Stay Married to That!

by GfG on September 9, 2011 · 6 comments

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I want to clarify a point I made in one of my most recent posts (Don’t Marry That): choosing poorly in a spouse makes for a very difficult marriage and often leads to divorce.  This is not honoring to God.  Divorce is very, very serious and Biblcally should occur in only two situations (sexual immorality and when a non-Believer leaves a Believer).  There are a plethora of reasons why divorce is bad, but suffice it to say it’s a very painful experience that breaks hearts, including the LORD’s.

So, do not date men who have serious characters flaws.  Just don’t.  I went over a few I’ve seen as of late in that post.  If your heart has been given to a man who has these problems, take it back and go heal.  God can and will refresh you.

That being said, I want to make another point: that post was for women who are dating (possibly even engaged), NOT for married women.

If you are married to a man with a lying problem, with a porn problem, with a control problem or with a rage/anger problem, then you should seek Biblical counsel, you should NOT divorce.  These reasons are not Biblical grounds for divorce.  They are Biblical grounds for seeking help from godly, loving Christians, including your elders.

A marriage can be healed from these serious problems, but it usually takes a lot of work, a lot of time and a lot of heartache.  The Holy Spirit must, I mean, must lead this healing.  Anything else is a band-aid, temporary in nature and effect.

Have I seen a marriage recover from any of these ungodly and destructive character flaws in a man?  Yes, yes, I have.  It was a beautiful work of the LORD.  Truly.  Within one year a couple went from abuse to pregnancy with seriously amazing love and relational connection, only because the LORD led the healing and used His Word to “teach, correct, reproof and train” the man and the lady as they committed to saving their marriage.  They worked hard and God did an amazing work.  Admittedly, it was unusual in speed of healing, but I give credit to their commitment to heal/reconcile and God’s special blessing.

If you are married, you are supposed to stay married.  Even if you don’t like your husband.  Even if you don’t admire your husband.  Even if you have come to hate (which is sin, by the way) your husband.

That is why I shared the destructive character flaws that a woman should flee from in a suitor.

Have I seen a marriage last with one of these character flaws in a man?  Yes, yes, I have.  It’s both heartbreaking and inspiring to watch.  I know a woman who is committed to her marriage despite her husband’s serious sin.  She chooses (sometimes hour by hour) to honor the LORD in how she responds to her husband, how she deals with his sin and how she loves him.  I often weep for her.  She would be the first to tell you to flee from these issues in a man before you marry him.

Choose wisely, ladies, whom you marry.  Then stay that way.  

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Thyme September 9, 2011 at 8:14 am

I think it is extremely important to really know someone before you marry them. In our church we see so many couples who get married who know each other for less than a year. I have a friend who met her husband and was engaged to him 3 months later, and married him 3 months after that. I couldn’t imagine only knowing my husband for 6 months before marrying them!! My husband and I met 7 years ago, and dated for 3 years before we got married, and I STILL feel like I’m learning new things about him! I truly believe that I didn’t know him, or his heart when we’d only known each other for 6 months.

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GfG September 9, 2011 at 8:22 am

I hear ya.
I used to think that, but now I think it’s possible to have a wonderful marriage with someone you’ve known only a short time IF and only IF A) you are a mature Christian who views marriage Biblically and loves the LORD B)people you know and love have known the person you are courting for a long time or C) the elders of his church have known him for a long time and admire and trust the person. I’ve seen a man dupe a woman after she knew him less than a year and married and it’s not pretty. His family was surprised by how he behaved in front of her, but thought maybe he’d changed. That’s an admirable hope, but I still think the woman should have known that he was behaving completely uncharacteristic.
My grandparents knew each other six months and had a long happy marriage and I hear that often about marriages before the 60s. In today’s culture, though, most people view marriage differently (ie, something to exit if you aren’t “feeling it” anymore) so I really believe that character witnesses (so to speak) are vitally important.

Isn’t it wonderful to continue to learn about our spouses? What a gift they are.

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Thyme September 9, 2011 at 1:29 pm

Of course there are ALWAYS exceptions, to almost every rule, lol. And for some people it works out. I was not raised with ANY religion whatsoever (my mother was very strict on that, actually) and everyone on my father’s side of the family is divorced (with the exception of my grandparents and great grandparents, but my father, uncle, 4 second cousins, 2 great uncles, everyone else) so before I met my husband I had very little faith in marriage, I’d had such a negative influence that I simply didn’t want to EVER get married. My husband changed my mind on that one ;) Marriage was VERY important to me.

So for me, it totally amazes me that marriages where people don’t know each other for long end up working out, like I said before the negative influence, and all those people had spouses that they dates for years before getting married!

