5 Tips for Christians Considering Divorce

by David Peach on May 28, 2012 · Print Print · Email Email

It is a heartbreaking thing to have friends and family members who are going through divorce. Maybe you and your spouse are the ones considering a divorce and are looking for help. I hope that the information in this article can be a help to you or your friends.

If you are going through a strained relationship you may find the stress and emotional anguish difficult to bear. There are long-lasting and far-reaching effects that need to be considered before making life-changing decisions. However your ability to think clearly and rationally about the future is often clouded by the emotional trauma you are experiencing.

The information in this article is intended for Christian couples that are struggling with non-life threatening relationship issues. If you are in an abusive marriage where one of the spouses, or worse yet, children, could become physically harmed then you should get the law involved in protecting the family.

Laying aside physical abuse and unrepentant sexual immorality, let’s look at 5 tips for Christians who are considering divorce and see if God can help you find a way to save your marriage. Because you are reading this article I assume you have some desire to keep your marriage together. I trust that you will seriously consider your alternatives and use these suggestions to bring your spouse close to you once again.

Christians considering divorce

There are long-lasting and far-reaching effects that need to be considered before making life-changing decisions.

Pray

Please pray. Don’t neglect this. Pray that God will give you wisdom in your relationship (James 1:5). Pray for your spouse. Pray that God will give you love for him or her again (1 Corinthians 13). If you don’t maintain your relationship with a perfect and loving God during this critical time, what hope do you have for maintaining a relationship with a spouse who is an imperfect sinner like yourself?

You may find that it is hard to pray right now. Reading your Bible may become very difficult. Rarely do marriages struggle where only one partner is to blame for all the problems. It may be true that your spouse carries much of the fault, but your bitterness and pride is probably what is hindering you from wanting to even talk with the Lord. Are you afraid that He will show you sin and improper behavior in your own life?

During this time of great difficulty you should actually pray that God does reveal your faults. You absolutely cannot change your spouse. Only God and your partner can do that. You should pray for them, but spend more time praying that God will change you and make your relationship with Him stronger and better. As a result of building a better relationship with God you will invariably build a better relationship with your mate.

Remember

What brought you two together 10 years ago? What was the big attraction to him or her when you first started dating that summer? Those qualities are probably still there you just have to look for them. It is possible that he or she has changed since those innocent days. Why? Is it because you have changed in such a way that you no longer bring out those qualities in your spouse? Maybe you have nagged them so much to change through the years that when they finally did, you buried that quality you fell in love with.

I am reminded of a cartoon I saw recently where a young couple fell madly in love. After they were married she nagged him to change the style of shirt he wore. He did. She complained about the way he wore his hair. In an effort to please her, he changed that too. She asked him to change various things about his actions and appearance. He continued to change for her sake. In the end she filed for divorce stating that he was no longer the man she fell in love with years before.

The cartoon was written to comically illustrate what happens to many couples. But you may feel a twinge of guilt if you are the one who coerced your mate into making changes they did not want to make.

Try to remember those early days when you first fell in love. If you built your relationship on the right things then those qualities are still inside your spouse. However, if you built your relationship purely on a physical attraction you have to remember that you don’t have the body of a 20-year-old any more either. Jumping out of one relationship to find another physically attractive person will end the exact same way.

Find, or bring out again, the qualities in your spouse that you loved so much. They are still there. You had the power to reveal those before you were married, you can do it again.

Though we say it all the time, you did not really “fall in love.” You grew together in a relationship. Your love was planted, grew and blossomed over time. You also don’t fall out of love. It is crazy to think that you do. If you no longer have the love you once had for them it is because you have made decisions that have pushed you to growing out of love, not falling there.

Be the Kind of Person You Want to Live With

Have you stopped to consider how you are acting towards your spouse? If he or she acted like you are acting towards them, would you want to be married to you? You should model the type of behavior you expect. I know this is the type of thing parents are told in relationship to their children, but you should act properly toward you spouse as well. Do you go to church on Sunday with a smile, a Bible and all your memory verses learned and then can’t wait until you get out of the church parking lot to start yelling at your spouse? You may put up a nice front with other people, but your spouse has to live with you.

