Many people today are struggling with either wanting to get married or wanting to get divorced. The singles are influenced by what I call the “image consultants” who cheer them into marriage by way of guilt making them feel like something is wrong with them because they are single. These people most times push and persuade them to settle for whatever is available within their immediate reach.
Then we have the married and struggling being bombarded by church folks, or folks who refuse to even try and understand their pain. These folks most times cold-heartedly yell at the top of their lungs for them to stay married because “God hates divorce”, refusing to even try and understand their pains. But if I am sold into Christianity by being told that God loves me and wants me to live an abundant life, then why would He make me live miserable and married?
Years ago I found myself asking this very question. As I sat crying holding my broken heart I asked “God, why do I have to go through this? Why can’t I just leave?” It was torture knowing that I would offend God by walking out on my marriage, but I just didn’t want to be married anymore. It was too painful! I prayed “God, if the only way out is death, please kill him so that I can be free!” Sounds cut-throat and scandalous, doesn’t it? But, that was how I felt at that time and if you can’t be honest with God, you can’t be saved for real. God won’t work-out any of our situations if we are lying to Him and at the time my pain was so bad to me that I was looking for a clean exit and the only way I saw it was based on what I was taught; til death do you part.
The more I looked at my situation, the more it broke my heart. I couldn’t bear it anymore so I did all I could to look away from it. I did my best to look to God for hope and as I redirected my attention, this pain I felt surprisingly drew me closer to God. What I found was that God will use what seems to be killing you to help draw you near to Him. Truthfully, He wants our attention in the same intensity that we want what’s breaking our hearts and so He will use that very thing as an opportunity to get it. What He did for me was make me take my hopes off of my ex-husband being all that I wanted him to be to make me feel loved and put my attention more on Him. The more I prayed or spoke to God, the more He showed Himself to be present and real in my life. I became so amazed at how when I would tell Him or ask Him something in my private prayers and then I’d show up at church service and the Pastor would be giving me my answer that eventually the pain about what I wanted or expected from my spouse didn’t bother me so much. I had become so consumed with the discovery of this new connection with God that I stopped paying so much attention to my woes and disappointments and started applying what I was being instructed to do. As of today I can say that God has been the only one ever in life that could use the hope of His written words and release them from the mouth of His servants to take my pain away once I gave Him my full attention; and I’ve given my full attention to many things in life.
Years later, after I’d received my medicinal heart treatments; God revealed clearly to me that He truly doesn’t want us unhappy. He does hate divorce, this is true, but He cares more about the persons in the marriage than the marriage itself. The thing is He honors the laws in His word and the only way for us to really get the desires of our hearts, the ones that will last forever for real, is if we delight ourselves in Him. Anything we do without Him will give us happiness temporarily, but will eventually lose its savor leaving us unsatisfied when it’s all said and done. This way of living, without God, is called “chasing a high”; one that you can never reach. Most of us don’t like to live the way God wants us to, including us Christians, because it makes us uncomfortable. But my fitness trainer told me that “change won’t happen until you get uncomfortable”!
As far as being miserably married while knowing, and caring, that God hates divorce, what people usually don’t compassionately share with you because they are so adamant on keeping you married is that God hates divorce, but He cares more about us. If He had to choose between you being at a place of suicide or homicide because of your miserable marriage, He’d prefer you to divorce. God is a lover of the soul of man more than of religious entities.
But if we get to the root problem of it all, it’s the situations WE put ourselves in that makes us unhappy. By the time we call God in to help us, we speak to Him as if He is the one that’s forcing this on us. He showed me that His word and promises are only responsible for what He does for us through our asking Him in prayer and believing and waiting in faith for it to come to pass. If we never ask Him, He won’t do it, nor is He to be held responsible for what we did.
I never prayed to God to give me my husband before I married Him, so how could I expect to get God’s promise of “happily ever after” when He was never involving with it in the first place? How could I possibly blame Him for my pain when I invited Him in the situation two years after I was in it?
Now does that mean that you can just leave your marriage after reading this and realizing you never asked God for the mate you have now? No, it doesn’t because you made a promise and God expects us to honor our promises. But it does mean that you can invite God in your situation now, ask Him for what you desire and allow Him to take you through the process to get it. He may at that point put your marriage together properly or show you His exit plan, which will not be YOU walking out on your spouse. When God takes you through a process involving marriage, He will change you first. He will cause you to be more committed to your mate as you commit to Him, more forgiving to your spouse so that you can receive His forgiveness, and more of a servant to them as you are representing them as His servant catering to them as if they are the spouse you desire whether they deserve it or not.
Your obedience in this does two things; 1) it causes you to learn how to submit to Him pass what you feel and 2) it opens the door to allow God the legal spiritual right to work in your marriage on your behalf because your obedience is saying “Lord, I trust you”. That’s why the word of God says “Obedience is better than sacrifice” because obedience itself is a sacrifice. It’s a form of praise, a Towdah praise, which tells Him “I am sacrificing myself in obedience as in agreement with you God even before you do it!” God inhabits the praises of His people. He has to inhabit you before He will work for you.
