“I Want a Divorce!”

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Obviously, divorce is quite prevalent today – even in the church among those who claim Christ.

Let me say right up front…

No one answers to me about why they got a divorce or why they want a divorce.  We will all answer to God alone for our thoughts, words and actions.

I am not a pastor, theologian, psychologist, psychiatrist, lawyer or certified counselor. I am just a normal wife who loves Jesus and His Word. I am not giving legal advice and I am not qualified to tell you what to do in your situation. Your decisions are ultimately up to you, knowing that you will stand before God and be accountable to Him for each of them when this life is over.

My concern is – what does God say about divorce?

I have listed all of the scriptures I can find about this topic at the bottom of this post.  What God says is the only thing that matters here.

*** Please keep in mind, I write for women, so I am only addressing wives here.  God’s Word applies to husbands, too.

If we are disciples of Christ and we love Jesus – we will long more than anything to obey Him and please Him – no matter what the personal cost and sacrifice – in every area of our lives.  That is what it means for Him to be LORD of our lives.

  • Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. John 14:23-24

I want us to live without regret – knowing we honored Jesus in everything.

GOD’S PURPOSE IN MARRIAGE

God intends marriage to be a living, dynamic, beautiful picture of the relationship and oneness between Christ and His church, His people.  For disciples of Christ, our living out God’s design for marriage, masculinity, femininity and family is intended by God to draw people to Jesus.

If we as the church of Christ don’t portray Christ and His church properly to the world… what do we really have to offer of any value to this dying world?

God NEVER forsakes us.  He NEVER divorces us.  Even when we are faithless, He is faithful.

  • Ephesians 5:22-33 – God’s beautiful design for marriage
  • I Peter 3:1-6 (God’s commands for wives whose husbands are far from God.  If we want to see God work in our husbands’ lives, THIS is the way it must begin!)

Divorce can easily be a factory of hatred, contempt, bitterness, hard-heartedness and resentment that continues to produce these things every day for the rest of our lives.

That is a big problem – because if I hate someone, God says I cannot love Him.

  • If anyone says, “I love God,” yet hates his brother, he is a liar.  For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen.  And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother.”  I John 4:20-21
  • We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love our brothers.  Anyone who does not love remains in death.  Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life in him.  I John 3:14-15

“BUT I DON’T FEEL LOVED!  I AM NOT HAPPY!”

It would be awesome if we always felt loved, cherished, adored, protected and safe in our marriages. If this were a perfect world, maybe we would! But this is not at all a perfect world.  We are sinners.  Our husbands are sinners.  It hurts to be sinned against!!!!  There are many times we all will feel unloved (check out yesterday’s post).  Sometimes we may actually even be unloved by our husbands.  But we are NEVER unloved by God. For more about the ultimate love of God, please read here!

Our feelings are important.  I believe God gives us feelings to help guide us in our decision making processes about some things.  But…

  • God commands us to make our decisions based on the absolute truth of God’s Word, not based on our changing and fleeting emotions.

Marriage is a COVENANT relationship.  It is between our husbands, God and us.  It is to last until one of us dies.  God does not intend for us to break covenants.  He never breaks His covenants!  Covenants are based on holy commitment and holy promises, not emotions or feelings.

Our obedience to God MUST come first.  Being mature in Christ means that we do what is right and we choose to love by God’s Spirit working in us even when the feelings are not there.  Then we trust God with the results.  Feelings are not to be my master.  Jesus is my Master.  God is MUCH more concerned about my willing obedience than He is with my feelings.

This is about what honors Him and about being holy, not about me feeling loved or being happy in the moment.

“IS DIVORCE AN IDOL IN MY HEART?”

It is entirely possible for me as a sinful human to make almost anything into an idol

  • something I put above Christ in my heart
  • something I think I HAVE to have to be happy
  • something I am willing to do ANYTHING to get – even sin against God and/or others if necessary
  • something I am willing to sacrifice for and give up huge amounts of my relationships, money and time to possess

If I am looking to divorce to meet all of my emotional/spiritual needs and to make me happy, if I think that “if only I could get divorced, my life would be great”… I am on very dangerous ground.  It is definitely time for a motive check.

I VOTE TO TAKE THE WORD “DIVORCE” OUT OF OUR VOCABULARY AS BELIEVERS

My husband and I have an agreement that we don’t ever use that word.  It’s not an option for us.  We have never used that word in our 19+ years of marriage – even when things were difficult at times. I have never regretted our commitment to this agreement.

Joy and contentment come from within – our husbands can’t “make” us happy.

  • If I am filled with God’s Spirit – I will respond in His power and in obedience to Him no matter who my husband is.  I will have peace and joy no matter what my circumstances are because I have Living Water welling up in me through the Holy Spirit.  I am not dependent upon any human to make me happy.  No matter who I am married to – if I am filled with God’s Spirit, I will have love, peace, joy, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control.
  • If I am controlled by my sinful nature – I will respond sinfully to my current husband and I will respond sinfully to any other man I might marry.  If I am disrespectful and controlling with my husband now, I would be disrespectful and controlling with any man.  That is my character.

All husbands will sin against us.  Some much worse than others, of course.

My husband’s sin against me doesn’t create sin in my heart – it reveals the sin that is in my heart.

  • My level of respect and biblical submission toward my husband right now is a tangible indicator of my level of reverence for and submission to Christ. (Jesus says in John 14 that anyone who loves Him obeys Him.  And if someone does not obey Him, he does not love Him.  God commands me as a wife to respect my husband and honor His leadership in Ephesians 5:22-33)
  • So, my level of respect and biblical submission in my marriage has almost nothing to do with my husband and almost everything to do with my relationship with Jesus.

