This originally appeared as a weekly devo for whillschurch.org.
This past Sunday I unwrapped the myth of “Marriage Solves Everything.” Messages on marriage tends to make us all look introspectively at our marriages. In some cases this brings about a sense of thankfulness, in other cases – it can bring some major disappointment and bitterness.
I had a few suggestions on Sunday for both singles and married – namely to stop complaining and nagging. Start being thankful. Start praying FOR your spouse, not against him or her and get professional help. It’s a good start. But let me tackle a couple of other considerations here.
Expectations can bring a huge pile of hurt for people. UNMET expectations to be more precise. Not all expectations are fair or even right but they should be verbalized so that all parties involved know what they are getting into. Lifestyle, kids, cars, money, church, faith, activities, health and fitness, holiday traditions – they add up if they aren’t being met. And not all expectations are equal. They shouldn’t be.
The Scriptures have some expectations that should be front and center – a Christ-follower, consumed by the Spirit, growing in Christ. If you are dating, I’d urge you to not compromise on these. If you look at the person you are dating and think – “You know, one day he (she) will “grow” into becoming a Spirit-consumed Christ-follower,” that is already a huge warning sign. It means that you already see some thing in them that isn’t good or isn’t immature. If you already see it – it’s a bigger issue than you think.
I’m not saying that he (or she) has to be perfect. None of us would have ever gotten married if that were the case. I am saying that not all our expectations are equal and marriage is going to challenge some (all) of those expectations in our life.
What If I Married The Wrong Person?
What’s a person to do if they find themselves in a marriage that is a disaster? One isn’t a believer, isn’t meeting expectations, it’s hard work, it’s on the brink of divorce, there have been major trust issues – the list could go on. What is there to say to folks who think they married the wrong person?
Let’s steal the advice Paul gave the church in Corinth in 1 Corinthians 7. Here’s the overview:
If you are married to an unbeliever and he/she wants to stay married to you – stay married. Your relationship with God somehow, someway is having an effect on him/her. (1 Corinthians 7:13-14)
If your unbelieving spouse leaves you – let them go.
If you are two believers that are married – stay married. Your marriage is pointing to something deeper.
Hebrews 12:14 says this –
Try to live in peace with everyone, and seek to live a clean and holy life, for those who are not holy will not see the Lord.
Traditionally the three “A’s” are what people look for to divorce – adultery, abuse, or abandonment. There are cases when it is wise to get out of the house and get away – that is for sure. However, don’t confuse with extreme unhappiness, extreme disappointment with abuse.
I do know that God doesn’t waste pain. He doesn’t waste hardship. He doesn’t waste disappointment. He uses all things for good in the lives of those who love Him. He is using this – some way, some how. It’s hard to see at times. It may very well be impossible to see today – but He’s got a track record we can trust.
And the belief that “Divorce solves Everything” is just as dangerous and wrong as “Marriage Solves Everything.”