There’s no “one size fits all” explanation for divorce. No matter who files for separation first, initiates leaving or did what to whom, divorce hurts, as it should. Some people compare divorce to two sheets of paper glued together: no matter how hard you try, both sheets of paper will be damaged when you try to separate them.
Years ago, divorce was more of a worldly situation. Whenever a divorce hit a local church, it came as a shock. However, these days, divorce rates among Christians are increasing while lowering among people without a professing faith. It no longer surprises you when you hear that a couple is separating. So what’s happening to Christian marriages, and how can it be stopped? Can it be stopped? Here are some reasons why Christian marriages are failing and ways you can avoid becoming a statistic.
This truth is the most profound and straightforward reason marriages fail, due to sin. Romans 3:23 reminds us that we’ve all fallen short of God’s glory and sinned. Everyone is capable of committing sins against their spouse. It’s also easy to let sins accumulate. Even when sins aren’t directly aimed at your spouse, the marriage is affected because unconfessed sins weigh on your heart. However, 1 John 1:9 reminds us that God will forgive us and cleanse us of unrighteousness if we confess our sins. It’s never too late to get right with the Holy Spirit by confessing your sins, and it’s also never too late to fix your marriage.
You handle marriage like intense dating.
Another reason Christian marriages fail is that people don’t hold them with the respect they deserve. Marriage isn’t intense dating. Couples often get engaged and go into marriage believing that a divorce is an option if things don’t work out. They repeat “til death do us part” on their wedding day, but they’re thinking of an escape plan in their hearts. However, the Bible says that a couple becomes one flesh when they get married, creating a unit of two people. This could call for instant conflict because both union members are sinners. Arguments will happen, but that union illustrates the covenant between Jesus and His church, which shouldn’t be taken lightly.
As the years pass, it’s easy to forget why you fell in love with your spouse in the first place. Your vision is blurred by bad habits and annoying quirks of your spouse that drive you up the wall. You forget that your spouse is a good thing, a blessing to you. Proverbs 18:22 reminds us that the man who finds a wife finds a good thing and receives the Lord’s favor. The Bible also commands husbands to rejoice in their wives in Proverbs 5:18. This verse is meant for men, but women can also learn from it by rejoicing in their marriage and remembering why they fell in love with their spouse. A little gratitude can go a long way for both parties.
You give up too soon.
Couples typically give up instead of fighting for their marriage and digging in their heels. There are times when this doesn’t apply, like in cases of abuse and adultery. However, for couples who are ready to give up, thinking they’ve fallen out of love, consider the parable found in Luke 11:5-8. Prayer changes things. You can try self-help books, counseling, and passive-aggressive tactics, but going to the Lord about your marriage is the best solution. Start by praying persistently and keep fighting for your relationship.
You talk down to each other.
Speaking unlovingly to your spouse causes much damage, especially throughout the years. Wives and husbands are guilty of nagging, but women are typically associated with nagging. Proverbs 21:9 says it’s better to live in the corner of the roof than in a house with a grumpy wife. Both spouses should watch their words and seek gentleness instead of anger. Taking a deep breath to control your temper before talking to your spouse can be the key to saving a marriage. Try to be someone your spouse wants to spend time with instead of pushing them away, and they’ll do the same. Compassion is contagious.
You don’t know what love is.
As children, we’re taught about the world’s definition of love, typically lust posing as love. The true meaning of love is in the Bible, specifically in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7. This verse says that love is kind, patient and doesn’t boast or envy. It bears, believes, and endures all things. As you go through the list in this verse, think about how you feel about your spouse. Do you show kindness and patience? Do insecurity and jealousy overcome you? Are you constantly rude and irritable? Start with this list and watch how God changes you and your spouse.
You don’t satisfy your biblical responsibilities.
Unfortunately, this subject is touchy due to abuse and sin, but the Bible has explicit roles for wives and husbands in marriage. Marriages operate better within the boundaries of God’s ordained limits. Husbands are commanded to love, while wives are commanded to submit, as described in Ephesians 5:24-26. However, this doesn’t mean that husbands shouldn’t consider their wives’ opinions when leading the household and that wives shouldn’t love their husbands because marriage is a collaboration. In the Garden of Eden, God told Adam that he shouldn’t be alone and needed a helpmate. When wives and husbands fulfill their God-ordained roles, the marriage tends to run smoother. However, conflict comes into play when the positions are resented, abandoned or reversed.
You lack forgiveness.
Unfortunately, your marriage will be completely miserable or fail if you refuse to forgive. The Bible reminds us of this essential component in our Christian walk and marriage. When forgiveness for your spouse is hard to find, remember how much God has forgiven you and follow His example. This sentiment doesn’t mean you should condone your spouse’s repeated disrespect. Remember, forgiveness has limits.
The Christian divorce rates continue to rise, but restoration is possible if you keep your eyes on God. If you find yourself in the middle of a divorce, ask yourself if it’s worth fixing. After that, it’s time for you and your spouse to work together to save the marriage.