I do not believe a wife is obligated to respect clear sin or to submit to instructions her husband gives that are clear violations of God’s Word.  For more on this, please click here.

For info on a husband’s authority and a wife’s authority in marriage, please click here.

Biblical submission does not mean a husband is always right.

This is all about Christ.  It is not about me.

SEPARATION

There can be times when there are serious problems that separation may be necessary.  It is not ideal, of course. God’s Word addresses this.  You can check out I Corinthians 7 below.

If you are dealing with addictions, unrepentant major sin, physical/sexual abuse of yourself or your children, uncontrolled mental health issues, severe controlling issues…. please seek godly help ASAP!  If you or your children are genuinely not safe, please get help!  You may need to leave, at least for a time. Please do not read my blog if this is your situation, but just seek godly, biblical, experienced help.

A BIBLICAL FOUNDATION ABOUT DIVORCE FOR CHRISTIAN WOMEN

There are only a few situations where God allows divorce.  If you are not yet divorced – please carefully study what God’s Word says because with the possible exception of a few circumstances, divorce is sin against God and against our husbands.  Separation is not labeled as sin in the Bible.  There can be times separation may be necessary – but God desires us to honor the covenant of marriage, prayerfully seeking reconciliation and trusting God to heal and work in our marriages.

  • Divorce is a concession in cases of sexual immorality – but it is not commanded by God (Matthew 19:1-12).  In fact, many times, God can and does heal marriages even after infidelity has been committed. I have seen God heal MANY, MANY marriages even after adultery and make the marriage into something beautiful and godly and holy.
  • If an unbelieving spouse leaves – I Corinthians 7 says to let him leave and not to try to force him to stay.  But the believing spouse is not told to initiate a divorce in such a situation.

Just to clarify a bit more, in the Bible, only men could initiate divorce.  Women didn’t have the right to divorce their husbands in those times.  So there are no instructions at all for women about divorcing their husbands – which is rather sobering in my mind. We have great freedom and responsibility now – I pray we will use it wisely and only in a God-honoring way!

Another very significant concern I have is that most Christian couples who divorce go through the secular court system.  Paul was extremely clear that believers were not to take one another to court and that if we have law suits against each other, we are completely defeated already.  We destroy our witness for Christ when we as believers take others to court I Corinthians 6:1-11  I am not offering legal advice here.  I am not qualified to do that.  But I do want us as women of God to know God’s Word and to obey Him and honor Him in everything we do – that we might bring the greatest glory to His Name.  That has to be our goal – to glorify God with our lives.  Nothing else matters if Christ is our LORD.

Divorce is VERY serious in God’s eyes.  It is always a result of sin.  Our society, unfortunately, makes divorce so easy.  But this does not honor God.

  • I want to encourage and exhort those who have not divorced yet to STOP and truly seek to honor and obey God and to seek His healing in their marriages and to pray for reconciliation and God’s power and wisdom and not to turn to divorce, but to uphold our marriage covenants in order to please God.
  • If you already divorced your first husband and are already married to another husband?  Well… David Platt says – Repent to God if you sinned by divorcing the first time and stay where you are and focus on honoring this new marriage covenant.  But if you have divorced and not remarried, repent to God and seek God’s wisdom.  But do not seek to remarry. That is also what John Piper says. There are some who say to leave the remarriage and remain single. It is difficult to find clear commands in Scripture about what to do if a couple is remarried. Please research, study, read God’s Word and seek His Spirit’s wisdom if this is your situation. I don’t personally have enough godly wisdom to make a general blanket statement to people about such an important issue.

 

“Not my will, but Yours be done, Lord Jesus!”

If a wife is able to have pure motives of loving and obeying God and is not full of resentment, hatred, unforgiveness and bitterness, has God’s peace, love and joy overflowing in her soul and has no idols in her heart – those would be good indicators that she is generally moving toward God.

We must lay down our dreams, our wisdom, our plans, our rights, all that we are and all that we might ever be before Jesus – this is DYING TO SELF.  Christ calls every one of His disciples to die to self and submit 100% to Him as LORD – men and women.  We must give it all up to Him as a sacrifice.  Then we must be willing to pick up His will, His dreams, His wisdom, His plans, His purposes, His holiness, His love…. and seek only His glory.  This is our purpose in life!

This is the place we must be in order to be in right standing with Jesus – willing to give up anything He asks of us, willing to sacrifice everything for Him, willing to do His will even if the cost is great to us personally.

I’M ALREADY DIVORCED.  IS DIVORCE UNFORGIVABLE?

Thankfully, Jesus’ blood is able to cover any sin!!!!  Idolatry, murder, theft, hatred, contempt, bitterness, divorce, kidnapping, unforgiveness, lust, adultery, addictions, gossip, divisions, slander, jealousy, disrespect of God-given authority, self-righteousness, greed … you name it.  Jesus’ blood can cover it.

If you realize that you got divorced and that what you did was out of line with God’s Word – repent and ask Him to forgive you!  Ask Him to show you what to do to try to make things right at this point.

God loves a broken, humble contrite heart.

God will not allow me to find contentment in anything other than Himself alone.

THE POWER OF GOD

What I would love to see happen is for us, as the women of God, to determine to look to Christ for our strength, our hope, our help, our wisdom, our direction and our decisions – not to the world’s ways or the world’s wisdom.  I believe that as we focus on becoming the women God desires us to be and focus on repenting of any sin in our hearts and focus on responding to our husbands in godly ways in the power of God’s Spirit – we open up the flood gates of heaven to pour into our lives and marriages.

