No-fault divorce has had a devastating effect on our culture. For decades now, one spouse has been able to unilaterally destroy their marriage, family and children. The marriage contract is the only contract in America that doesn’t mean anything. In no other contractual agreement, can one person walk away without repercussions. You can’t even break a contract with a plumber or a cell phone company without paying a penalty! Not so with marriage — one spouse can just walk away and the other one has no legal grounds to stop it, even if he or she doesn’t want the divorce. Sadly, this is the case in far too many divorces.
There are some possible solutions to this troubling problem. People and groups such as Mike McManus and his organization Marriage Savers are advocating changes in laws to eliminate no-fault divorce. Additionally, some states now have what is called covenant marriage. This is an option where when you marry you sign a covenant that requires pre-marital counseling and it also makes a divorce more difficult to obtain. Essentially, you choose to say “no” to the option of no-fault divorce. This way it takes more than just one spouse deciding that he or she isn’t happy and walking away to end the marriage. I highly recommend that all states lobby for such an option, because it would give the Church a lot more power to wield against no-fault divorce than we realize!
Think this through: 90% of marriages are performed in a church. Currently in most churches people can get married with nothing required for them. What if the Church began to build a new standard among people of faith? We need to start telling couples you can’t be living together, you have to go through pre-marital counseling, you have to sign a covenant and agree to counseling when things get tough. That way when people come to a church and want to get married, we can say: we’ll only marry you if you choose covenant marriage. Besides, it’s a free country and if you don’t want to get married under a covenant, then go to Vegas or the justice of the peace. But, if you want to get married in a church now it means something. We could virtually eliminate no-fault divorce because the church has the upper hand.
But we must have the option of the covenant where you just can’t walk out in the marriage if you feel like it. There may be divorce because of adultery or abuse, but honestly, most marriages don’t end for those reasons. Most end because one just doesn’t want to be married anymore, or they say it’s irreconcilable, or one leaves because the other spouse isn’t meeting their emotional needs or their pets don’t get along. People leave for the dumbest reasons and pay a really high price… and sadly for children, they pay an even higher price.
Most marriages can be saved, but not in the situation where one person walks out and the other one has no say. If Christians were really smart, this is a battle that we would be fighting for when it comes to marriage. We have more power to change the culture and preserve marriages and families than we think.
I agree. I have been married now for nearly 11 years. My husband and I married four months (in a church) after we met— No time for live-ins. We had so many trials, I always say that if we were dating, we would have run our separate ways. Getting married early didn’t contribute, living under the same roof “after” the wedding and knowing that to divorce would be relatively simple did.
Divorce has been commercialized and simplified to a state of remedial inconvenience that can easily be supportively reversed. Where is all of this support and strategy to maintain the marriage.
True, we are all adults, but let’s be real, these days divorce is considered to merely be a “phase”. The other day while entering a grocery store, I couldn’t help but notice—to my amazement, a new magazine entitled “Divorce”. It entells support resources for getting a divorce, glorifying of the wonderful rebirth after divorce, and support resources for dating!!!! SAY WHAT?
Blaise Sedney says:
Could we actually have a couple sign a legally binding contract that would stipulate the same things that are in a marriage covenant if our state does not have that type of law. Maybe there could be a national sample contract drawn up for all churches to use. So that couples will not church shop.
What about the situation when you’ve been married for 17 years with 3 kids under 12. My husband has ignored our marriage and me for the last 10 years. I have tried everything…making myself more intersting, being passive and accepting, 2 marriage counselors with the last one being for 2 years, and meetings with our pastor. There are obviously deep rooted issues that need to be addressed, yet he refuses to even acknowledge or admit any of the issues. Due to the negativity, lying, and manipulation on his part, both the pastor and the marriage counselor have admitted that leaving may be the best of two tough choices. The kids go to bed in tears. My daughter has asked multiple times for me to ‘make it better’. While I take marriage vows very seriously, I take even more seriously what I am teaching my children. They are learning from this dysfunctional marriage, how to treat a wife, and what marital relationship is supposed to be like. They DO learn by example, not by what you tell them. I cannot fix a marriage by myself. I too say I do not support divorce. Please tell me how to survive and teach my children otherwise.
