidelity, lack of commitment, conflict or arguing. Many finish with reasons of infidelity, domestic violence, or substance abuse.

Abuse

With these types of statistics, divorce is a reality in this world. It is something that is found outside and inside the church. Very few people are not touched by divorce in some way or another, either they have been through a divorce or they know someone who has.

Knowing this, I want us to take a look at what the Bible says about divorce.

In the previous posts I looked at what marriage is. It is one man and one woman put together to become one (Genesis 2:22-24). Many will say that this is just the Old Testament and does not apply to us today.

The Pharisees came to Jesus asking about divorce and if it was lawful or not to do. Jesus repeats what was said in Genesis in both Matthew 19 and Mark 10. With those words that the man and woman are to become one, He also adds:

Matthew 19_6

So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate. (Matthew 19:6)

The leaders wanted to know what Jesus had to say about divorce and He tells them that it should not happen at all.

“For I hate divorce,” says the Lord, the God of Israel, “and him who covers his garment with wrong,” says the Lord of hosts. “So take heed to your spirit, that you do not deal treacherously.” Malachi 2:16 NASB

God hates divorce! It should not happen.

Why does God hate divorce? It is because He is a God of LOVE. He is Love. He wants His people to be people of love.

Divorce is not love. There is no love in divorce. There is no forgiveness. It is only hatred and selfishness. It only brings about pain and suffering for selfish reasons.

Love has absolutely no room for selfishness or hatred.

Some will say that divorce happened in the Bible and that Moses made provision for divorce. Jesus had something to say about this:

Jesus replied, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way form the beginning.” Matthew 19:8

Stone heart

It was only out of the hardness of heart that divorce was ever allowed. This, again, does not show love. Love is soft and kind.

Now I know that there are some out there saying right now that I just don’t know or understand their situation. There are some that are being verbally, emotionally or physically abused, or some combination of all three. They will say that divorce is their only way out of the situation.

I do know that abuse does occur. I agree that it is horrible and can be life-threatening. However bad a situation is does not in any way allow for divorce. The only situation that Jesus says that allows for divorce was for sexual immorality–a spouse cheating on the other spouse sexually with another person.

Even then, divorce does not have to be the answer.

Think about life as a believer. Jesus promised that there would be persecution of every believer. He never promised that following Him would be easy or fun. He only promised that it would be worth it in the end.

Think about this situation: As a believer you are persecuted and abused–physically, sexually and emotionally. Does this give you the right to strike back in anger and hate? No.

Think about Jesus. He was perfect, never did anything wrong ever. Yet, He was abused, persecuted and killed upon a cross. Jesus endured whippings and beatings and a crown of thorns put on His head. Then as He was put upon the cross, He had to endure the pain of nails being driven through His hands and feet. And He had to endure the punishment of all sins of every person for all time. Then to top it off, His Father, whom He had been with for all eternity, turned His back on Him and struck Him.

Jesus crucified

How horrible! How wrong!

Yet, as Jesus was upon the cross He prayed that the Father would forgive them because they did not really know what they were doing. He forgave them of what they had done wrong.

And the whole reason for going through all that suffering was so that you may have life and be forgiven of your sins. This is real love.

You, as a believer, are to be just like Jesus–full of love and forgiveness. If you are going through persecution as a believer, does that give you the right to deny Jesus to get out of that persecution? NO! You are expected to endure the persecution, love your enemies and forgive them, just like Jesus did with you.

No where in the Bible does it give a believer the right to sin for any reason at all. Yet, many want to divorce, just because ‘we are incompatible’ or ‘he/she is abusive’ or for some other reason. None of these hold up under the command that no one should separate what God has put together.

Marriage may or may not be easy. Guaranteed there will be times that it will be difficult. There will be times that will seem like the most horrible thing on the face of the earth. Yet, marriage is supposed to be about love. One is love the other, no matter what.

Wedding vows with ring

Going back to the vows. Many said that they accept the other ‘for better or for worse’. This is often forgotten or ignored. You promised to live together for better or for worse, now wanting to get out of that promise because something is worse. You are to keep your vows before God. He will hold you accountable for every vow you made.

The other thing to remember is that with God all things are possible (Philippians 4:13). God can redeem your marriage. He can also give you the strength to endure all of the abuse that you may be going through. He can give you the love you need to love your spouse, even when that love is not returned and hate is given.

Just as your walk with God as a believer is not always easy, you walk in marriage may not always be easy, but it is worth it to love and fulfill your vow. Who knows? God may change the heart of your spouse and bring the spouse around to change his/her ways to a way of true love.