  • Our God is able to heal.
  • Our God knows how to bring dead things back to life.
  • Our God is able to bring joy from mourning, beauty from ashes and restore the years the locusts have eaten.
  • God does not guarantee to change our husbands if we obey Him and live in His power – He may or He may not.  But He does guarantee He will change US!
  • If God is going to change our husbands and draw them to Himself, it will only be after we are willing to obey Him and follow I Peter 3:1-6.

What if we seek to do things God’s way – even if it costs us something?  That is called, dying to self, picking up our cross and following Christ.  To be His disciple costs me EVERYTHING!  I can hold nothing back from Jesus if He is my LORD!  And yet, when I am willing to give up everything – I get so much more in return from Him!

He who tries to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, will find it!  Matthew 16:15

God’s wisdom is NOT like the world’s wisdom.  His wisdom is counterintuitive to our human attempts at wisdom.

Let’s put our faith and trust in Him to change us and trust Him to work in our husbands’ lives for His glory!

Then -

We open up the possibility that God may do miracles in our lives.

I don’t want any of us to miss out on that!

But even more importantly, I desire for Christ to be greatly glorified in each of our lives and marriages.  That is our primary purpose as believers in Christ – to bring great honor and glory to His Name by our steadfast obedience and love for Him and our willingness to do whatever He asks of us.

I pray each of us might be sensitive and obedient to His voice.

RELATED:

The Marriage Covenant – “Brides and Butchers”

“I’m Thinking of Having an Affair”

When My Spouse is Wrong

WHAT DOES GOD’S WORD SAY ABOUT DIVORCE?

MALACHI 2

13 Another thing you do: You flood the Lord’s altar with tears. You weep and wail because he no longer looks with  favor on your offerings or accepts them with pleasure from your hands. 14 You ask, “Why?” It is because the Lord is the witness between you and the wife of your youth. You have been unfaithful to her, though she is your partner, the wife of your marriage covenant.

15 Has not the one God made you? You belong to him in body and spirit. And what does the one God seek? Godly offspring. So be on your guard, and do not be unfaithful to the wife of your youth.

16 “The man who hates and divorces his wife,” says the Lord, the God of Israel, “does violence to the one he should protect,” says the Lord Almighty.

So be on your guard, and do not be unfaithful.

Another verson (GNT) of verse 16:

1I hate divorce,” says the Lord God of Israel. “I hate it when one of you does such a cruel thing to his wife. Make sure that you do not break your promise to be faithful to your wife.”

MATTHEW 5

31 “It has been said, ‘Anyone who divorces his wife must give her a certificate of divorce.’ 32 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.

LUKE 16:18

“Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery, and the man who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.”

MATTHEW 19

When Jesus had finished saying these things, he left Galilee and went into the region of Judea to the other side of the Jordan. Large crowds followed him, and he healed them there.

Some Pharisees came to him to test him. They asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?”

“Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”

“Why then,” they asked, “did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away?”

Jesus replied, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.”

I CORINTHIANS 7

10 To the married I give this command (not I, but the Lord): A wife must not separate from her husband. 11 But if she does, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband. And a husband must not divorce his wife.

12 To the rest I say this (I, not the Lord): If any brother has a wife who is not a believer and she is willing to live with him, he must not divorce her. 13 And if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him. 14 For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy.

15 But if the unbeliever leaves, let it be so. The brother or the sister is not bound in such circumstances; God has called us to live in peace. 16 How do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or, how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife?…

39 A woman is bound to her husband as long as he lives. But if her husband dies, she is free to marry anyone she wishes, but he must belong to the Lord. 40 In my judgment, she is happier if she stays as she is—and I think that I too have the Spirit of God.

HOSEA

The entire book of Hosea is about the faithful love of God as a Husband to His faithless people Israel – portrayed vividly in the marriage of Hosea ,the prophet, to the prostitute, Gomer.

God does not divorce His people.  Even though they deserved it time and time again because of their idolatry – which is like adultery in God’s sight – a heinous breaking of their covenant relationship with Him.

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42 Comments on ““I Want a Divorce!””

  1. Marie
    October 12, 2013 at 10:56 am #

    Wow. Couldn’t read it all. Gonna read this in bits. Powerful truth. Humbling.

    • peacefulwife
      October 12, 2013 at 12:37 pm #

      Marie,

      I totally understand! I know it is A LOT all at one time. I just want it all in one place so people can find it more easily. Such an important topic – I don’t want to break it up in segments. That’s probably the pharmacist in me – trying to be thorough! :)

      • Marie
        October 12, 2013 at 6:24 pm #

        Im not complaining. Just wow is all. Very well written.

        • peacefulwife
          October 12, 2013 at 8:45 pm #

          Marie,

          I knew you weren’t complaining. :)

          It is really long, though! Hard to tell that my goal is 1000 words, huh?

          I pray it might be a blessing to you. Much love my friend!

  2. David J.
    October 12, 2013 at 5:43 pm #

    April: Two thoughts in response. First, I can testify first hand to the destructiveness of divorce in spite of the initiating spouse’s belief that it will make things better. It doesn’t. Our divorce has been final for exactly two years yesterday, and my ex-wife is just as angry and bitter toward me as she was when she initiated the divorce. She refuses to talk in person or by telephone and can’t even have a civil e-mail exchange with me. She remains estranged from our youngest son, takes every opportunity to create strife between me and our daughter, and now (after several years of effort) has fomented an estrangement between me and our oldest son. All this while purporting to have “moved on” (including remarrying) and being outspoken about her spirituality and her growth in Christ.