There is no easy advice for your situation, and to say that prayer is the answer seems very ‘pat’ and uncaring. But have to tell you that’s what worked for me.
Five years ago, I was in the exact same situation. We had been together for 11 years, kids ages 2 and 4, seeing a counselor as well as the pastor, had spiritually mature friends mentoring, etc. It seemed like nothing would ever make it work. I too struggled with the idea that we were setting the WRONG example for our kids, and they were unhappy. I also had several unbelieving friends/family members telling me to just leave. I was so confused!
I did make the decision to move me and the two kids in with my mom. What a DISASTER! Yet at the same time it was a blessing in disguise. I wasn’t proud of the fact that I did that, but at the time I thought it was the only option. I knew that this was not God’s way of handling the situation and I felt guilty about putting the kids through all of this. They were still unhappy, only now about different things. We fought over who should have them and when and what to do when they were the other parent, etc.
Not that I hadn’t already been praying about it, but I really felt God was telling me to go back and make it work. But I didn’t know how. I had read in a book about praying for those who harm you and drive you crazy – but there’s a catch – you pray for them in a different way. We aren’t supposed to pray for them to change, even though they may be at fault. We are to pray for God to change us to be able to tolerate them! I thought, “Why should I have to change and accept their behavior?!” “That’s not fair!” But at this point, what did I have to lose.
I learned that we are to seek God and ask him to show us the faults in us. And I found a few I must admit! Then ask God to give us the power to change those things and pray for guidance as to what to do next. By praying for my husband to be a better husband, I wasn’t taking any of the blame. By praying for God to show me how I could be a better wife, I was at least taking responsibility for my own actions. So I focused on this and not the things my husband WASN’T doing. I focused on being obedient to God and keeping the family together and then trusting that He would take care of the rest. I decided to come back after 4 months of being seperated, even though nothing had been resolved and we were still not getting along. At least I knew I had made the decision that pleased God. (although my flesh was screaming “NO, don’t go back!”)
Now it didn’t just get fixed the very next day, but little by little I was noticing changes in my husband. As long as was doing what I knew to be right in God’s eyes, He would convict my husband in His time and manner. I began to see a different side of him that I had never been open to seeing before. Within a few short months, we were closer than we had ever been, even while dating! Things were just different somehow. For the better. And it’s because for the first time ever, we BOTH had put God at the center of our marriage. Since then, we have been happily married and the wounds have been healed. There may be a small scar left here or there, but those are just reminders of the miracle God worked in our really messed up lives.
So if I could encourage you to not give up and keep on praying, that’s what I would do. I know it sounds easier said than done, but I’ve been there. Trust in God to be there for you. He loves you no matter what! God Bless
Thank you Renee for sharing what worked for your marriage. I too have been praying for God to “make me ok while He is working out the issues” with my wife. What I wasn’t doing until after she left was praying for God to heal me and show me what I needed to change to get closer to Him. I asked God to show me what I needed to do so that I would be a Godly husband for her and a Godly father to my girls.
You gave me confirmation that I am now on the correct path for healing and reconciliation in our marriage. What I still have to do is to be willing to take her back as she is and allow God to heal and deliver her in His time.
Thanks for taking the time to minister to others with your testimony.
God Bless you,
Renee, you said it beautifully. I have been married 23 years. My husband left 2 years and 2 months ago. We are still married. He is still gone. It’s been a long road. I have had to learn to pray differently. I no longer pray for him to come home. I pray that the Lord will work in his life as well as mine and I truly believe that my desires line up with the will of God, therefore, I will receive the desire of my heart… which is the covenant marriage. There’s just this thing about free will that gets in the way. So how long do I wait? For as long as it takes. For those times when I really don’t knwo what to pray, Stormie Omartian has a great book out called, The Power of a Praying Wife. She helps you to pray those words that we just cannot find sometimes… whether it be because of the anguish we are in at the moment or the fact that we just don’t know what to say anymore. You don’t even have to start at the beginning. It has 31 chapters. Pick todays date and go for it. The Lord will surely bless!