Rough path in forest

Divorce does not allow for change. It does not allow for love. It does not allow God to be the center of one’s life. It only brings about death and separation.

Do not allow death and separation to destroy your marriage. Hang in there and trust God to turn things around. Pray daily for strength and love to keep moving forward. Trust God to make the needed changes in your life and in the life of your spouse.

Now with this being said, I will say that there may be times when a spouse may have to move out to be safe from harm. Moving out is not getting a divorce, but staying safe. It still holds on to the hope that God will turn the marriage around.

Also if your spouse is an unbeliever and wants to get the divorce, than you are free to allow the spouse to get the divorce and you are released from your vow. However, you must not be the one to initiate or choose to get the divorce. Fight for your marriage.

Prayer with bible

I will be praying for your marriage. Praying that God will be the center of both of your lives and the center of your marriage. I will be praying that God will give you strength to love your spouse no matter what happens.

Marriage: The Wife’s Role

Brides back

Thank you for continuing this look at marriage from a biblical perspective. In the past few articles we looked at what marriage is and is not, and we looked at the husband’s role in a marriage. Now I will look at the wife’s role.

In the beginning God had created the heavens and the earth. Once He had made all of the land, plants, and animals, God created man. Everything was perfect, except for one thing–man was alone. God said “It is not good for man to be alone. I will make him a helper suitable for him.” ( Genesis 2:18)

After Adam had named all of the animals, God noticed that there was no suitable helper for him. So:

So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and then closed up the place with flesh. Then the Lord God made a woman out of the man, and he brought her to the man. The man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman’ for she was taken out of a man.” That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh. Genesis 2:21-24

Bride groom on bridge

The woman was taken from man and was made his wife. She is a part of the man and he is a part of her. Once together as husband and wife, they are back together as one.

This here shows the beginning of what was later termed as ‘marriage’. At this point there is no regulation as to what a wife is to do other than be a helpmate for her husband, however, that is a large job in itself.

A helpmate is one who stands beside and helps out in any way that one can help.

Couple holding hands

When Jesus left the earth, He knew it was not good for man to be left alone, so He sent His Holy Spirit. His Holy Spirit was to come and be the helper for all men and women. He would help them become more like Jesus. He would help them have the strength to do what needed to be done. He would give them guidance as to how to accomplish God’s mission for them. He would provide the needed comfort. He was the ultimate Helper for every person. 

Not being the Ultimate Helper, the wife is a helper for the husband. She is to help her husband out to be the best that he can be. She is to help her husband out to do the job God has called him to do.

The exact help provided will change from time to time and with different circumstances. Sometimes she will help by being an encourager, other times it will be to rebuke. Other times it may be to provide direction or instruction, while other times to be comfort. All of this is done out of love.

Blocks spell love

When there is love for someone, you will want to help that person be the best he can be for God. This is not be the best he can be for the world, but for God. It is not about self, it is not about him or her, but about God.

Several thousand years later Paul wrote to the husbands and wives. To the wives he said:

Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands. (Ephesians 5:22-24 )

Many women hate this verse or try to ignore it. Many others will try to excuse this verse away. However, it does not get rid of this verse.

Every person, man or woman, is supposed to be sold out, 100% to Jesus. They are to submit to Him in every area of their lives. He is to have the ultimate say in their lives, because He is the head.

One hundred percent

But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. (Romans 6:22 )

The term ‘slave’ is a politically incorrect term to use according to people today. Yet, this is what God calls it. As a believer, you have chosen to become a slave to God. This means that you have to submit to Him in every thing, in every area of your life. God has the ultimate say in everything.

This submission, however, is done out of love, not force. This is where the slavery of this world and slavery to God is different. You must bind yourself to God out of love.

Security lock love

As a wife, you are to submit to your husband in the same way. The only way a husband does not get the ultimate say is if it goes against God’s word. Then and only then, does a wife have a way to refuse to submit to him. This should be the exception, not the norm.

Love is the motivator in all of this submission. You are to love your husband and then you will be able to submit to him, follow him, and support him. This is being the helpmeet that he needs.

When you try to do your own thing and go your own way, you are creating division and are not one. This will not allow him to follow God’s commands to be one with his wife.

There will be times when this will be easy to do and there will be times when this is extremely difficult to do. It is no different then your walk with God–easy some times, difficult other times. Don’t give up or give in, but trust in God’s strength and leading. Remember His love for you and pass that on to your husband.