But, as I’ve learned over the last few years, when you trust in God the miracles are amazing!!

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The Reader September 9, 2011 at 8:36 am

I would only shout out, loudly, that a woman being abused or whose husband is abusing her children, should get out and get to safety.

If her religious beliefs on divorce or the Godly counsel in her life tell her she must not divorce that man, she should still live separately from him while he is going to counseling and seeking help to overcome his rage/abusive tendencies, and she and the children, if there are any, should likewise seek counseling and healing as needed.

One should never never never feel she must stay in the same home with an abuser, ever, for any reason. Be that physical abuse, or emotional, or any other kind of abuse. (although, angry words aren’t always emotional abuse, and polite words aren’t always okay).

Allowing yourself or your children to be abused, continually, is far more harmful than any side effects of separation or divorce.

Also, please clarify that if a husband requests a divorce and leaves, even for an unbiblical reason, it is not a sin on the head of that woman to allow him to leave rather than bankrupt herself fighting an unwinnable fight. He would be in sin for asking for the divorce, in my opinion. Should she offer to repair the parts she’s able to repair? Yes, yes she should. But if he insists on leaving and is not willing to work on things, she cannot save the marriage herself and cannot be held responsible for such. She is then only responsible for herself after the divorce (and if we are following the strict biblical guidelines then that means she is not to remarry).

Lastly, remember/remind your readers that divorce is just as forgivable a sin (again, if we are granting that it is in fact a sin) as any other.

Most importantly though to anyone reading: If you are being abused, get out. Get to safety. Period. Heal your marriage, or try to, from separate, safe locations. Do not feel that “stay married” means you must silently endure abuse.

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GfG September 9, 2011 at 9:06 am

Thank you for chiming in, Reader.

To clarify: the marriage we watched go from abuse to pregnancy had a time of separation working towards reconciliation. The elders of their church were informed immediately, the woman was asked if she wanted to pursue criminal charges, and a time of separation was instituted immediately. It really was wonderful to watch how their church stepped in and helped this woman (not beautiful that it had to happen, just FYI). It was very Biblical.

One problem in dealing with these situations is the definitions of abuse. I agree that a woman who is being physically abused (or her children are!) should separate immediately. 100%. Verbal and emotional abuse are different and are very subjective. That being said, I believe a woman who is experiencing what she and/or her elders/Biblically wise friends believes is verbal or emotional abuse should A) seek counsel from Biblical counselors (this does not include pyschotherapy professionals whooften give anti-Biblical advice on all kinds of situations) B) should inform her elders and seek their advice and C) should have a plan for handling this on the spot (ex: “Honey, I love you, but the way you are speaking to me is unacceptable and goes against Scripture. I need you to go calm down. We can talk when you are no longer cussing me out/calling me names/screaming at the top of your lungs. If you won’t leave the area, I will have to.”). I do not believe a woman who is experiencing verbal or emotional abuse has grounds for divorce. Separation working towards reconciliation, maybe, but divorce no.

I agree that a woman can only do so much if a man insists on leaving, and vice versa. It is not a sin to sign a divorce paper when the other person insists on leaving and has taken all of the legal steps to do so.

Agreed, again, that all sin is forgivable. Gratefully. His mercy is beautiful.

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The Reader September 9, 2011 at 9:55 am

thanks GfG, for clarifying.

You are right, emotional/verbal abuse is subjective – that’s why I tried to differentiate that not all angry words are, and not all polite words aren’t. I definitely agree, seek Godly counsel on that; outside sources, that are trustworthy, are imperative in that case.

And I am very glad you clarified that the abuse to pregnancy relationship involved separation working towards reconciliation; for anyone who believes divorce is a sin as you do (I’m on the fence about it, honestly….), that is absolutely the only way to go. I just have known people who stayed in an abusive situation because “leaving is wrong” and it’s so hurtful. Sometimes the Godly counsel isn’t as Godly as it should be, ya know? Your friend was absolutely blessed to have the folks in her church respond as they did; not all church leaders are that strong on the stance of abuse. I’ve had pastors say to women and men, even where the man was abusive and not a Christian, “The wife is to love the husband and submit to him; the husband is to love the wife.” Sadly, what happened in that case is that the non-believing husband heard “the wife is to submit” and then used that to justify his abuse.

I know this is not what you were saying, at all!, but it’s situations like that which make me very vocal on the point that avoiding divorce (a worthy, worthwhile goal) does not mean stay and let yourself be abused. So glad to hear/read that you agree with that. Thanks very much for commenting further, and for this series of posts in general.

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