Divorce-Proofing Your Marriage
10 Lies that Lead to Divorce & Truths that Prevent It.
Consider the possibility that you contribute to ongoing or past problems.
I know it’s tough to admit. But a marital couple is composed of two people who bring unique issues to the relationship. Before you complain about what your partner is or is not doing, first take a hard look at yourself. Ask yourself these questions and answer honestly:
Do I carry old wounds from my past?
Am I operating out of fear or other unhealthy emotions?
Have I blamed my spouse for things that are really mine?
Am I allowing myself to be deceived, falling away from the truth?
Am I willing to believe change is possible?
Am I walking in a close and intimate relationship with God or have I relegated Him to a backseat position?
Do I even believe what God says is true?
When you allow deception to creep into your life – a little here, a little there – soon you deviate from God’s plan and become the enemy’s pawn. The further you venture from God’s truth, the more difficult it is to keep the marital covenant. Recognize that you have a great deal of influence over your spouse, but you have no control over his or her will. Recognize the influence you have over your spouse. Maybe you don’t feel influential, but you are. There is a well-known law in physics that states, “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.” Apply this axiom to your relationship.
For every action on your part in marriage, there is a spousal reaction, sometimes equal, sometimes opposite. You can only control your actions, regardless of how your partner behaves. No matter how bad things get, you can exercise self-control. This discipline is important and God promises it: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (Gal. 5:22-23).
When you exercise self-control, you concentrate far less on what your partner is doing and more on your own actions and reactions. A change in one person creates a change in another. It’s like a dance.
Couples create dances together. You behave one way; your spouse responds with a behavior. These actions and reactions repeat and follow a pattern. Over time, you lock into familiar, practiced, deeply ingrained dances. Some dances are very well known because they were rehearsed growing up with your first family. Other dances are learned with your partner and practiced over and over.
How do you change the dance - by changing your step in the dance. You can’t’ force your partner to move differently. Some spouses will make a new move based on suggestion or helpful feedback. Others will not. But you can create a different step.
When you suddenly change a move, the result will likely be tension. Either you relent to ease that tension and fall back into the old step, or you’ll maintain your new dance until your spouse will accommodate it. If you don’t give in, the dance has to change. It feels awkward at first, tense and terribly uncomfortable, but eventually the steps begin to form a new pattern, a new dance. Here’s your hope: by changing your step in the dance, the dance will change… if you don’t go back to the old way.
You must become aware of spiritual deception.
Marriage is a holy act. The dividing of two people through divorce is an attempt to sever the union of spirits. Divorce doesn't dissolve the union - it simply separates two partners physically. It only takes one person to sever the tie, but hosts of people are deeply affected for the rest of their lives, and conceivably into generations to come.
To be willing to dissolve a holy union, you must be deceived. The process of deception is slow and insidious. It begins with a little disappointment, unhappiness or wounding. You entertain the notion that someone or something else can make up the difference or provide something you don’t have. A small fracture widens.
"To be willing to dissolve a holy tie, you must be deceived. The deception process is slow and insidious."
You may be in the middle of very difficult circumstances with a spouse. You may even be separated.
Let me say a few words about separation. At times, marital separation is warranted to stop abusive behavior or to demonstrate emphatically that you mean business when dealing with unrepented, sinful behavior. Under specific circumstances and with careful planning, separation can be a step toward reconciliation. It can be a strategy used to say, “Knock it off. Get serious; get self-control; and stop misbehaving. When you can show me that you’re a changed person (over time), we’ll reunite.”
Separation can sometimes temporarily disrupt the negativity when couples are busy blaming each other and toxic in their interactions. The purpose of separation under these circumstances is to give individual spouses time and space to think more clearly about the relationship and work on personal issues. Time committed to prayer is essential. Prayer is directed toward asking God to reveal your part in the problem, not to seek His will about divorce. You already know His will is to reconcile. He told you so in His Word.
For the Christian, reconciliation should always be the goal. It requires both forgiveness and a true change or heart. One or both spouses may have to make serious changes in behavior. However, change usually begins with a willful decision to think and behave differently. Add God’s power to the mix, and reconciliation is entirely possible. I speak from professional experience.... More>>