    Second, one thing that explains much of our willingness to resort to divorce for emotional rather than biblical reasons is that we have bought into an upside-down view of romance, marriage, and sex. Dalrock put it this way: “What nearly all modern Christians have done is place romantic love above marriage. Instead of seeing marriage as the moral context to pursue romantic love and sex, romantic love is now seen as the moral place to experience sex and marriage. This inversion is subtle enough that no one seems to have noticed, but if you look for it you will see it everywhere.” We fool ourselves into believing that if our marriage isn’t romantic enough, if we’re not feeling loved, it’s more moral to get a divorce than to stay in a “dead” or “cold” marriage.

    • peacefulwife
      October 12, 2013 at 5:50 pm #

      David J.,

      Thank you for sharing your experience. My heart breaks for the pain that all of your family has suffered. I pray for God’s glory in your life and in your children’s life and in your ex-wife’s life, as well.

      What an interesting quote. I have to agree that in our culture, many of us have put romance above marriage. Hmm… that gives me a lot to think about! Thank you for that. How amazing that we can think we are being more “moral” by leaving if we don’t feel loved enough, rather than measuring morality by being true to our vows regardless of our feelings, desiring to honor and please Christ above all.

      • peacefulwife
        October 12, 2013 at 5:52 pm #

        The Fantasy of Romance

      • Lynn
        October 13, 2013 at 6:11 pm #

        I have a book called the history of marriage. It looks at trends and changes in western marriage. And the whole marrying for love as a cultural norm is relatively new. In canada there is the story if the “kings daughters”. There were so few women in the French colonies that the france shipped over a bunch of women specifically to get married. The most important factor one of these ladies took into account before marrying was whether or not the man had his own house. Very interesting stuff!!

        It reminds me if the fiddler on the roof song when he asks his wife if she loves him (after 20 years of marriage).

  3. Marie Nellist
    October 12, 2013 at 10:18 pm #

    Hello,

    I have enjoyed reading your blog. I believe many of the concepts brought forth here, that a wife should support and grow in Christ with her mate. Sadly, I had to resort to divorce as my “final” option after 22 years of heartache. My husband and I got married with full ahead of time discussion on having children, and possibly adopting to help out others less fortunate than us. Then right after the marriage, my husband sunk into serious alcoholism that didn’t stop for 22 years. He told me three years into the marriage that he did not want children. When in fact he was too busy getting drunk every weekend to give a darn about kids or me for that matter. We had our daughter as a fluke. He has come to love her and would never replace her. But he refused to have any more kids after she was born and as I was an older mom I was no longer able to achieve viable pregnancy, I ended up with 2 miscarriages after my daughter was born and my husband was checked out with his alcoholism during all of that. I tried to get him to attend counseling, we did go to some sessions, but nothing ever got through. I tried everything, getting mad and calling him out on this behavior, then trying to show him more respect (even though I felt he deserved none as he was drunk so much and a terrible role model.) I tried everything including prayer for 22 long years, it got so bad I went into a couple of severe depressive states. My husband didn’t physically abuse me, but he did emotionally abuse me, as he was abused by his step mom as a child, he never got over that, and he transferred his hatred and dysfunctional feelings to me and I became the enemy. Finally, after 22 I threw in the towel, and truthfully it has been the best thing for me and my daughter. I don’t want her growing up thinking that this is the way marriage should be. I am in therapy and have learned to deal with my ex as my daughters father, nothing more. I hope to find love again with a normal man who wants love and knows how to treat his wife. Understandably, I am still working on how to trust again, I gave this marriage so much time and effort and one day I woke up and realized it was time to just let it go. I believe Christ wants us to put forth the effort, but not at our own expense as I did.

    Thanks for reading.

    In Christ,
    Marie

    • peacefulwife
      October 12, 2013 at 10:24 pm #

      Marie,

      How my heart breaks for you! Alcoholism is such a devastating addiction. It destroys many lives and families, that is for sure. I wish that no family ever had to deal with alcohol/drug addictions.

      Sometimes – when a spouse refuses to seek help or repent – things can get very difficult. I can understand why you wouldn’t want your daughter in an environment like that.

      I appreciate you sharing your story. :)

      I pray for God’s healing for you both and for your daughter and for God’s greatest glory and honor in your life. :)

  4. Todd
    October 12, 2013 at 11:15 pm #

    Like Dee, just too much here to read in one shot. The part that jumped off the page at me is the comparison of divorce to ripping apart Siamese Twins without anesthesia. So very true in my case. And might I add (my opinion), that this likely comes as a result of taking what God made into “one” — that’s what God does when two people are married… He makes them ONE — and you rip that apart through divorce. It doesn’t happen neatly, as if tearing off a perforated page. It happens rather grotesquely and without consideration. I think that is why divorce is not only emotionally painful, but physically painful as well.
    I see and hear the pain in my young daughter, who won’t admit it. It also still haunts me years later, though God has brought me through a healing process.
    I also realize divorce happens for a whole host of reasons that can’t all be covered here. I’ll simply speak for myself as one who married someone who always saw divorce as an option.
    I think one of the biggest results for men (speaking for myself again) is the fear to step up in a relationship and remarry because the fear of the ultimate rejection is so real and so deep.
    April: you spend a lot of time talking to women about letting their husbands lead (or their boyfriends) in the context of a Christian relationship/marriage. That’s great stuff. What women considering marriage to a guy who was once married need to understand is just how divorce can impact men and the individual reasons behind his divorce. It’ll drive how she needs to respond to him and is why remarriage MUST NOT happen before good counseling so both can fully understand what they’re in for.

  5. jack
    October 14, 2013 at 3:44 am #

    Maybe I am just having a particularly “off” night but I am struck tonight by the irony – I have spent an inordinate amount of energy into prepping for being a husband and father only to find myself single in my mid forties. My suspicion is that God saved me from marriage in order to save me from a divorce, which is the statistically likely outcome for a guy like myself.