As I said, I’ve been alone for a long time… sometimes battling loneliness and the rejection til I’m out of my mind… but you know what? We cannot control what the other person does. We can only control ourselves. It matters not what they do… but what we do, whether in response to them or not. So… you have to surround yourself with great friends. I find that they are few and far between but immensely valuable. Not just friends that will tell you what you want to hear… but what God’s word says… friends that will uplift and encourage you in your walk with the Lord. Therein lies your strength for every day. And for most of us, even on the worst nights, morning will come again and it will be a new day to begin again… taking one step at a time… knowing we survived another day. The Lord will honor our endurance.
I say you do what you need to do. You deserve to be happy, and your children deserve to be children and not worry about adult issues. You alone cannot fix your marriage, you are absolutely correct about that!! It sounds to me like you have tried everything. Divorce may indeed be the best route for you. I would not consider myself a divorce advocate, however in a situation like this, I am. You deserve better! Good luck!
You mentioned your husband will not go to counseling, will he seek it on his own first? I am a very strong believer in prayer, not a believer in divorce, because as I listen to the news and read different articles; marriages are under attack and of course the scriptures say “…we don’t fight against flesh and blood but agains principalities” and this is one of the main reasons I know, first hand, prayer works! Children don’t do as you say, but in your conversation with them, always remind them of the scriptures, pray with your children (asking God to allow your children to have discernment to know that which is right and true), asking God to put a hedge around your marriage, your family and always pray that your husband will find God again and to study for himself. Once your husband gets back in tune with God everything else will fall in place. Ask God to cover your husband and not let anyone be attracted to him, but respect him in whatever position he may hold at work or whatever he does and to also respect that he is married with children. That God will allow him to only have eyes for you and respect you and meet your needs as well. I tell you, hang on, because as God knows when the timing is right- you just keep praying. Keep talking to your pastor and possibly his wife. Keep reading the scriptures and not worry about your husband, things will get back in a better order, we just have to remember to keep God first and not man or jobs or anything else, because our God is a jealous God. So, no worries, I will pray with you in this too! Blessings and much strength!
I have stubbornly refused a divorce. My husband of 10-1/2 years believes he would be better off if I would just divorce him. I am not going to file for divorce and he has not filed yet.
I do not make excuses for my husband to our kids (9, 6 and 4). I explain we can only control ourselves. We cannot control Daddy. I also explain that since we are Christians we must always act in a way that glorifies God. I then walk my talk and let God handle the rest.
This must be very difficult for you and I must admit that the fundamental issues must be sorted.But let me quickly add here that the same Jesus who walked on water and calmed the sea is the Jesus living in us, who we proclaim.The word works in Genesis and also in Revelation. My advice is that you pray. Pray and declare what your expectation s are. Speak the word over your home and your marriage, speak God’s will over your life.Bind the demon responsible for hidden troubles and evacuate him from the heart of your hubby.Anoint your pictures and speak in the life and love of Jesus.Do this daily and in faith. Get rid of bitterness in your heart, speak strngth to yourself.Allow the word to grow in you and the word that grows will prevail.The same word that says you are surviving the economic depression will work against depressive marriages. Keep saying it with all your heart, keep joy in your spirit, keep serving the Lord,beautify your spirit and your body, keep your mind clean and you will surely win this battle…and guess what you would have taught your children…proper christianity and how to live the God-life….thrust them into the hands of Jesus and they will be taught of the Lord and great shall be your peace.The Lord bless you!!!
i was in a situation similar to yours, but i took the “easy” way out and did walk away We have a 4 year old daughter and she is the one paying the price. the decisions i have to make regarding her wellbeing are overwhelming and sometimes seem downright hopeless. The only hope i do have is God and knowing that He’s has everything figured out already. I walked away from my marriage for many reasons. It was an abusive relationship and i would not go back for anything in the world. i am remarried now and am finding out what a real marriage is supposed to be like. I have been reading a book called the Power of a Praying Wife, by Stormi Omartian. I have learned that you can’t change him, but you can continue to set an example for them by loving your husband no matter what. The most important thing you can do is PRAY. You may be at the point where there is nothing left to do but PRAY. God will hear you and he will answer your prayers, but it may take a long time. If you stick with it and continue to honor your vows, then it will pay off, you just have to keep your faith and believe that God will “fix” it. I know how hard it is to be in a situation like yours, you won’t be able to keep your family going without God, just keep praying and i promise He will hear you and He will answer you, maybe not the way you thought, but it will be an answer that is best for you and your husband and your children. i pray that you will take it day by day and that your faith in God will stay strong.