Focus lens

As you focus your life on God and trust Him with your marriage and your life, He will give you the strength to submit to your husband. He will guide you in how to be the best for your husband. Together then, both of you can grow together in the Lord.

Next week I will look at the controversial topic of divorce and what the bible says about it.

Please feel free to share this with any one you know who may be able to use this. Thank you for reading and see you next week.

Marriage: The Husband’s Role

Husband wife kiss

With having established what a marriage is and what it is not, I will begin to look at the people in the marriage. The first will be the husband. I have chosen to look at the role of the husband first because it is he that the bible begins talking about first in Genesis.

After making Adam, God knew that he needed a helpmate–a wife–to help him out. God then created Eve. Immediately after giving Adam Eve God said: “For this reason a man will his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh”. (Genesis 2:24). Jesus repeats these same words thousands of years later when talking to some Pharisees about marriage and divorce (Matthew 19:5). Paul later also repeats these words in Ephesians 5:31. Being repeated several times shows that these words are important and must be heeded.

Genesis 2-24

Notice in this verse that the man and woman will become ‘one  flesh‘. This shows that in a marriage there is no longer ‘me’ and ‘you’ or ‘him’ and ‘her’. The two are together. It is not all about him, nor is it all about her. There is no selfishness allowed in a marriage.

Often men feel as that because they are to be the head of the household, they are the boss and it is all about them and their desires. They rule the wife and the household like a dictator demanding everything their way. This cannot be further from the truth of what marriage is supposed to be like.

Although God is in absolute control, He is not a God who is an extreme dictator, ruling with an iron fist. He is a God who is loving and compassionate, looking out for the best for each one He is over. Marriage is working together as one, helping each other out.

Now I shall look at just how a husband is to love his wife and treat her.

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. Ephesians 5:25-27

Paul tells the husbands to love their wives. He pushes that issue strongly and gives an example of how they are supposed to love their wives–just as Jesus loved the church.

So, how did Jesus love the church? With a perfect, self-sacrificing, undying love. Think about this for a moment. How much did Jesus love the church or people? It was while people hated Him, while they did not want anything to do with Him, while they were beating Him and pounding nails into His hands and feet that He loved them. Jesus gave Himself up for the church. He did not have to do this, but chose to do it because of His great love for the church.

Crown and nails

There is absolutely nothing that you have done that should make God love you at all. In fact, with everything you have done, you deserve God’s most extreme wrath of punishment. Yet, God loved you, Jesus loved you enough to pay the price for your sins and set you free from condemnation and judgement. This is extreme love.

Husbands you are to love your wives in this very same way.

In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church. Ephesians 5:28-29 

What does it mean then to love the wife? It is to feed and care for her. This is doing the same that every man does for himself, he feeds and takes care of himself. It is to work at meeting her needs, no matter what those needs are.

God feeds and cares for you. He provides physical food for you to eat to nourish your physical body. He also provides spiritual food to provide for your spirit and make it alive.

In the beginning God created the earth and all that is in it to provide for the physical needs of mankind. Later, Jesus died upon the cross to provide for the spiritual needs of man. God went all the way to help mankind out in every way needed and possible. There was no limit to His provision or love, both are endless, eternal.

Fresh organic vegetables in the garden

Men, instead of putting yourself and selfish desires first, put your wife first. The only one that should be before your wife in your life is God. God first, then your wife. When you put God first, putting your wife next will be easy. When you take your eyes off of God, you become selfish and putting your wife next will be nearly impossible and you will fail.

Every day you must ask yourself how you can help your wife be the best that she can be for God and others in this world. Ask yourself how you can meet her needs first, before working to meet your own needs.

The best way to do this is to seek God’s direction. God will show you how to help your wife. Then trust God to meet your needs as you trust Him to help you meet her needs. This is real love. Remember that God is all about love. God is love (1 John 4:8It is because of love that God created this world. It is because of love that Jesus died upon the cross. It is because of love that Jesus forgives us of our sins.

Hands as heart

Your marriage must be about love, not just sexual love, but true love. Love that puts the other person first. Love that is self-sacrificing. Love that is forgiving. Love that is patient. Love that is not easily angered. Love that does not remember wrongs done. Love that does not dishonor. Love that is not proud or boasting. Love that is not easily angered. Love that always protects. Love that always trusts. Love that always hopes. Love that always perseveres. Love that never fails. (1 Corinthians 13:4-8

This type of love is not easy, but it is what is best. There will be tough times. Your wife will hurt you at times. There will be challenges and disagreements. Jesus loves you even though you hurt Him at times. Every time you sin, you hurt Jesus, yet, He still loves you.

