Thursday, June 23, 2011

Banishing The Ugly Word

There is one word that should never be uttered between a husband and a wife. Especially if the couple claim to be Christians. It should be banished from a married couple's vocabulary. It shouldn't even be whispered while walking away from an argument. It is detrimental to the covenant relationship.

Divorce - In case you're wondering, God hates this word. Divorce, like Hell, was never in His original plan for human beings. What causes one to even consider this word? The hardness of one's heart. Selfishness. Plain and simple.  

"For the Lord God of Israel says 
 That He hates divorce, 
 For it covers one's garment with violence."
 ~Malachi 2:16a

"He said to them, 'Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, permitted you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so."
~ Matthew 19:8
After performing a Google search on "Reasons for Divorce," I realized the same ten reasons repeatedly appeared. We'll take a look at five today and five tomorrow. Here are the top five:

1. Infidelity: This is the one condition that God allows divorce for. "And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery." ~ Matthew 19:9

I have witnessed couples where infidelity has been an issue decide to work through the unfaithfulness and walk in forgiveness, honoring their marriage. This is a beautiful testimony to God's forgiveness and love for His people. Divorce does not have to be the answer, but this is the one condition that God allows for it.

2. Communication Breakdown: If I don't spend time with my husband, talking with him, sharing with him, even arguing with him, communication will certainly break down. He has learned through working that if we want good communication, we need to apply ourselves to it. We make eye contact. We set aside distractions. We don't allow for interruptions. We speak to the person, and we ask the person to repeat what we've said. This makes certain that they've understood us. We allow for questions, remembering there are no stupid ones. We provide answers, and if we are unsure of the answer, we tell the person we'll find the answer and get back to him or her. We all communicate on a daily basis. It takes work, whether it's communicating with our boss, our best friend, or our spouse. We wouldn't quit our job because of a lack of communication. We would work at resolving the issue in order to maintain your position within the company. So why would we allow the same issue to destroy our marriages?

3. Abuse, whether Physical, Emotional, or Psychological: Hurt people hurt people. Abuse typically stems from an abusive past. I dated a guy who started off emotionally abusing me. He'd get angry and decide to sling some words. Eventually, the pattern changed and the physical abuse began. And now that I'm thinking back on it, there were two others I'd dated who had the same pattern. It didn't take marrying them to discover their abusive behaviors. I knew the fathers of two of these guys. Their fathers were angry, abusive men. I'm almost positive the third guy's father would show the same traits. Am I judging them? No. But the Bible clearly states, "Make no friendship with an angry man, And with a furious man do not go, Lest you learn his ways And set a snare for your soul." ~ Proverbs 22:24-25
If you find yourself in a situation where your spouse has suddenly become abusive, get help. God doesn't desire for his children to suffer harm by others. There is help for both of you. Seek out your pastor and a professional Christian counselor. You may need to separate for a period of time while you both receive counsel, healing, and restoration. Especially if the abuse is physical by nature.

4. Financial Issues: This is reported as being one of the top reasons for marital strain. A spouse loses a job. One is a spender while the other is a saver. Here is what I've learned about finances in relation to marriage: 
a) Don't keep separate accounts. When a man and a wife say "I do," they become one flesh. What's mine becomes yours. What's yours becomes mine. This includes the finances.
b) God is our Provider, our Jehovah Jireh. Technically, it all belongs to Him, and we are merely the stewards of His blessing. (See Luke 16:10-12)
c) The love of money is the root of all evil. Many times we hear that money is the root of all evil. Nope. It's the LOVE of money that's the root. You can't serve two masters, because you'll love the one and hate the other. Your love for your spouse should come before all financial matters. It's proper order. "For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows." (See Luke 16:13)

5. Sexual Incompatibility: One spouse has a stronger sex drive than the other. One spouse has a difficult time reaching sexual satisfaction. One spouse comes home exhausted from a day's labor and is too tired to perform. 
"Nevertheless, because of sexual immorality, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband.
Let the husband render to his wife the affection due to her, and likewise also the wife to her husband.
The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. And likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does.
Do not deprive one another except with consent for a time, that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again so that Satan does not tempt you because of your lack of self-control."
~ 1 Corinthians 7:2-5
It's very clear that God desires for us to meet our spouse's sexual needs. If the drive of one spouse doesn't line up with the others', God says not to deprive one another. That means you do it anyway. If you're having difficulty reaching satisfaction, talk about it. Tell your spouse what he or she can do differently to help you get there. Get a book about sex and read it together.
If you've been sexually abused and intimacy is difficult for you, admit that to yourself and to your spouse. Seek professional Christian counseling to help you overcome and find healing in that area. Don't allow it to cause a rift in your marriage. It isn't your fault or your spouse's. 
Remember: "Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge." ~ Hebrews 13:4 

Join me tomorrow for the next 5 common reasons people divorce and what God's word says. 

Photo Courtesy of Alex Bruda

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