By Darlene Glasglow, Contributing WriterNot all marriage stories read like a fairy-tale. Many love stories, like my own took a rough, winding, broken road before finally reaching the destination where God could bless me with a godly, biblical marriage. My husband and I have similar past histories. We each traveled a road filled with broken relationships and broken promises before we allowed God to direct our paths.
Because we serve in ministry, some are surprised to learn that this is not our first marriage. I’m actually glad that people are surprised. I don’t want anything about our marriage to reflect the brokenness of our past. I only want others to see that we have a godly marriage and a loving relationship that reflects Christ.
Most people do not enter marriage thinking that someday it will end in divorce. Divorce is certainly not part of God’s plan and it was not something that I ever thought I would experience. Although, my husband I have both had previous marriages to end in divorce, we would never suggest this path as an option to anyone going through marital difficulties. The Bible clearly teaches against divorce except in the case of sexual immorality.
“But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, makes her the victim of adultery, and anyone who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.” ~ Matthew 5:32
However, just because the Bible allows for divorce because of adultery, it doesn’t mean that divorce should be the only option. God can and will restore marriages damaged by infidelity if both partners are willing to submit fully to Christ. God does forgive the sin of adultery and He also forgives those of us who have sinned through divorce. God’s grace is sufficient to forgive any sin and to heal and restore lives damaged through the consequences of sin.
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” ~ 1 John 1:9
We often hear it said that, “sin is sin”, meaning that one sin is no different from any other. This is true. We should repent of all sin, whether it is something as common as telling a lie or speaking harshly to someone or something much more serious, such as sexual immorality or causing harm to someone. God will forgive us of the more serious sins just as quickly as He forgives our little “white lies”. However, the consequences of sins such as adultery or choosing to divorce are usually much more serious than that of the “white lie”. Divorce not only damages the lives of the couple who choose to sever their marital bond, but it also effects the lives of all those connected to the couple through this marriage. If there are children involved, divorce can have a life-long impact on them. Divorce adds many complications involving family, former in-laws, mutual friends, joint property, and mutual social institutions, such as church. When two lives have been joined together as one, it is a difficult and painful process to sever that bond. The marriage bond was never meant to be broken, so of course when this happens, it causes damage.
“What therefore God joins together, let not man put asunder” ~ Matthew 19:6
In spite of all the pain, guilt and complications associated with divorce, it is still prevalent among non-Christians and Christians alike. As I’ve said, my husband and I both had a previous marriage to end in divorce and we have had to deal with the consequences and the effects of that decision. The good news is; God is in the business of forgiving sin and restoring broken lives. God has forgiven us for our past decisions and blessed us with a wonderful, godly marriage. Although we have been together for 10 years, we are still “divorcees”. The sin is washed away but we can’t erase the experience. However, God does use our past experiences to shape us and many times he uses them to minister to others. God has placed my husband and me in ministry together. We served for 8 years as missionaries in Central America and we are now seeking God for direction for ministry opportunities here in the United States. God has used our journey on a broken road to bring us to a place where He can use us to build His Kingdom. You can read a little more about my personal experience with divorce in another article that I wrote called, “Damaged by Divorce & Restored by Grace”.
If you too, have already suffered the pains of divorce, I want you to know that there is life after divorce and there is Kingdom work for you to do. Allow time for the healing first and then God will help you find your place of service.