Ephesians 5:22-33 are probably not your favorite verses in the Bible at this time of your life. It commands husbands to love their wives. Wives are told to submit to their husbands. Both of these statements are not conditional on the other person’s actions. Wives should submit whether their husband loves or not. Husbands should love whether their wife submits or not. Don’t look at what your spouse’s responsibility is, focus on what you are to do. Men, become the husband that loves in such a way that your wife wants to submit and reverence him. Ladies, become the wife that makes it easy for your husband to love because you are living in obedience to the commands of God.

Communicate

Remember when you actually communicated with one another and didn’t yell? I know you may be saying that you really can’t remember the last time you communicated. But there was a time that you did. Otherwise you would not have gotten married. As a dating couple you looked forward to dropping off your little brother so you could be alone with the one you loved. Your friends from high school and college, whom you vowed you would never abandon, got ditched as soon as your spouse came into your life. You found ways to be together so you could talk even when you didn’t have time in your busy schedule.

You may be finding ways to avoid one another lately. Do you take the long way home from work so you don’t have to face the tension? Remember it takes two people to argue. If you will just admit you are sorry for the way you have been acting you could diffuse some of the tension. There is no reason for you to pretend the sinful actions of your spouse don’t exist; however, you can admit your own pride and faults. You may find that your arguments will cease as soon as you take the time to tell them you are sorry.

Attack the problem together. Don’t try to win an argument just to have another notch in your belt. You can both win if you will try and solve the problem together and stop trying to have a better argument than the other person.

It is said we communicate on five different levels. The first is casual and trivial things. This includes the weather, bus schedules and sports scores. Secondly we move to factual information. This is when one person dispenses information like at a lecture. There is usually little passion and the parties are emotionally disconnected. When you move to the third level you are talking about ideas and philosophies. You begin to share things that open you up to being vulnerable because the other person might disagree with you. When you begin to share emotions, dreams and fears you have moved to the fourth level. This is where couples get to in their conversations before they get married. They may or may not move to the fifth level which is a state of total and absolute openness where everything is shared.

Where are you in these five levels of communication? Have you begun to slip backwards on the scale? If you are having trouble in your marriage you may be back to level two or one. Open yourself up and work towards sharing some dreams again.

Live Pleasing to the Lord

Your relationship with God should be your first priority. I know this goes hand in hand with the first point about praying, but this is so critical. When God is first in your life He will help you work out your other priorities. Live a life that is pleasing to Him and He will help clear up your emotion-filled mind so that you can see things from a higher perspective.

If you are in tune with the Lord and your spouse is in tune with the Lord, then you will be in tune with one another. Just because people are Christians does not mean they will never disagree with one another. However, if they will both live in agreement and obedience to the Lord, then they will be in agreement with each other. The Jesus in you will not fight with the Jesus in your spouse.

Your marital problems should be seen as a spiritual issue. You may see your anger over your spouse spending too much money at the grocery store or working too long at the office as a physical one, but you should consider it a spiritual battle to be fought together. Ask the Lord to help you both stand together and attack the problems in your marriage.

If you are not willing to take your marital problems to the Lord then you are admitting that you are part of the problem and not willing to find a solution. Admit that to God and your spouse. Ask forgiveness from your partner and God. Then between the three of you I am certain a solution will present itself.

Have you and your spouse come back from marital problems? Please share in the comments below how God gave you victory. I know this type of topic can be very emotional to discuss. If your marriage ended in divorce anyway, please keep your comments spirit filled. It helps no one to be unkind in a discussion like this.

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{ 226 comments… read them below or add one }

Jennifer June 12, 2014 at 6:15 am

Is anyone out there after all this time? I’m seeking advice about my third marriage (not a joke) that is not going well. I’m confused, lonely and in need of someone to listen. Thank you.

