Relationships are hard. They were not designed that way, but they are now. Have you ever wondered why? Or do you think you're the only person that struggles with their marriage? How did you view marriage as a teenager or young adult? Did you look at someone's perfect wedding day photos and say, that's going to be me someday? Maybe you expected, "happily ever after" to mean we're just so perfect for each other we'll never have any problems.
If that's what you were told, taught, or shown you're probably reading this because you have now experienced something else, and it hurts. First, I want to say how sorry I am that you are going thru this. Secondly, I want you to know that God originally designed marriage very differently but because of an episode in human history that you can read about in Genesis 3, marriage is broken. All relationships are broken because sin entered the world. In the book of Romans 8:22 God says, “the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now.” This verse points to how everything in the world is broken and getting worse. The entire creation is waiting for the hope promised by God to repair/restore everything back to its original design before Genesis 3 and the fall.
Hopefully someone told you expect to fight and struggle together to love God and each other imperfectly but count on God to provide grace and forgiveness. Marriages need two people that seek the other persons welfare before their own to be successful. When two people put their own needs first the relationship begins to deteriorate. Most of us can recall when that started and why. What we often ignore is our own contribution to that process.
Then comes the murmuring of people who say they care about us. More often than not, the message we hear from our friends and relatives is that our spouse is “toxic”. It starts with, “He/She should not ____,” or “they better fix how they _____.” Outsiders that only criticize our spouse, without asking us how we contributed to the problem are enemies to our marriage. They tell us that our struggles are “not fair”, and have you heard this one yet? “You DESERVE better.”
Secular society finds multiple erroneous influences because they do not study what God tells us. Beware of these vain philosophies because they may seem attractive at first, but they will not produce the fruit you think they will. Most of them are not even logical but instead they encourage you to make decisions based on your feelings. Living your life based on feelings is always a recipe for disaster. Instead, we should listen to 1st Thessalonians 5:18 which says, “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
When we listen to this type of gossip and slander about our spouse, we are adding to the sin that is harming our marriage in the first place. It feels good for so called friends and relatives to tell us we’re not to blame for relational challenges, but the truth is we’re all guilty.
We do NOT deserve better than our current spouse, we get exactly what we deserve. If there is conflict, we added to it if we didn’t start it. If there is misunderstanding, we may not have created it, but we didn’t prevent it or seek wisdom to correct it. If there is no more love, we didn’t cultivate and nurture that love. Sin can destroy our marriage because of what we do or because of what we didn’t do.
God is never the author of evil. He will however allow us to choose wickedness and guide us to repentance. We must respond to this call. Couples never fall out of love. They “fall out” of repentance and forgiveness.
Sadly, some marriages cannot be saved. Due to the wickedness of unilateral divorce laws, you may be forced to divorce. Please do not hear what I’m not saying. There are situations where one spouse is engaged in sin that can be life threatening or dangerous. Again, this is a situation where you may need to divorce, and God has given us two reasons in the Bible that cover these situations. We may divorce when the other person abandons the marriage or engages in sexual infidelity. Adultery is a form of abandonment as is physical abuse.
But if you’re not divorced yet, don’t give up hope. Rejoice that God has proved his love for you by suffering more than you ever will. And he did this to pay a debt you owed. Preach this to yourself daily. Only then can you attempt to save your marriage. I spent 7 years in a loveless marriage after my wife left me the first time. I suffered significantly but I gained 7 years as a father that I would never have had. I don’t say this to boast in my strength but in God’s strength to keep me during that time. Suffering can be the crucible God uses to make us who he wants us to be. I know my new wife has benefitted greatly from my spiritual growth during that time. I learned how to repent and forgive. If you must get divorced, you will have to learn to deal with it. God will give you much grace! But don’t let the divorce be because of you.
The post below from Facebook encouraged me to write this article this morning. I only have one correction for Lawyer Leslie…There are counselors that will tell you the truth’s she shares!! I’m one of them. I also counsel FOR FREE. I’m not a typical marriage counselor like you might expect. I’m a “defibrillator counselor” that passes off to true biblical marriage counselors/pastors once we stabilize the patients. My job is to scare you and your spouse into getting back together. Leslie does a good job of that below.
Remember, nothing is impossible with God. If you need help let’s talk. Email details of your situation and contact information to Hope@SavingFatherhood.org
Same Text as above plus some links to Leslie's sites.
You can also listen to our episode with Leslie last year - https://savingfatherhood.org/29-alienated-mom-goes-to-law-school/
What are the risks:
1) you will have to give your kids up a % of the time
2) you open the door to a 3rd party, such as a step parent helping raise you kid
3) you risk losing you kids entirely if the other parent engages in alienation
4) if the other parent doesn’t agree with extracurricular activities, then you child might not be able to ever be fully part of an extra curricular program
5) you have no right to tell your former spouse what to do and how to parent your kids and you are not there to witness it
6) you risk your child growing up calling your former spouses significant other “mom” or “dad”
7) you risk your children picking wrong friend groups because they feel insecure and gravitate to friends with issues. Thus, potentially leading into drugs, pregnancies, etc..... the list goes on and on.....
8)false allegations that you sexually abused your kid, you engaged in domestic violence, you have a substance abuse problem.... possible arrests for the first time in your life.. ruin your career because of the false allegations... coaching your child to think you somehow abuse them..
...is your inability to deal with your spouse so bad you are willing to take the risks I mentioned? Either take precautions to not get pregnant unless you have wisdom, insight, & time to truly know the person prior or suck it up and learn to keep you marriage together and understand you will accept a lot of crap trying to hold a marriage together.....but the ability to parent your kids will remain intact