It takes two.
It takes two to make a marriage.
It takes two to break a marriage.
It takes two to fix a marriage.
It takes two.
Specifcally to DF: My heart cries for you both. You are both in my prayers. I do not believe that you are wholly blameless for your marital issues. From your description and your description of his responses it sounds like there are much deeper issues at hand here. Men typically reacts in two ways when they are hurt. They will either become aggressive or reclusive. From your description the “counseling” sessions sound like they are being used as a weapon to inflict emotional pain on him. He can’t lash out so he pulls away. He can’t talk openly because you are there. Men are trained from childhood to not show any weakness or vulnerability.
Couple of recommendations:
1) Each of you get seperate professional counselors in addition to your couple counselor.
2) Do the Love Dare. Don’t tell him or the kids just start with day 1 and go from there. Let the kids watch. What they learn from how you two deal with marital strife will impact them for their entire lives.
Once a marriage has decayed, it is very hard to restore the emotions that have been dissolved as a result of the gradual erosion of the relationship. Making divorce harder will only add to the misery of their situation if they are truly at the end of their rope. And believe me, there are lots of repurcussions to breaking the “contract” of marriage.
It would be better to focus on helping people realize how important compatibility is and how to treat each other before we get married the first time. It’s too bad it took me until my 2nd marriage to match up with the right person and learn how to maintain a wonderful relationship with my spouse.
“Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage” is a fantastic seminar. I’m sure that it has aided in giving new life to many of suffering marriages and made good marriages even better. My wife and I both loved the DVD’s a friend lended us for a weekend. Things like that alone save marriages. Seminars teaching young singes and couples how to be sure of their compatibility and how to treat each other might help create better matches so they don’t contemplate divorce later.
After 27 years of what seemed like a great marriage, and someone i thought i was compatible with and happy to still see everyday…i would give anything to have whatever it takes to make the person who decided for me that our marriage was over have to go thru any process that might give us another chance, he just came home one day and walked out of my life…i never saw it coming. This man is lost in a world of society choices that have a hold on him, and his refusing to seek counseling with me breaks my heart because he has taken me and God out of his life. If he was required to take some sort of counseling prior to a divorce i am convinced it would save our marriage.
He always treated me like a lady and the two beautiful children we have are truly hurting thru all of this. We just can’t seem to reach him, he is truly living in his own world right now, and it’s like seeing a totally different person that we don’t even recognize.
I never in my life thought my marriage contract would be broken, but i haven’t been given a choice in this….right now i have surrendered this one to God and pray he will help me! !
ps..we did the laugh your way seminar together, had a great time!
So…are you saying that people married by the justice of the peace are not married in the eyes of God. Are you saying that they are not under a convenant. My husband and I were married by the justice of the peace and I am a devoted Christian. We are currently struggling in our marriage and are separated. However, I do not believe in divorce because when I said “I Do” I viewed it as a covenant between God, myself, and my husband. I am doing everything to have my marriage restored. It is a dangerous assumption that those married by the justice of the peace do not take marriage seriously. I live in Texas and No-fault divorces are rampant. However, my devotion to God and my commitment to vows (even being married by the JP) give me the faith and perseverance to fight for my marriage.
I am against No-fault divorce 100% I am the product of a divorced family and I know first hand what that can and will do to children involved. I recently went through a very tough time in my marriage. I thought I was going to loose everything if my wife left me. I couldn’t blame her as it was mostly my fault. (The details would take way too long.)What I realized is, even though it was her that was wanting to give up, I still had the power to want to change my ways and habits to become a better husband and father. Me puting forth the effort to change made an incredible difference in the way my wife viewed me and our marriage. I honestly feel that any marriage can be salvaged but there has to be a desire to keep it. The big thing is that we cannot make these changes on our own we have to give it over to God. I recommend looking in to a Celebrate Recovery program to deal with your individual issues which will make saving your marriage that much easier. Matthew 7:3 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?”
