“But to the married I give instructions, not I, but the Lord, that the wife should not leave her husband (but if she does leave, she must remain unmarried, or else be reconciled to her husband), and that the husband should not divorce his wife.” – 1 Corinthians 7:10-11
Today, we’re talking about hanging in there in a tough marriage—knowing that so many of you are struggling in your marriage. And even for those who are blessed with an incredibly healthy marriage, we have family members, we have friends, we have associates that are struggling in their marriages. God’s Word shares a very encouraging Word about hanging in there in a tough marriage.
Some of you are already divorced. Some of you are wondering if it’s coming in your life. There are thousands of reasons for divorce, and the bottom line behind all those reasons is no one wants to spend the rest of their life in an unhappy marriage. Happiness is so engrained in the American psyche. Thomas Jefferson saw to that — the pursuit of happiness has become ingrained in the American DNA.
But what God desires for every Christian (and I realize not all of you are) who is married to be committed in love to their spouse, as Christ is to His bride, the church. This love it not just a feeling. It is much more than romance or sex. It is a commitment, no matter what, even when our spouse disappoints us or us or we disappoint them. True love is an act of the will. This may shock you, but God is far more concerned with our love than with our happiness. And even though that is radically contrary with tradition, God is concerned with our love for Him and our spouse most of all.
If you’re struggling in your marriage—hang in there. As hard as it is to hear, it’s not just about you. It’s all about God and your love for Him, including children in most cases, who are always victimized in divorce. Seek the Lord’s help. Pray with all your heart. Seek the counsel of a Christian counselor or minister. Find a support group of Christian friends to be there with you. You may even have to have a time of temporary separation, because things are so tense that the only hope of even having a shot at reconciling your relationship is a time of temporary separation. This is not to be preparation for divorce, but for the purpose of being reconciled. Claim the power of God that is way beyond yourself. It’s what God desires.
And yet sometimes it still doesn’t work. Obviously, Jesus allows for divorce in cases of sexual unfaithfulness, and desertion. When that happens, ask God to help you forgive and ask Him to forgive you for any way you have fallen short. All of us have fallen short. God loves you. He always will. He’ll never desert you.
Claim the love of God, regardless of your circumstances.