    I have several divorced women chasing me for a relationship right now, but I can’t say I have much enthusiasm for that right now.

    GOOD MEN ™ – every woman’s second choice

    #bitter_male

  6. Cassie
    October 16, 2013 at 3:38 pm #

    What great information! I have a friend that could really use this information right now. My husband and I were talking about some of these same topics in regards to trying to help the friend. This is helpful! Thank you :)

    • peacefulwife
      October 16, 2013 at 10:14 pm #

      Cassie,
      You are most welcome! I hope only to honor God and His Word. It is a difficult topic, a painful one, that is for sure!

      • Christine
        October 17, 2013 at 1:46 pm #

        My Husband wants a divorce and he is a Christian. I don’t know what to do.

        • peacefulwife
          October 17, 2013 at 8:26 pm #

          Christine,

          Would you like to email me? aprilc@sc.rr.com. :) I am going to be tied up more than usual through Monday – but I will respond as soon as I am able. :)

          I’d love to know more about you both:

          – What is your relationship with Christ like?
          – What is your husband’s relationship with Christ like?
          – Why does he want a divorce?
          – What does he want in the marriage?
          – What do you want in the marriage?
          – What was his parents’ marriage like?
          – What was your parents’ marriage like?
          – Is there any history of abuse in either of your pasts or in the marriage?
          – Is there any mental issue, history of violence, infidelity or drug/alcohol addiction?

          If possible, I’d love for you to read the posts at the top of my home page about disrespect, respect and biblical submission.

          I will be glad to walk beside you on this road. We will pray for you to draw nearer to Christ than ever and for God to work in your husband’s heart and for healing for your marriage.

          • Christine
            October 18, 2013 at 10:36 am #

            Hello April,

            Thank you for answering my post. We have been married for 23 years and I love my family dearly. I am a christian and I love Jesus. I have not always been respectful but am now trying to change. To give you a little history. My husband is a christian but feels disappointed in the church and can be quite synical at times. He was the minister of music and has been raised to fear and honor God. He is a PK. There was infidelity that I found out about and I held it over his head and was 7 years. I was cold and dismissive. I was angry but now I see that I have to be responsible for my own actions regardless on what he did, I have to be accountable to God. I have repented and want to move on and with the help of God, I want my famiy restored. because I created so much distance due to my hurt, my husband tried everything in his power to try to reach me but I would not budge and now he wants out. He wants to be free to live. He wants a clean slate. I want my marriage and I want my family. I have concluded thru your blog that I need to focus on my realtionship with Christ and that is what I have been doing and I am changing. We have a in house seperation and it’s painful…so much pain. I know God is carrying me, but I need help

            His parents had a long, good marriage. Mom died of Cancer a year into our marriage. I come from a broken home. my Mom has been married three times and is divorced now….

            • peacefulwife
              October 19, 2013 at 10:11 am #

              Christine,
              So heartbreaking!

              I am going to pray for you right now!

              Lord,
              I lift up this broken marriage to You. We seek Your will and Your glory! Convict both of these children of Yours of their sin. Reconcile them to Yourself. Let every stronghold of the enemy come crashing down. Let them be released from this prison of bitterness and resentment. Heal each of then and their family!

              • paula
                October 19, 2013 at 10:26 am #

                Praise God…I receive this prayer in the name of Jesus. Thank you so much! My heart is breaking for my kids as I prepare or we prepare to find a way to tell them. I can’t speak just tears…Only Jesus knows the pain. What to do now Lord..What to do??? I look to Jesus.

                Thanks again

  7. Aaron-Hintz
    November 7, 2013 at 4:10 pm #

    My guess is that you mean well.

    However, saying that divorce doesn’t heal ANYONE’S pain is a little extreme—it’s a basic cost-to-benefit analysis. I’m not a fan of divorce, but sometimes (and I’m guessing this is not the majority) a spouse finds him or herself in a marriage where the pain is just far too much of a hindrance for them as an individual to be good to their “problem” spouse or even to anyone else; that is, their very identity is being re-constituted in a bad way and is enough of a major stumbling block (Jesus pronounced woes for those causing others to stumble in their walk). There are people who are trained to deal with marriage conflict on a case-by-case basis, and I think something like this is something people should be contacting a professional about. Please don’t take this the wrong way, but inviting people to e-mail you about their marriage issues gives a certain appearance, and I just wonder what your qualifications are.

    My current wife is my first for the second time, and we’re going strong after 22 years so far; but I am not proud to this day of the fact that I needed a second go at it to get it right. I was the respondent in my dissolution situation, and basically it came down to my determination to do what I want despite my claim or appearance to be a Christian man. Again, I am not proud of this, but after 10 years of our marriage I came home and my wife’s things were gone and she did not even leave me a note—the papers arrived the very next day. I was angrier than I’d ever been in my life and cried only after a colleague of mine walked with me through some anxiety and grounding techniques six months later. If it wasn’t for a professional friend of mine I would have been too proud to hurry and ask for a trial separation instead—not to do something so final yet. A lot of times as men we hate losing; it doesn’t matter if it’s a game of squash or a wife. I hated the idea of rejection and the fact that I never saw it coming.

    It took just over 2 years for me to get out of the mode of thinking how she’s so bitter and doesn’t understand my needs etc. The simple fact was my faith was inconsequential and I was worse than an infidel or unbeliever, because I was one who REFUSED to love my wife by providing her with emotional care and presence and honor she was starving for. I wanted to be independent and married at the same time, and it doesn’t work that way—marriage is INTERdependent and while I was living out the perpetuation of my boyhood adventures, my wife was rotting inside thinking, “I didn’t get married to be alone”. I had emotional affairs with other women left and right, leaving my wife to bleed to death. Proverbs says “Hope deferred makes the heart sick”. It took me 2 years to repent.