Trish McAtee says:
Is there a formal Marriage Covenenant “contract”?
I am seriously considering marriage and would like to include that in our pre-marital counseling, which (I’m delighted to say) is required by our Pastor.
In God’s eyes, marriage is not contractual, IT IS COVENANT. We may get away with divorcing our spouses while here on earth, but some day we’ll stand before our creator and have to answer to Him for breaking covenant.
I came to the Lord in my third marriage, and have now learned this. Now I make it a point to work through our problems instead of running. Thank you Jesus that we never have to worry about YOU breaking COVENANT with us, your children.
I am a firm believer in “stay in my marriage until Jesus comes”, and as a Nigerian and a born again Christian, i and my husband went through series of counselling to let us know that the decisions we were taking was binding and our vows to each other is forever. We have had our challenges but mutual respect, communication, trust and a deep love for God has kept us together. We believe in prayers and with each challenge, we have gone to God to help us and He has always come through for us. I believe no two marriages are alike and marriage is an institution that you can never graduate from but God can help us all, if we ask Him to and make our marriages sweet again like Christ did at the marriage at Cana. I pray that everyone hurting will receive comfort from the balm of Gilead in Jesus name amen
I believe no fault divorce is the worst thing that was ever created. It enabled my husband to lie, cheat and steal everything we had, hide it and then to go to court and say I just want a divorce….I couldn’t even get his phone records! Counseling is great, if both people are will to grow and learn. But there are men, more every day, who do this as a way of life and they can say whatever they need to in order to get into the marriage and then because of no fault divorces, they can just walk away and start over again with someone else who has money….I am not a man hater by any means,I am quite sure there are probably twice as many women who do the same thing. But if there are no consequences….WHY NOT????
18 1/2 years of marriage to the “daughter of the preacher”; she exercised the “no fault” divorce option; kids were 8 & 10; no legitimate reason given except, “I want out”. “Been there; done that.” No mediation, no counseling, no Pastor, no friends, no family to stop her…I had been in full-time ministry for over 15 years with her “support, agreement and blessing” the entire time…the divorce event was devastating! YES…a MAJOR contributing factor WAS the “no-fault” option in our state…she walked away…NO CONSEQUENCES…in fact, got everything she wanted, kids, money, new life…after a few years kids exercised their right to choose to live w/Dad b/c the law said they could…I have often said, “I spent $9K to participate in a divorce I didn’t want or ask for and $10K to ‘buy back’ the children I already ‘owned’ (actually on loan from the Lord)…
IF I could re-enter ministry I would, but unfortunately in evangelical circles nobody wants “the divorced minister”…it’s the “scarlett letter” for a male, the assumption is almost always, “It’s the man’s fault; what did you DO to her to make her do it?”…it’s sad, but true…
I continue to have the heart, training (including ministerial degrees), personality, experience (now more than ever to relate) to be in ministry but those qualities seem to mean nothing since that happen…I’ve been incredibly saddened at the “scorched earth” approach so often taken by evangelical ministries toward those of us who believe divorce was (is) NOT the answer nor EVER wanted it, but believe me…you can pray, beg, hope, do whatever, but once that spouse has chosen that “easy way out” with no accountability…”good-bye”…Mark’s seminar addresses the “emasculation of the modern male” and in my case when nothing else could “dug up”, found or justified for use, the “weapon of choice” became (and nothing did it better) the current “no-fault” divorce law…God bless each person or ministry who seeks to end this devastatingly destructive legal tool!
Love in Christ to you all!! …Gal 6:9
Rick Harding says:
The church does not need the state to make a law requiring counceling. The Church already has the authority from God to do what is right. Righteousness is from God not the state. The church can have the covenant in place when couples wish to use the church. Couples who wish to marry in a specific church can sign the covenant or go to a church that does not care about preserving marriage. Marriage has honour and holiness. We do not need to wait for the state to make a law to preserve the institution of marriage. Marriage in the flesh is a symbol of the redemptive marriage. What God hath joined together let no man put assunder. This does not say anything about the state. The Bible is our standard not state or federal law. It would help if churches would take a greater role counceling couples so they can understand what makes a strong marriage.