Yet, love will persevere and strive to keep going. Love will triumph in the end.

Arc De Triomphe

Men, love your wife. Love her as Christ loves you. As you love her and put her above yourself, you will have a much better marriage. You will also have a marriage that God wanted you to have.

Thank you for staying with me as I continue to look at marriage. Next week I will look at the wife’s role in a marriage.

Marriage Vows: I Do

I do

One of the things that people look forward to in going to a wedding ceremony is waiting for the marriage vows to be said. When the vows are said, it completes the marriage ceremony and the couple are then married. It becomes official.

Although there is nothing in the bible about having to say a marriage vow when one gets married, there is nothing against the bible in saying a vow. All a vow is, is making a promise. It is promising that you will do or not do something. It is committing oneself to something or someone.

In a wedding ceremony the common traditional marriage vow goes somewhat like this:

“I, ___, take thee, ___, to be my wedded husband/wife, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part, according to God’s holy ordinance; and thereto I pledge thee my faith [or] pledge myself to you.”

Some have changed the wording some, but this is the basic standard of a traditional wedding vow or promise.

Autum twigs

When you look at this vow, you will see that it covers everything possible in a marriage–better/worse, richer/poorer, sickness/health. Every marriage will go through every one of these at some point or another. It is human nature to do better or worse, be richer or poorer, and have times of sickness or good health.

Every person who goes into a marriage must realize that these things will occur. There will be times of great joy and happiness, when everything is going perfectly. There will also be times of struggle and pain. Neither one should stop a marriage.

All of these things are done because of love. The next part of the vow is to love and cherish the spouse.

Love comes from God. Remember God is love. God loves you with a perfect, undying love. That love is a love that loves you no matter what, better/worse, richer/poorer, sickness/health. There will be times of better, worse, richer, poorer, sickness and health as you walk this life on this earth. God’s love for you remains the same. He keeps His promise to love you for all eternity.

Heart padlock

The same love God has for you is to be brought into a marriage. There will be times that will be better and there will be times that will be worse. There will be times that will be richer and times that will be poorer. There will be health as well as sickness. None of these things should change a marriage and the vows to each other.

As you are going through life married and begin to face some tough times, the worse times, look back to your vow at the beginning. Think about why you were willing to say ‘I do’ to those vows. Hold on to that reason. Keep loving and cherishing your spouse, regardless of what your spouse says or does.

It will not always be easy, but then life is not easy either. Walking with God is not always easy. There are always tough choices to make. There are always difficult times to walk through when walking with God. It is a walk of faith.

Older couple walking

Your marriage is a walk of faith with God. You are trusting that your spouse will be faithful and continue to love you, just as God has faith that you will be faithful and love Him as He loves you.

When you said ‘I do’ you made a promise. Now work at keeping that promise and don’t give up.

Thank you for continuing with me on this journey at looking at marriage. Next week I will look at the husband and his responsibility in a marriage. Have a blessed marriage in our Lord Jesus Christ! See you next week as we continue this journey.

Marriage: What Is Marriage?

Wedding couple

In order to begin to look at marriage we have to start with defining what marriage is. Over history throughout the world there has been different meanings of what marriage is and is not.

While individuals and even the world as a whole defines marriage in multiple ways, there has to be an ultimate authority on what marriage is. In this study on marriage, I will be looking at it as from the viewpoint of God and the Bible. This is with the thought that God created everything. If God created everything, then He is the ultimate authority and can define everything and anything in His way.

If you take God out of the picture, then anything goes. At that point there is no real definition of what marriage is. Marriage can then become any thing a person wants it to be, there are no limits or boundaries in which one cannot cross.

Looking at the world, one can see how these boundaries have been removed and nearly anything goes. In some countries there are a few boundaries still in place, while in others, nearly every boundary has been removed. Each nation has its own set of rules and boundaries on how they define a marriage and what is acceptable and what is not.

Tangled roots

In America, many boundaries have been removed as a whole. However, in some states, some of those boundaries are still recognized and held on to, though many wish to remove all boundaries.

Marriage begins in the beginning of all creation. God had made the earth and everything in it. After making the land, seas, sky, plants, animals, birds, and fish, God made man. He made Adam to take care of this new earth He had created. Adam was the first man made.

God noticed that Adam did not have a helper to help him, so He chose to create a woman for him. At that point God created Eve, the first woman.

Notice the process that God did in making Eve. He took a rib out of Adam and created Eve. She was made different and was called by a different name.