    I was in a men’s group and I told the facilitator on the first day that if he was going to make us look like losers don’t even get started or I’ll just leave—stubborn. I did wrong and didn’t have a teachable spirit. I went to church once a week for three years before I met my wife, but I was NOT a true believer and NOT submitted to God and did NOT properly fear Him. If I stood before Him judgment day I could not really expect God to say, “Oh okay, in that case well done good and faithful servant” if after He confronted me about the quality of my marriage I said, “I can’t love that woman, nobody can; you told her to respect me—I don’t feel it”. That is not a likely scenario. I believe wives deserve to have a growing husband who is actually a Christian, not just in name only. I found out later that deep down I really believed all the “spiritual stuff” was for women and I would do just enough to let her think it made any difference; I am sad to say that I’ve met several men like this. The wife should not be the only one submitting to God and sometimes the husband must submit to the needs of his wife that may contradict what he’s always thought about a man’s role, he must put her first sometimes.

    You begin a lot of your statements with “I believe…” beliefs all need a basis in verifiable facts appropriate to the object of belief; actually knowing the couple and having the chance to observe their dynamics is key. There are situations that are not as extreme as physical violence where a separation may be in order–“extreme” or “major sin” is something that the couple should define and by the person on the receiving end of the mistreatment with their immediate support network. My wife knew what her threshold was before we married and communicated it to me, but I decided to push it.

    To me it was a MIRACLE and I will be forever grateful, because I’m not sure I would have ever truly taken the time to give any weight to what my wife tried to communicate to me many times had she not let me experience coming home to a ghost house, and seeing those papers was a catalyst. When a man loves a woman, he will change for her because he doesn’t want to lose her and because there is unimaginable pain if he sees her with some other fella that treats her better. All men and women are not the same, but I can say that most men are not taught to see change as a good thing; we tend to sacrifice what is within our comfort zone just to keep the relationship going. For the first time after she said she would try me again, I told her I simply cannot make it without her and I meant that. We share much more now and I find her utterly amazing.

    • peacefulwife
      November 7, 2013 at 5:46 pm #

      Aaron-Hintz,

      It is a pleasure to meet you! Thanks for sharing your story. I am SO GLAD that God has worked such a miracle in your life. :)

      Divorce itself doesn’t heal pain – only God can heal pain – was my statement. Simply getting divorced does not automatically bring healing the way that many of the wives I talk with seem to think it may. I hope that you saw that I did refer people to wise and godly counsel and that I did not say no Christian should ever divorce or separate. There can be times when it is necessary. I don’t deny that. I have every verse about marriage and divorce that is in scripture referenced at the bottom of the post.

      I have no doctorate degree in counseling. My qualifications are that God radically changed me from being a disrespectful, controlling wife to becoming the wife He desires me to be. He radically changed my marriage and my husband in time, as well. My husband asked me to teach other wives what I have learned. I take my calling from Titus 2:3-5 for the older wives to teach the younger. The only wisdom I have to offer is the wisdom of God’s Word, which applies to everyone and is the only source of absolute truth.

      I do frequently refer people to seek the appropriate help if they have serious situations in their marriage. I did that in this post, as well.

      God’s Word has more power than anything on earth to heal people’s hearts and to heal marriage -so I refer people to seek godly counsel.

      You are correct that beginning my statements with “I believe” weakened the impact. I have changed those statements to refer to the verses in scripture that back them up. Thanks!

      I’m so glad you and your wife are doing well now. I can’t wait to see all that God has in store for you both!

    • peacefulwife
      November 8, 2013 at 8:30 am #

      Aaron-Hintz,

      I can tell you this…

      My wisdom is worthless. You are absolutely correct.

      God’s wisdom is the thing I am depending on. His Word applies to all marriages. He is the Creator of men and women and He is the Creator of marriage – and His instructions about marriage work. He is also able to heal even the most broken relationships.

      I don’t change people.

      But I have seen God change hundreds of women in the past year. I have seen many marriages saved from divorce. I have seen people reconcile after getting divorced. I have seen marriages strengthened and healed. I have seen women have to go through divorce because there was no other choice but I have seen them be able to live in God’s power, freedom, joy and peace in the midst of some pretty horrific storms. That is totally a God thing. Not a me thing.

      You are welcome here.

      I appreciate you stopping by. :)

  8. Aaron-Hintz
    November 9, 2013 at 1:46 pm #

    Hello!

    I’m glad you are keeping everything in perspective. I skimmed through and only read about half the first time (it’s a long post). And no you do not need a doctorate to help people. The bible teaches in Ephesians 4 and Galatians 6 that believers have a responsibility to help each other with their growth in God and sometimes that means correction. I’ve learned that sinful human nature doesn’t like to hear certain things regardless of how true it may be; for many years in my marriage, I was simply hardheaded. No one could tell me anything regardless of how seasoned with grace their speech was–not my wife, not my brother, not my kids, not even my pastor for a bit.

    As qualifications go, I changed my career focus after earning a master’s in social psychology with a counseling concentration, and became an optometrist 5 years ago. My brother stayed in “the people industry” and continues to practice on a military base in San Diego. I it’s so interesting how I see more metaphors than ever about God’s perspective now that I work on eyes than when I was this go-to expert for different family configurations in various forms of crisis–so many lessons. Not to be cliche, but I can see clearly now.