Many people misunderstand the stance of the Catholic Church teachings regarding marriage. As I read the blog and responses, it just makes me love the teachings even more.
The Catholic Church teaching is that marriage is a covenant. All that get married in the Catholic Church must go through counseling with a priest and at least in all parts of the US I have lived are required to attend a pre-marriage weekend retreat. Issues that are addressed in both involve the permanence of marriage as well as examining belief systems and values so that both are going into the marriage with a full commitment of heart. If the couple divorces legally, they are still seen as being married in the eyes of the church (and of course in the eyes of God). Some couples seperate or divorce as they believe they have no ability to continue living together and divorce sometimes is required to seperate finances if necessary. There is no sin in that doing that and one is still in good standing with the church as long as they stay faithful to that marital covenant. What does that mean? Well, if one partner leaves the marriage for another relationship or end in prison long term, etc,. etc. then the remaining spouse is still seen as married so of course is not free to date another (since they are still married in God’s eyes despite what the other does).
Many call annulments “catholic divorce”, but, if one understands that marriage is a covenant, one will understand the difference. Although at times the process has been abused (we are all fallen after all), an annulment is not automatic and often takes 1-3 years to work through the process to come to the final decision. When one applies for an annulment, they need to work with the church in their application process. The application is not about why we should be divorced. An annulment is granted, ultimately through Rome, when adequate proof is demonstrated that the marriage WAS NOT COVENANT. So, what does that mean… if your spouce cheats? NO. It would mean examining things that would have been an impediment that did not allow full consent to the covenant- was one of the parties unable to have full consent due to age? due to mental incapacity? due to being too closely related? due to being forced into the marriage? do to not being open to life?
As you can see, it isn’t about why the couple can’t continue to be married, it’s all about whether the covenant was properly entered into. If it wasn’t, the church declares that the marriage was not covenant. The process is lengthy as there is a deep exploration into the claims that the covenant was not valid- many are not granted annulments because all evidence is that a covent was properly entered into. If an annulment is granted, the parties aren’t necessarly free to date/remarry. If the reason the covenant is not valid is because inability to enter in due to mental limitations or immaturity then the individual could receive an annument of that marriage but since the condition still exists where they are not able to fully commit to a marriage covenant then they would not be granted the ability to marry- as it would still not be covenant. Not sure if I explained very well- hopefully you can follow what I am saying about the church’s teaching.
Along those lines, the reason a catholic is not free to marry a christian who is divorced until their previous marriage in annuled is because if the protestant was in a covenant marriage and then were legally divorced, they are still in a covenant unless it is determined that it was an invalid covenant. Many protestants get upset about that because they don’t understand that they entered a covenant and are still married in God’s eyes.
Now, all that said, please don’t counter back that you know of people who didn’t take their marriage preparation serously, who got annulments and you are sure they had a covenant marriage, about how many catholics you know that are divorced and are dating right away or before the marriage was even over, etc. etc. I can’t argue any of those things. I truly believe the church’s teaching on the marriage covenat is inspiried by God. I do know too that the Catholic church, like all other churches, is made up of many people who have been overly influenced by the materialistic and self-centered beliefs in our culture of death. I also know that, like other churches, there are catholics that chose what part of the teachings they chose to live by and which ones they don’t. I am fallen and fail to always God’s teachings and can be selfish. So it is with us- we are fallen. But, regardless of how far we fall from what God would like us to be, the truth is the truth. Right?
Sorry it got so long, but, I wanted to share the beautiful teaching of the Catholic Church for those that weren’t aware of it.
In the Love and Peace of Christ,
I have been through a divorce for 11 years this month. Had two children in that marriage now in their teens. Was married for ten years and we were in our 20′s…did the marriage classes, church wedding and four months after the wedding my husband was laid off and 2 1/2 yeras into our marriage we had a child, still was laid off and I worked full time to support my family. Almost four years later another child and he moved my family away from all I knew and my business promising a better life to raise our kids. He got laid off from that job and after a year of me working full time we were separated because of him hitting me and I did go to counseling for help and the pastor. He left to live back at his parents and got a job back home. I was not even thinking about divorce until he stopped paying the bills and didn’t support his family.