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Jack Wellman June 12, 2014 at 8:36 am

Hello Jennifer. I am not the author of this fine article but have done marital counseling. Have you spoken with your own pastor about this yet? If so, what did he say? If not, why not? We have an article that is about what are biblical grounds for divorce at this link: http://www.whatchristianswanttoknow.com/reasons-for-divorce-what-does-the-bible-say/

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Jennifer June 12, 2014 at 10:02 am

Hello Mr Wellman. I thank you for your response and consider it an answer to my prayer. I do not have a home church therefore not a pastor to speak with at this time. I appreciate the link.

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John June 27, 2014 at 8:51 pm

Jennifer. Your plea for help intrigues me. Not having all the information about your situation, there seems to be an underlying issue. I’m married 45 years and have known my spouse for 50 years. The sanctity of marriage is not all hearts and flowers. It’s almost a daily challenge to keep it rolling along to being content with a partner in life. You are reaching out for help, so let it rip.. I am willing to listen.

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Jennifer June 28, 2014 at 7:50 am

John, thank you for your interest. I’ll start off by saying that the prayers of Pastor Jack and others have made an impact since my orginial comment. I’m humbled by it actually. As I said above, I’m married for the third time, and my husband is a non believer which is difficult to say the least. In the course of two divorces, four children and years of pain and suffering of broken families I’m often prone to leave this marriage and live as a single woman. God has been faithful in righting the wrongs in my life and as I’ve moved forward through the years the Lord has put His healing into place in my family. Having been married for the third time, I’m well aware marriage isn’t hearts and flowers but I learned it too late to save my children from the effects of divorce. My third husband isn’t the father of my grown children, he’s a good provider and protector, but our marriage has no spirituality so in fact, I live all of the mundane, everyday aspects of the relationship but my husband doesn’t know the Lord which makes for conflict. My husband is not a bad person, he lives for himself, his work, our home and extended families and we have more of a room-mate relationship for most of our eight year marriage.

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Jack Wellman June 28, 2014 at 10:00 am

Jennifer, thank you so much for this very encouraging comment. You have been blessed by God and none of us have any right to cast stones, me above all and if I do, it would have to be aimed at myself. My prayers are no better than anyone elses for sure but we do know who deserves all glory for it is in the Mighty Name of which we pray that is glorified and that is Jesus Christ our Lord.

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Jennifer June 28, 2014 at 1:32 pm

Pastor Jack, your prayers mean everything to me! The Lord is my shepherd but sometimes I need a bit of herding here on earth. Pastor, from what I’ve read in your articles and your comments, full of promise and discernment I can trust you as a man of God. I’m sure it’s not surprising to you how many women have never known a true Chrisitan man in their lives. Ever. I had a great family growing up but not strong convictions in my immediate family, I’m not bashing but having a Christian earthly father changes everything for young children. Therefore, with three marriages, two divorces, four children, two grandchildren, stepchildren ect..I’m striving to be a Godly woman. Also many, many women are decieved by so-called Christian men, as husbands, fathers, pastors, employers and so on. I was a victim numerous times. I write these because I feel it’s important. I’m letting God do what He will and I will wait, pray and believe in my current marriage. Praise the Lord who redeems and delivers me on a daily basis. Pastor, you are more of a blessing than you know…

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Jack Wellman June 28, 2014 at 2:16 pm

Thank you so much Jennifer. I don’t know if I am much of a man of God that you believe I am but I believe in a God-Man Who is alone worthy of praise and all glory and if there be any thanks, we can thank God and our prayers are only as powerful or effective as the God we pray to and the Mighty, glorious Name in Whom we pray and that is The Great Glorious Son of God, Jesus Christ to Whom I so long to see and fall before Him someday in worship. I am sure to see you there.

