WOW!! You guys ask some GREAT questions!! We've been praying, asking God for His wisdom to share with you. We're tackling two questions this week, and we'll keep answering every Wednesday... keep the questions coming!
Q: How can two families of professing Christians idly sit by and watch a marriage disintegrate without saying an encouraging word or suggestions of reconciliation. Instead, they choose sides and watch a marriage, family and legacy go through the bowels of hell without so much as one ounce of concern. Has the world become this tolerant of separation and divorce? I want to know if you think it is a sin for the leaving spouses parents and siblings to discourage the marriage. The same question applies to family of the spouse who was abandoned.
A: When we first started in marriage ministry, it baffled us the number of couples we counseled who said that NO one in their lives told them "NO! STOP! DIVORCE IS NOT THE ANSWER." We realize that the culture is a disposable one, bent toward sin. It's so much easier (from the culture's perspective) to just move on. But that is not what God tells us...He created married to be until death do us part, to have two become one flesh, to refine us through our marriage, to reflect Him to the broken world around us. God tells us that as long as you are breathing, there is hope! We've just got to go to His Word to get it- to know God's hope, we've got to spend time in God's Word, knowing Him and His plan for us.
Since we don't know the individual people or their motivations, we'll speak broadly to answer your question:
- People often respond from their emotions instead of God's Word. They want to protect the person they feel has been wronged from further pain and anguish in the marriage, instead of clinging to God's promises to refine, restore, redeem us through difficult circumstances. There's no redemption without brokenness, right?
- People distort God's Word. They choose to camp out and build their perspective on one scripture instead of living in the entire Word of God. Most frequently we hear people cite Matthew 5:32, 19:9 or 1 Corinthians 7:15 when encouraging someone to leave a marriage, but they've missed the point that Jesus was making- MOSES permitted divorce, not God. God stands firmly on what He said in Genesis 1:27 and 2:24.
- People are fearful to speak truth because it is counter cultural and may make the person pursuing the divorce angry.
Through the course of Sherry standing for our marriage, she received all sorts of advice and counsel, much of it unsolicited. She became diligent in knowing God's Word and running everything she heard through the filter of God's Word. If it lined up, she prayed about it and considered it. If it didn't line up with God's Word, she rejected it and sometimes explained that to the person offering their 'wisdom' that it was contrary to the Word. Couples need to hear God's truth, hope and vision for their marriages, and it is our passion to share it with anyone who will listen, that the culture will take back MARRIAGE for GOD!
Where is a good place to start in getting a solid, biblical understanding of marriage? We recommend the free download This Momentary Marriage by John Piper and Voddie Baucham's Permanence View of Marriage in our Marriage Toolbox.
Q: From a wife: How can a husband and wife make life choices together in a Biblical way that pleases God? Do both the husband and wife need to hear from God?
In God's Word, we see places where He speaks to one spouse, but not the other. Think about Abraham and Sarah or Zechariah & Elizabeth...both times, the husband hears from God, but the wife doesn't. And the response from Sarah? She laughs. God doesn't share Elizabeth's response to the news. We've not found a place in God's Word that says a husband and wife must be in agreement about a decision, only that he is to lead, she is to submit, and he is ultimately responsible for his wife/marriage/family.
From Sherry: A big part of submission is asking sharing what we think/feel/have prayed about regarding a decision with our husband, then rest in knowing ultimately he is responsible for that decision. He will be the one answering to God. As our husbands make these decisions (whether we agree with them or not), it is then our responsibility to trust God with the outcome, to cheer our husbands on through the execution of the decision, affirm him when it comes to fruition, and be a safe, encouraging place for him to make a mistake. Your husband may surprise you with decisions that turn out exceedingly better than you expected!
Got Questions? Read Q&A Time and email us your questions!