There is one word that can severely damage if not cripple your marriage.
That word is divorce.
If either you or your spouse uses this word in any way regarding your marriage, nothing good can come of it.
Once the thought of possible separation and the dissolving of the marriage is brought into your marriage, it is very hard for that thought to be removed.
When one spouse uses divorce as either an option or a threat, the other will always wonder in the back of their mind if or when your marriage will end in divorce.
From the beginning of our marriage, Melissa and I agreed that the word divorce would never be used by either of us. It was as if that word was not even in our vocabulary.
Even when times were the hardest for us, we both knew that we would never separate or be divorced. The word divorce should never be used in your marriage either.
Biblically, there are only a couple reasons why the Lord permitted divorce. Did you catch that? The Bible only says the Lord permits divorce.
The bible says that divorce is permitted in two cases:
- Adultery (marital unfaithfulness)
- The un-believing spouse wants a divorce
The Lord permits someone to divorce their spouse but it is not a requirement or even prescribed by the Him in any situation.
We learn from Jesus how God designed marriage from the beginning in Matthew 19.
In this passage, the Pharisees are testing Jesus as to His knowledge of the word and as a means to trap Him with His own words.
“3And Pharisees came up to him and tested him by asking, “Is it lawful to divorce one’s wife for any cause?” 4He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, 5and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his Father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? 6So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” 7They said to him, “Why then did Moses command one to give a certificate of divorce and to send her away?” 8He said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. 9And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery.””
Matthew 19:3-9 ESV
The Matthew Henry Commentary explains this section of scripture very well.
Matthew 19:3-12 The Pharisees were desirous of drawing something from Jesus which they might represent as contrary to the law of Moses.
Cases about marriage have been numerous, and sometimes perplexed; made so, not by the law of God, but by the lusts and follies of men; and often people fix what they will do, before they ask for advice.
Jesus replied by asking whether they had not read the account of the creation, and the first example of marriage; thus pointing out that every departure therefrom was wrong.
That condition is best for us, and to be chosen and kept to accordingly, which is best for our souls, and tends most to prepare us for, and preserve us to, the kingdom of heaven.
When the gospel is really embraced, it makes men kind relatives and faithful friends; it teaches them to bear the burdens, and to bear with the infirmities of those with whom they are connected, to consider their peace and happiness more than their own.
As to ungodly persons, it is proper that they should be restrained by laws, from breaking the peace of society. And we learn that the married state should be entered upon with great seriousness and earnest prayer.
Jesus, obviously knowing the Scripture and how it applies, replies to them that they do not know the Scripture because it says that man and woman are not to be separated.
They have become one flesh and what is now one must not be split into two. We see that Jesus says from the beginning divorce was not an option.
From inception, God created marriage to be a permanent bond and covenant between husband and wife.
Divorce and separation was never a part of God’s plan. God created marriage before sin entered the world and marriage was much simpler without sin.
After sin entered the world marriage got much more complex. Because sin entered the world, we now have a choice to allow our hearts to be hard toward God and our spouse.
Divorce is not an option because; from the beginning the design of God for marriage was until death parted the man and woman. Jesus then goes on to explain why Moses performed divorces.
It was because of their hardness of heart.
Marriage was created to be a lasting covenant like the covenant between Christ and His church.
Christ would never divorce His bride the church. Even as she leaves Him, He always pursues her.
Never will Christ go after another bride.
He has only one and she is the church.
Beyond just using the word divorce in your marriage, it can cause massive damage. In any relationship, a threat is viewed as a hostile expression of distrust, unfaithfulness, disrespect, and an unloving relationship with each other. Just think about a non-related situation where a threat can be detrimental to a relationship.
Let’s say you are an employee of a company and you believe that the owner should pay you more money for the work that you do.
The best way to go about it would be to work very hard, do your job better than anyone else, and prove to your boss that you deserve a raise by your actions.
Then the time comes for you to have an evaluation with the owner of the company and you humbly request a raise in pay because of your performance.
Whether your boss gives you one or not, your relationship with him will not be hindered because he would perceive you as a very good employee and not someone who is attacking him. You would not be perceived as a threat.
Another way to go about asking for a raise would be to not work hard, be a terrible employee, belittle your boss behind his back, and demand a raise every week.
When you don’t get the raise from your boss, you become arrogant and threaten your boss that you will quit if you do not get a raise.
Your relationship with your boss will be very strained and your future employment with your boss is on very unstable ground. At best, he puts you on an employee improvement plan and watches you like a hawk. At worst, he fires you and you are now without a job.
Threatening your boss with quitting your job is like threatening your spouse with a divorce.
Your relationship with your spouse will be extremely strained and your spouse will constantly be wondering if you are planning on leaving them. If they believe that you are planning on leaving in the future, how hard do you think they’re going work on their part of the marriage?
They will be more paranoid about all your words, actions, and emotions instead of focusing on how to grow and strengthen the marriage. When you use divorce as a weapon against your spouse you are seeing them as an enemy not as a partner and especially not as someone who is one with you.
When you and your spouse were married you became one in flesh and are now the same person. You would never threaten yourself because you know it would not work since you cannot divorce yourself.
If you are currently using the word divorce as a weapon against your spouse you need to repent because you have sinned against your spouse and God. Repenting requires two things from you. You need to ask for forgiveness from your spouse and God as well as turn from that sin of using divorce as a weapon against your spouse.
If your spouse is currently using the word divorce as a weapon against you, pray that the Lord will help your spouse to come to repentance. Pray continually that the Lord changes your spouse and brings them to repentance.
He will do abundantly more than we can ask. Also, after you read through the rest of this book, have an open, loving, and honest conversation about using the word divorce. It may be best to start with how you have made a commitment to never use that word against them in any way.
Through prayer and petition to the Lord along with your humble actions toward your spouse, your marriage and your spouse will change over time as the Lord sees fit.
Because you can only control yourself and the things you say, you need to make a commitment to never use the word divorce in your marriage and pray your spouse does the same.
Again, if you have ever used divorce in your marriage as a weapon against your spouse, you must repent and ask their forgiveness.
Don’t wait, do it now.
Devote yourself to never using that word again and vow to your spouse and the Lord to remain faithful till death do you part.