He got mad when I went for help and the child support made him pay for support and filed for divorce. It has been a complete mess and I have made my mistakes by getting involved in another relationship and having a child and and that relationship ended in abuse to my children and our family dog. I am still scarred and my chilren are as well, they go back and forth have a strained stressful life and I keep waiting on God to heal this situation from the inside out. This system is for the men, no fault no responsibilities and throw away relationships. I pray. I surrender my issues to the Lord and HE gives me strength. Even after 11 years the child support fluctuates and the children get to take sides or go live with whom they think is their better parent. Mainly the one who can give them what they want, sounds very much like fair to the court system but in reality it is harming the meak and the weak of this world. I am stronger because of all this and only regret one thing, giving my covenant to someone that disappointed me. Sure I had my doubts and fears but we all do in the beginning of anything, we have to go through a race to get to the finish line with lots of hurdles and bumps to avoid without getting hurt.I am in this for the long haul for my kids and not throwing everything away because it’s too tough.
I also took resposibility for my end of the bargin and then some.Paying for the rest of my life. Some days I think my life is over. And then I see my legacy in my kids, they will learn from this and grow into what God plans for them. I didn’t put God into all my decisions and need to for the future with surrender.
John Hazlett says:
Imagine in a huge business contract, such as a mega corporation merger. Marriage should be held to a higher standard than that. Imagine the insidious nature of what would take place in the business world, if they were able to walk away from their contracts, just because they gave up, or just were’nt interested anymore.
The insidious nature of “No fault” or other excessively simple divorces, is that it removes the reason to work things out in the first place. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard the phrase “Well, if this situation doesn’t work out (the way I want it) I’ll just get a divorce!” It is an attempt of one, to be tyrannical to the other.
Of course, there are other reasons, and excuses, but the above, or a couple of excuses “I just don’t love you anymore”, “we just drifted apart” etc. trumps a sacred contract, must sometimes make God sick at heart.
I have a situation that I haven’t seen addressed in any seminar or in any of the letters above. I married my high school sweetheart, we had 20 years together and have three wonderful children. I won’t go into details but because of some unhappiness on my part, I did a very foolish destructive thing which led to the ending of that marriage.
I had four years without a committed relationship, did some more foolish things then found my way back to God, eventually remarried, have a Christian husband and things are going well for us. He was divorced too and we approached this marriage with a covenant mentality…always looking to put our spouses interests first, being/doing what you want to see in your mate and of course, put God first in everything you do. I am blessed.
However, I have moments when I revisit that first marriage and lament over the fact that I did things that were first, wrong in the eyes of God and secondly that hurt another person so much. I know I am forgiven by God but its been hard to forgive myself. I learned early what a ripple effect the divorce had on everyone around me…my ex, the children, our families and friends. So many people were negatively affected by our divorce and it has taken a long time to finally feel like the ripples are subsiding. The children, now grown, adore my husband and all seem to have no residual scars. But this deep feeling of remorse will not go away.
I know what the bible says about divorce. And most seminars address the person who got left, not the one who did the leaving. Because of the children, I still see my ex from time to time, he’s remarried and seems happy but I still see that hurt look and its haunts me. Should I go to him and ask for forgiveness? Even if its too late to take it back?
I want to do whats right, however painful but am not quite sure what is right. If hes gone on with his life, do I just let it go? Is there healing in rehashing?
Any council would be so appreciated.
It is right to want to apologize, but your husband or his wife may not approve. Ask your husband what he thinks. If he’s o.k. w/it both of you approach his wife & ask her if it’s o.k. for you apologize to your ex-husband w/your present husband’s accompaniment; even better, if his current wife accompanies you & your husband as you apologize to your ex. God Bless you. Let me know how it goes.
Thank you for your reply. kenny, my current husband, and I have talked about this situation many times and his response has always been to let the past go. He feels that since my ex has remarried he isn’t dwelling on the past,so why should I. In his opinion, everyone has rebounded nicely and we should praise God that there weren’t lasting ill effects for anyone, that we each found more suitable partners and the children still have a good relationship with each of us. I am thankful but yet, theres still that nagging feeling that hits me in the dead of night. Kenny says its just guilt and condemnation which is certainly not from God. Hes right. In the end, I’m trusting God to provide the opportunity to speak with my ex if its what is to be. I won’t force the issue but will do so if God makes the way.