Will all of this submission and obedience from you guaranty that your spouse will change for the better? No, it doesn’t, but that’s not your concern. Your faith is in God giving you what you desire, not the “with who” and “how”. When you first start it will still hurt and bother you a bit, but the more you focus on God after time it will get better for you. Remember, you are putting your trust now in His process so you have to close your eyes and trust Him. If you don’t give up on Him, He will give you what you desire, eventually. What He’s doing is working on both you and your spouse and if for some reason your spouse refuses the change then in due season God will deliver you from your situation and bless you with a mate that is what you desire. And just because they don’t change doesn’t mean that they are a terrible person; it just means that YOU picked someone who was not willing, prepared or equipped to walk in true marriage. The thing with doing it God’s way after the fact is that you never know the outcome; sometimes they change and sometimes they don’t. But what God wants you to do is put your hope in Him, not so much your mate. He wants you to believe that He will give you what you prayed for… if you faint not.
In the scenario where your mate refuses change for the better would mean that they had been allowing Satan to work his will in them. As long as YOU have been resisting the Devil, (loving on them despite of what they did, holding in the words that you know will hurt them because they said something to hurt you, not getting even with them for something they did to piss you off…) he will flee in due season when God says “enough”. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not calling THEM Satan, but anytime a person goes against God’s move, they are promoting Satan’s ways and his ways are classified as ‘rebellious’. Because they are being rebellious, they will be the one to do the fleeing. They are also the one who will be responsible for the divorce because they have abandoned you. To abandon someone or something means to refuse to care for something you are responsible for.
God will make THEM walk away from the marriage because they would have proven to be the “unbeliever”. If you’ve read your bible you would know that if an unbeliever decides he or she does not want to dwell with a believer then they are free to release them and marry a believer. If God were to leave you in a marriage where your spouse has rejected to change but you haven’t, then He would be a God that cannot deliver and He’s not going to mess up His reputation! Just make sure to do your part so that He can do His.
Please don’t be deceived, a person can be a Christian and really love God, but still be considered an unbeliever in certain areas of their life. God works on us piece by piece. He may need to work on us with being good stewards over our money, appreciating good relationships, dealing with our bad attitudes, our procrastinations that seem to cause others to always get involved and/or be inconvenienced …and for some areas it’s just hard for us to let go of certain things. Sometimes the benefits in marriage limit God from working on things in a person’s life. He may need to lead a person into singleness to bring their finances down a bit because that is what will get them to give up being stingy. When they were married, they were comfortable with the finances and so there was no reason for them to change that part of them. And if God dealt with them concerning this issue in the marriage while you are doing your part, to break your finances would mean you’d have to go through that, too. So by allowing that spouse to leave a marriage to deal with their issue, may be necessary. Otherwise, you’d have to suffer more than you needed to.
It may be that your ex-spouse having to ask others for help after your divorce is what is needed to cause them to become more generous. Life experiences are what help shape us and if people haven’t experienced certain things yet, this can hinder healthy marriages. That’s why it’s good to ask and wait on God because He sees more than we do. Just like a parent with more than one child, a process will cause one kid to do one thing, but to get that same change in the other, it may take something else. Remember, this Christian walk is a process. We don’t change everything overnight.
Now, what does this information do for the singles wanting to get married? It should tell you to:
Pray and ask God for your mate before you do anything. Don’t let people talk you into or pick your mate because then it’s what they put together and not what God did and He’s not responsible for that. I call it the Rumpelstiltskin deal. You’ll be sold on the few things that look as though it will relieve your immediate urges but you will not be able to see what’s in the fine print which will take the fun out of even what made you buy into it in the first place. The bad thing is you are the one that will have to live with the decision, not whoever sets you up.
Make sure you are allowing God to work on you while you wait. He won’t send you a perfect mate, but give your mate a jacked-up you.
Be specific. God doesn’t want you just praying for a husband or a wife. Plus, being too vague will give Satan room to trick you into something terrible. God is a God that likes to show off. He makes dreams out of impossible scenes. So write the vision and make it plain, that way you will know for sure that it was God who really did it for you.
Wait on God. Don’t get discouraged and don’t settle for something that is close to what you prayed for; that’s not how God works. He does exceedingly, abundantly, above all we can ask or think so if you are considering a marriage partner and saying to yourself “Well, nobody is perfect!” you are settling and you WILL be disappointed later. And if for some reason something comes your way that is ALMOST what you prayed for, please wait! That means that the real thing is close. Satan always shows up right before God is about to move!
And for those of you that don’t want to be bothered with marriage and believe that the single life is for you until the day you enter into paradise, then you continue to submit to God as man was not meant to be alone. All Christians are to be married to Christ and so that means you are to be married only to Him and Him alone. May the force be with you…!
I pray that this encourages you wherever you find yourselves today.