By Gina Lee, Contributing Writer
The phrase “divorce is not an option” gets used a lot in Christian circles. When I hear it, I cringe a little inside. Not because I want a divorce, or have ever wanted one, or ever think it’s the right choice – but because the reality is in th world we live in, divorce is an option. From ancient times, divorce has been a part of society, and is mentioned many times in the Old Testament.
As much as I don’t want it to be, divorce is a part of my reality. My parents got a divorce when I was around 10 years old. This obviously affects who I am, and my views about marriage. When getting married in 2005, divorce was the farthest thing from my mind. I was marrying a wonderful man who has a solid foundation in Christ. What was there to worry about? Then the honeymoon ended and ‘the marriage’ began. Tough times for me! God had so much to teach me about my own selfishness, and IT WAS HARD. I didn’t like it. At all.
One night during a disagreement my husband said something to the effect of ‘divorce is not an option’. I remember looking right at him and saying “but it is.” I didn’t say this because I wanted a divorce. I didn’t. But what I was dealing with was HARD and from my experience growing up, I knew divorce was an option (not a good option, but an option). I couldn’t write it off so easily. Because I’d lived through my parents divorce, I needed to struggle with it in my own marriage. I needed to wrestle with it. And wrestle I did. Over the next few years of ‘wedded bliss’ (ha!), I wrestled and wept and pleaded with God to understand why I was struggling so much to ‘be married’. I knew divorce was bad. I even knew Jesus spoke against it as recorded in Matthew 19:
“And Pharisees came up to him and tested him by asking, ‘Is it lawful to divorce one’s wife for any cause?’ He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said,‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.’ They said to him, “Why then did Moses command one to give a certificate of divorce and to send her away?’ He said to them,‘Because of your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery.’ The disciples said to him, ‘If such is the case of a man with his wife, it is better not to marry.’ But he said to them, ‘Not everyone can receive this saying, but only those to whom it is given. For there are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Let the one who is able to receive this receive it.” ~ Matthew 19:3-12
I wondered if I was one of those people who was not to be married for kingdom reasons, but had badly messed it all up. I started thinking I had made a mistake. Maybe I wasn’t someone who could or should be married. Maybe this wasn’t what God had for me. Maybe I had misunderstood God and was now stuck. Was the rest of my life ruined?….
Looking back I can see how quickly the enemy took my insecurities and turned them into an avalanche of lies. While my mind was so caught up in thinking I had made a mistake and could no longer do God’s work, I was missing the fact that God had me right where HE wanted me. I was missing the part about being mature and growing into the largeness of marriage. But even though I was missing the point, God wasn’t. He was gently guiding me through this struggle, with me every step of the way.
I can’t tell you exactly when this struggle ended. But it did, and the truth God taught me through it is forever burned into my being. For me, it’s not, ‘divorce is not an option’. It’s ‘divorce is not MY option’. God wants me to take responsibility for my marriage. It’s not “Well, I guess this is just the way things are, because divorce is not an option.” No, God wanted me to own my marriage. He wanted me to realize that I can make or break my marriage. And by choosing to follow God, I get to call on Him to help me daily make it all He has for it to be.
In owning my marriage, the tough spots have been dramatically easier to deal with because I take responsibility to make my marriage better. I think that is God’s point. By loving & respecting my spouse, I am loving & respecting God. The more I grow in Christ, the more I grow in my marriage. Marriage is a big deal to God, part of His original design. It’s meant to be for life, and it’s meant to grow & mature for life.
If you’ve struggled, secretly or not, with thoughts of divorce, or just dissatisfaction with your marriage – I challenge you to face that struggle head on with God at your side. Search His Word and meditate on it. Talk with trusted older married Christians, or a Christian marriage counselor. Seek God’s Truth, because His Truth will set you free from the option of divorce, and that freedom is better than you could ever imagine.
**If you are struggling with divorce due to an abusive situation, please seek Christian Counseling immediately.
A note from A Biblical Marriage ~ If you want to know more about divorce, check out the following resources: We believe that God created marriage and that He intended it for life. As John MacArthur says, “Divorce in the Scripture is permitted only because of man’s sin. Since divorce is only a concession to man’s sin and is not part of God’s original plan for marriage, all believers should hate divorce as God does and pursue it only when there is no other recourse. With God’s help a marriage can survive the worst sins.” We believe that “The only New Testament grounds for divorce are sexual sin or desertion by an unbeliever.” You can read more at Divorce & Remarriage, or listen to The Divorce Dilemma or The Truth About Divorce part 1.