    I’m taking my wife to a classy restaurant along with my brother and his wife this weekend who have been married for 25 years, because he’s a Veteran and he gets to eat free. We all pray together monthly because marriages are in trouble like never before and we don’t want to assume we’re safe just because we’re past the 20-year mark. Their marriage survived his infidelity when he was younger and still active duty. Maybe you can pray for people like us who worry about this new generation (our kids) who seem to have almost absolutely no interest in marriage and think it is a waste of time and prison and misery and “too many complications” and all the rest. We have an adopted son from a rural part of Japan and over the course of a few visits to relatives back home, he has visited with so many young people like himself who are successful career-wise but they are not interested in marriage or even just sex in a “committed relationship” (as it tends to be fashionable here in America); he says they is like an androgynous and asexual culture there.

    So, don’t want to be too long, just keep doing what you’re doing and know that there are a few men out here that do get it and not all are too selfish and immature to treat the wife like a human being and cherish her.

  9. Sw
    November 30, 2013 at 4:34 pm #

    What do you do when your spouse wants divorce

    • peacefulwife
      November 30, 2013 at 4:52 pm #

      SW,

      Well… you can tell him that you don’t want a divorce. You can seek God’s face. You can pray. You can seek godly counsel. If they insist on leaving, you can’t make them stay.

      I Corinthians 7 describes this situation.

      Sounds very painful!

      Praying for you!

      Let me know if I can do anything or if you need to talk.

      • D
        January 12, 2014 at 3:33 am #

        I have to say I believe divorce is ok with infidelity. I know that God can restore it and have heard of it. With my ex he was a porn addict from early teens through most of our marriage. I was SO disrespectful to him and didn’t realise it until we separated and God rebuked me severely in private. I was honestly unbearable and I’m surprised he stayed with me as long as he did before he just decided he’d had enough. I repented for my behaviours to him, apologised for all I could think of. However he had gone so far into the perversion he was sleeping with prostitutes, he molested one of our children, he sexually assaulted a girl we knew, etc. We did try throughout our marriage to work on him getting help (before he did all this). But I still today can’t help but feel if I could have been a true Christian to him and loved him well, he may have been able to get help earlier and avoid the depravity into which he now lives. Not to mention now we are battling in court as he is trying to take our children from us (I remarried). Seeing as he lies about all he has done, I believe he would reoffend if he had our children but the court systems are very twisted. I personally felt very very, VERY free to be divorced from that man and to move on with life. But it feels as though you are literally going to die. I felt physical pains in my chest, as though half of my soul had been torn from me when we separated. I hate the devil and his works, and I hate that I was so blind, stubborn and full of pride in my life. If only I had read these blogs and been mature enough to apply them in my early adulthood, I believe firstly I wouldn’t have married someone who treated me the way he did prior to our marriage, and secondly my marriage would have been on much better grounds.I struggled to have ANY respect for a man who was imagining having sex with other women, watching porn, and trying to lead me completely 100% against God in most things.

        • peacefulwife
          January 12, 2014 at 7:24 am #

          D,

          Oh my goodness! :( What a heart-wrenching story, my sister!!!!!!! I just weep for you both and for your children.

          I understand why you felt free to divorce this man. What a nightmare.

          How I pray that God might use your experience and the wisdom that you have learned to warn other women and to help them make wise, godly choices.

          To destroy a covenant DOES tear your soul in two. I can’t imagine anything more spiritually painful other than being separated from God.

          When God showed me my sin 5 years ago, I was mortified at my 14+ years of disrespect, rebellion against God, PRIDE, idolatry of SELF, control, hatred, contempt, unforgiveness, bitterness…

          I didn’t understand, “Why couldn’t God have had me wake up that first awful summer we were married?”

          I wanted to erase those 14 years.

          But now – I know exactly why God woke me up when He did. And how grateful I am that He didn’t leave me in my sin! God, in His sovereignty, is now using my sin to draw thousands of women to Himself around the world. It blows my mind every day.

          I don’t know God’s plans for you, D. But, I do know that He is able to make something very beautiful from your life.

          I pray for healing for you and for your precious children.

          I pray for God’s greatest glory in your new marriage!

          I pray for God to open your ex husband’s spiritual eyes and to bring him to salvation and to regenerate and heal his soul.

          Sending you the biggest hug my dear friend!

          Much love,
          April

  10. Jaqueline
    March 28, 2014 at 3:54 pm #

    I don’t get it… why should I stay with my husband anymore when he is… demented? He IS a christian- He was one of many Christians who witnessed to me long ago and helped me see Christ. BUT.. my husband has become a drunk over the years and developed some extreme weirdness… he would love to be a “nudist”. He loves to walk around thehouse nude and even mow the lawn and stuff nude. We live in the middle of NOwhere so no one is around but it dismayed me.

    THEN… he got DUIs. THEN he got busted.. for.. FONDLING him self in public.
    This was the last straw.
    I’m done. I do not want to be married to a pervert. Even if he repents, I can’t get past the nasty picture of him being a creep, a major weirdo. I do not want him near me.

    • peacefulwife
      March 28, 2014 at 4:11 pm #

      Goodness, Jacqueline!! :(

      What you are describing does not sound like a man who is seeking to live for Christ. I can understand why you may feel you need to separate. Are there mental health issues or other addictions? Praying for you and your husband!

  11. Jen
    July 24, 2014 at 12:44 pm #

    April, thank you for this. A professing Christian very close to me is considering divorce for something other than adultery or her spouse’s wishing to leave, and is even being sort of egged and needled on by a parent who is a professing Christian, and it is tearing me up (because there is also a baby involved). To compound matters, when I spoke to the “encourager”, I cheerfully (as possible!) ran through several Bible stories (Abraham telling Sarah to say she was his sister—twice!) and verses about divorce, and was immediately turned into the bad guy. :( I had to hang up the phone after quickly ending the conversation, lest I say something I oughtn’t (also, my husband told me not to talk to the person about actual divorce, and I felt I’d already overstepped that, though he thought I was okay).