Couple holding hands

At this point the world had its first marriage. There was no ceremony or celebration, it just became a marriage. Eve had become Adam’s wife. They become one in flesh and spirit.

This here shows that marriage is between one man and one woman. It is not between two men or two women, or between a man and child or woman and child, or even between a person and an animal. Nor is this between one man and several woman or one woman and several men. It is one to one. The world has chosen to corrupt what God has made.

If God is not in the picture, then, yes, the world has the right to define what marriage is in whatever measure they want. Without God there is no absolute authority and anything goes. However, there is a God and there will be a day of reckoning where everyone will have to give an account to what he or she did.

Over time, man has chosen to create a ceremony to establish a marriage. This is where the wedding comes in. The ceremony is not the actual creation of the marriage, but the public proclamation and recognition of what one man and one woman does.

Bride and groom

The actual marriage takes place when the man and woman choose to be together as one before the eyes of God, with or without a ceremony, and in or outside of a church, and with or without a minister. It is when they agree to say ‘I do’ to each other in their hearts and minds as one.

The wedding certificate is just man’s way of showing proof that the two are married and that both had agreed to the marriage. It is a formal way of tracking marriages. This is needed because people will lie. Later many might try to say that they had never been married, when in fact, they had been. This is just proof.

This here is just the basic beginning of what marriage is. It is the groundwork for the rest of this study. Next week I want to look more at the vows that are done in the marriage ceremony and what they can mean in a marriage. After that I will continue to look at what marriage looks like and how to make it work or destroy it. See you next week!

A New Series Study

Wedding shoes

All over the world there is one thing that every nation has–marriages. Over the years the views and the way marriage looks and is considered has changed.

Recently there has been a lot of debate about what marriage is. Every where a person looks there are people who are in marriage, but are struggling. Divorce is a common action that occurs. It is rare to meet a couple who has been married more than a few years with only one spouse.

With this in mind, I have been led by God to do a study on marriage. I want to look at what marriage is, what it is not, some things that make a marriage work, some things that will destroy a marriage, and also divorce and remarriage. In all of these questions I will strive to use scripture to back what I believe God says about marriage.

Whether you are someone who is happily married or one who is struggling in a marriage, you may find some benefit in this study. Those who are still single may learn to know what to look for and expect in a marriage.

I will say that I am no expert on marriage, nor do I have a degree that gives me any thing extra. I am just a man who has been married for over 27 years to one wonderful wife. I am also a believer in Jesus and strive to live my life the way Jesus lived His. God has given me the ability to share what He has taught me over the years through this blog and I want to share some of what I have learned or experienced in marriage.

I hope that you will join me in this journey and be willing to share it with others who may also need this information. May we all grow stronger in the Lord and in our marriages or marriages to be.

These posts will show up, Lord willing, each Monday until it is finished.

1 Corinthians 7:4 Not Your Own

 

husband and wife

The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife. 1 Corinthians 7:4

Marriage is something that God had started in the beginning of creation. However, it is something that mankind has chosen to abuse. The definition of what marriage is has changed over the years again and again. How people go into marriage is dependent upon how they see what marriage is.

In recent years, there has been a change when a couple gets married in their marriage contracts. They now put in certain stipulations that if certain things are not met, the marriage is annulled.

Each spouse now has the view that they are their own person in every way, even inside of marriage. Each has their own bank accounts, cars, jobs, friends, bills, and the list goes on. They are living in the same house, but are living separate lives.

Paul talks about how the wife is to submit herself to her husband and the husband is to submit himself to his wife. It is to submit to each other.

Submitting here is giving in to the desires of the other person, putting the other person first. It is building the other one up and seeking to meet the other’s needs first. When both are seeking to do this, both will be built up and there will be unity.

Many marriages end because one or the other, or both, are seeking one’s own desires above the other. This is not a sign of love or respect, it is selfishness and separation.

God is not a God of selfishness and separation. He wants all to be in unity and love, to be generous with each other.

If you are a married person, you are no longer your own person. You are one with your spouse. Seek to build your spouse up and meet his/her desires. Show the love that God has shown and given you. Jesus did not seek His own good when He died upon the cross, but He was seeking your good, what was good for you. Do the same for your spouse.

As you put God at the center of your marriage, you will put your spouse at the front of your marriage. Then your marriage will be stronger.

I pray today that you will know the love God has for others; that God will be at the center of your marriage; that you will put your spouse above your self; and that your marriage will be built upon God’s love and word.