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Wendy June 29, 2014 at 9:07 am

I have read this article and am at a decision point. I have been married to my husband for 17 years, we have two teenage daughters. When we were married, we were both 20 years old with a 1 year old daughter. I think we were both in love, although now hindsight tells me differently. My husband uses to wreak of smoke early in the marriage, but his father smoked in his home so anyone who visited him would smell that way. It wasn’t until about 9 months into the marriage that I realized my husband had been hiding the fact that he smoked as well. When confronted, I was told that he didn’t want to tell me because he knew I hated smokers. Then I discovered that he used marihuana. His father died of esophageal cancer just after our first anniversary, and he told me that some if his friends were trying to help him “ease the pain with a joint.” So stupidly I believed him. Now here we are nearly tenth years later and I’m still being lied to. He hides it, has several people that he buys from, the latest one is a neighbor across the street from us who happens to be a registered sex offender. This scares me and makes me certain that I must do something. I value my for better, for worse vow, but I have to protect my children. He has graduated from college, has a Master’s degree but lacks the drive to really aim for a job that makes more than 20k a year. I make 65k and I believe that because I pay for most things, he knows he can spend at least 400 a month on smoking cigarettes and marijuana. This tends to always start disagreements between us, and he will apologize and promise, but then I find leftover remnants or see messages from his dealers. How do I cope? I love him, but it is hard to focus on moving forward.

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Jack Wellman June 29, 2014 at 12:43 pm

Hello Wendy…I am glad you love him because love is less a feeling but more about action like Jesus displayed His love for us by dying for us…not by what he felt. As you probably know, there are no biblical grounds here for divorce so let me say this. I would talk to your pastor about what this and wonder if you have talked with him yet or at all.

This man sounds like he is not saved, from your description of him and so we should pray for the Holy Spirit to convict him of his sins, to come to repentance, and trust in Christ. He sounds lost because if you read 1 John chapter 3 I see no evidence of his not continuing in sin and if a person continues in sin and does not stopped, then it appears that he is not saved. I will pray for you and pray that God humbles your husband thru circumstances because God resists the proud and but gives grace only to the humble and by his drug addiction, he is also a law breaker. I see him as a sinner, drug abuser, not motivated to support his family and the Bible says that if a husband/father doesn’t provide for his family, he is worse than an infidel (unbeliever) in 1 Tim 5:8.

God alone knows the future, so let’s pray for this man’s soul for he faces a terrible eternity without Christ someday (Rev 20) but not so with you (Rev 21, 22). Live with the end in mind, pray for God to convict and convert his heart (Prov 21:1) which He can do, talk to your pastor and see if he will go as well, if he even attends church…do you? and I know of many who are subscribed to this article that I can almost guarantee that they will be praying for you too….give it time, prayer, counsel with the pastor, and leave the results up to God and rest and trust in Him (Psalm 37). I wish I could help you more and these are times when I feel so helpless but when we are knocked down, we are already in the best position…of saying to God in prayer, “God I cannot do anymore, I leave this up to You for only You can work a miracle in this man’s life. God doesn’t help those who help themselves, God helps those who cannot help themselves. That is you right now.

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Wendy July 2, 2014 at 6:56 pm

Pastor Wellman,
Thank you so much for the quick response. Judging from your questions, there are a few more details that I should have included. We do go to church, my husband now teaches Bible Study. I do not attend because with him being the teacher I just can’t sit there and listen and participate. He asked today, just before leaving, why I am unable to support his teaching bible study. He asked, in so many words, if it was because he always lied to me and deceived me by always making promises about his drug usage and irresponsible habits. I said that it was likely that reason, and his reply was that Abraham was a liar too, so would I not listen to his teaching either? Now I am not as “knowledgeable” of bible passages, stories, and people as he is, but I believe that I have a moral blessing to know when something or someone just doesn’t seem right to me. My conscious guides me to do what is right. He constantly quotes bible verses and seems to always have a “biblical” defense to everything. I mean everything, even marijuana, claiming that it is from the earth and since it is seeded then God says that it is OK. I found that what he said about Abraham being a liar was not true if you read the entire passage, not just the verse about him telling Sarah to claim that she is his sister instead of his wife, because she was indeed his sister. That is what I fear in him teaching others. I also fear him leading by example even if it is subconscious and unintentional.

I have taken your instruction to turn it all over to God. I know that he specializes in miracles, and I believe that these trials are just a test of my faith.

Thank you for your time.

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