    Also considering what we are told in, for instance, 2 Thess. 3:6, 14-15, I Cor 5:11, and Matthew 18:15-17, I mentioned it to my husband because I’m not sure *what* to do now regarding *two* people, he…well, I think he was rather shocked, really (his Bible background is not so good, and we are studying up as much as we both can, but apparently he hadn’t stumbled across that yet! We’ve all been there, right? So I’m not mad at or feeling superior to him, thank God) and said, “Well, we can’t shun so-and-so…”. So I am feeling almost devastated, because this puts me in the place of having to choose to obey him or obey God (who tells me to obey my husband).

    Anyhow. For the past 20 hours or so I’ve been digging and digging into the Word seeking help, but just knew you would have a good collection of sound Biblical help here! I’m so glad you did. Thank you for putting it together. I figure if worse comes to worse, we can always go talk to one of our pastors to see what they say. Regardless, God has it in His hands…if 20 hours of digging around has taught me anything, it is that at least! (More than that, of course, but it is a tremendous comfort.)

    God bless! xoxo

    • peacefulwife
      July 24, 2014 at 4:16 pm #

      Jen,

      Such a painful situation for everyone. Divorce always is, it seems. And to watch a friend divorce for sinful and unbiblical reasons is very, very hard, especially when you know God can heal.

      Most churches today don’t practice church discipline, except on the staff members, sadly. So there is not a lot of biblical shunning going on. That is a church thing, the pastor or elders or leaders of a church meet with people who are unrepentant about their sin and if they will still not repent, the church decides to shun them. It is designed to help bring the unrepentant person to repentance and back to God.

      You may want to look up a post (you can search it on my home page) – giving godly advice to girlfriends.

      In the meantime, we will pray for God to open this wife’s eyes, and her husband’s too, and to bring them to Himself and also to restore and heal their marriage.

      If she won’t listen to you, you cannot force her to obey God. I have, sadly, experienced that more times than I can count here. It is very very hard to watch someone destroy her family and to know what lies ahead and to see the train wreck coming and to be powerless to stop it.

      But you cannot control her. She has free will. Only God can open her eyes.

      If she won’t listen and she goes ahead with the divorce, she may come to you for counsel. If she truly desires godly counsel, share I Corinthians 7 and the passages about divorce with her if you believe God desires you to. But what I would suggest not doing is not just giving her sympathy and saying nothing. If she just wants sympathy after she made a sinful choice to divorce, you are not the one who can help her. If she really wants to see God and repent and make things right, then maybe you can speak to her. But ultimately, this is her choice and she will answer to God for it.

      You may need to back away from her. We will pray for healing for her and her husband and their marriage, for wisdom for you and your husband and for strengthening for your marriage, too. If your husband doesn’t want to “shun” her, seek to honor him. But if you see her trying to get you to justify her sin, please don’t. And share your concerns with your husband. This is a very awkward and painful situation to be in with a friend you love dearly. How I pray God will open her eyes and bring healing to her, her husband and their marriage. And – I don’t know the details of her situation, whether she is divorcing for biblical reasons or not. The reasons that are biblical are pretty narrow. But I certainly don’t judge her. I trust her to God’s sovereign hands.

      It will be important for you not to carry the emotional and spiritual weight and baggage of your friend’s situation, but to lay it down before Jesus and allow Him to work.

      Much love!
      April

      • Jen
        July 28, 2014 at 9:48 pm #

        April, thank you for your thoughts, and I apologize for not being able to respond until now. Many of the same things have gone through my mind. Of course I will honour my husband, though it is going to be a little difficult on several levels. Mostly I fervently pray and hope it does not happen, and that they pull through this difficult time and she does not make a very bad decision (this does not fall into the legitimate divorce category, Biblically speaking). Then I won’t have to deal with these fears and worries! The person is family, so backing away would be very difficult—especially since her mother is, as I said, backing and encouraging her in this, both women are professing—and the husband and his mother are both new-ish Christians! His mother just came to the Lord around Christmastime. That is what makes it all so awful, seeing Christians messed up in this and being a bad witness to those who don’t necessarily know better.

        I do understand the purpose of the refusing to associate—even Paul, IIRC, says it is to shame them and bring them back to repentance! But he also tells us about the danger of such leaven, and warns us to be careful because it can corrupt us, too. This would not be easy to do in any situation, and this especially. Ugh!

        Of course, should she come to me I would have to use God’s word. I’ve already done so when she has verbally fretted or complained about the situation—sometimes I think we women need to be reminded of those “guardrails” God has set up, or we’re likely to just go gaily flying right over them in search of our own desires. My hope is that hearing God’s word encourages and gives her strength, even though it sounds “harsh”. That is all I can offer, really, other than prayer.

        Thank you, too, for reminding me that this is not my burden, not entirely, anyhow. My husband and I have discussed it a couple of times at length—indeed, after I posted here he took me out for a milkshake and a fun round of mini-golf so we could talk and relax a bit, because this has been really wearing on me—because we are both distressed by the situation. That has helped me feel better.

        Thank you for the encouragement, April!

        • peacefulwife
          July 29, 2014 at 8:41 am #

          Jen,
          I am so glad you are seeking God and desire to obey His Word. And what a blessing for your husband to take you out for a time of fun and relaxation together. :)

          I trust God will give you wisdom, power, strength and courage as you seek Him with all your heart. I can’t wait to see all He has in store for you and your marriage!!!!

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