God bless you.
In my humble opinion I feel family of origin issues are part of the tap root for major issues in marriages. Friends of mine who I know their parents or of their extended family begin to ‘act’ like them later in their marraiges. Whether it be nit picking of the other spouse, not engaging with the kids, ignoring your mate, or expressed views of how marriage should be.
This type of issue should be looked at and discussed before marriage. Red flags can’t be changed to green ones unless an individual wants to change. No amount of nagging, pointing out a wrong, reading an article, or going to church will turn the flag colors around. (I’m not refering to the Flag Page).
I 100% agree with this article. I am remarried as my 1st husband ended our 2 1/2 year marriage due to many issues that we were equal party to.
I was and still am of the belief, “once married, always married”. I truly believe the vows I took but sadly, this is not out my 1st marriage ended.
I am grateful to God that He gave me a fresh start and the perfect husband. We’ve been married for 14 years and still act like we are newly married; it’s a beautiful thing.
We have definitely had our struggles; the 1st 7 years were very much a test of our love but we overcame all and are stronger than ever.
We have watched the Laugh Your Way To A Better Marriage & took the personality test; of course we occupy opposite countries but it works. We now know how to approach the other to have our views really looked at & understood.
Mark, I want to thank you for listening to God, which I firmly beleive gave you an enlightened understanding of men & women. The way you bring across our differences is in the funniest but easy to understand.
Thank you for helping my marriage in taking it to the next level. May God continue to bless your ministry!
I am amazed at the number of people who twist things so they can justify their divorce. “He says means things when we fight” is called abuse (and in all of those complaints, the wife is just as mean or worse!) Or “he says he likes this other girl” is called adultery. People go into marriage with the wrong mindset too. “For better or for worse” is looked at as an either/or option instead of “no matter what.” “Till death” has come to mean “until my love for you dies.” I agree 100% something Mark said on his radio show not long ago – the #1 reason for divorce is simply selfishness.
Randy Y. says:
My wife left me 9 months ago and has recently asked me for a divorce. She now has a boyfriend and says there’s nothing left in our marriage for her to want to try and work it out. I’ve begged and pleaded. I’ve given her space and let her go. She wants out because she says she no longer loves me and now says she’s not sure that she ever really did. After 12 yrs. of marriage 5 yrs. of dateing and two wonderful kids. She is able to justify her actions by lieing to herself and there hasn’t been anything that the 1 million tears I’ve cried been able to do about anything. I’ve never felt more helpless in my life. Divorce is one of the major reasons that this wonderful country of ours just isn’t that wonderful anymore. It is now the land of broken dreams and empty promises. I pray for all who suffer the same unfortunate end to thier marriage. I believe that I have a hole in my heart that will never be filled. I do believe that God will take care of me. That though, this was not his plan for my marriage. I believe he will carry me to the next chapter of my life and set me down a much stronger man with an even more special love to give to someone. Someone who will appreciate it. A love that knows how fragile every single day of a marriage is…God bless you all.
Don’t forget that Christians are not suppose to take other Christians to court. This includes Christians that are married to each other.
I am currently in the middle of this very situation. Please pray for me and my wife. I don’t want a divorce, but have no ability to do anything about it.
The Catholic Church has been doing this for years. Its different in each Diocese, however, it is practiced very similarly. In addition Catholic Marriages aren’t easily annulled. The process is long and arduous.
Check out the Archdiocese of Miami where there is a ministry called CAMINO (“The Path”) that has a two day workshop couples must attend before they marry.
It works and they have saved couples from marrying without true commitment and preparing those who are committed for a great start.
I guess what I’m saying is whether you understand the Catholic Church, it may be worth taking a look at so you don’t have to reinvent the wheel.
Good reading but only if we could really do that. I’m currently in such a situation. My husband has committed adultery and filed for divorce but after 2 years of separation I’d rather go to counseling and repair the marriage.