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Marriage, Divorce and the Church

Updated: Jan 31, 2020

Every 13 seconds, there is one divorce in America.

That equates to 277 divorces per hour, 6,646 divorces per day, 46,523 divorces per week, and 2,419,196 divorces per year.

That means there are 9 divorces in the time it takes for a couple to recite their wedding vows (2 minutes).

More than 554 divorces occur during your typical romantic comedy movie (2 hours).

1,385 divorces happen during the average wedding reception (5 hours).

The average first marriage that ends in divorce lasts about 8 years. That means that there are 19,353,568 divorces over the course of an average first marriage that ends in divorce (8 years).

Over a 40 year period, 67 percent of first marriages terminate.

The Bible says marriage honorable and the Bible is correct. Marriage was created to be a beautiful picture of the sacred, passionate, faithful and unconditional love Christ has for His people. The problem is that our enemy knows this and has viciously attacked marriage since, well, the Garden of Eden. He has found his sweet spot and marriages are breaking as quickly as they begin. In the Bible, there are guidelines and there are do's and don't's of marriage and divorce that are for our good and God's glory, but I'm directing this post to those of you who are hurting due to a failed marriage.

I used to believe that divorce was the fault of both people for not trying hard enough. I remember what I would do when someone would say they were divorced. I would furrow my eyebrows in, ashamedly, mock empathy and think to myself, "Mmm...I guess they are prideful. What a shame that they didn't try hard enough." What a fool I was! I ignorantly assumed that apathy or abandonment or abuse or prolonged affairs could be cured if the person being hurt by them just tried a little harder or prayed a little louder. Looking back, I am shocked that God has been as gracious with me as He has been for acting like a complete and utter Pharisee, eager to throw stones instead of checking my own eyes and heart. Romans 8:28 has taken a deeper root in my soul since walking through my own divorce. I was on the verge of accidental suicide in order to keep my family together and yet divorce still came. And when I took on the relationship status I once looked down upon, I had to reevaluate some things and judge myself just as harshly as I once judged every divorced person I knew. I'm grateful for the patience the Lord demonstrates towards us stubborn people. While God is not the Author of sin, He really does make all things work together for the good of those who love Him and seek to follow Him.

But there is a problem within the church just as there is an obvious problem in our culture. There are stigmas, assumptions and, quite honestly, cruelty towards many divorced women that does not reflect the nature and character of God. One of the most powerful moments for me as I sat grieving my devastation was when a gentlemen sat me down and said, "God loves women. He loves you." Somehow that simple truth told in a simple yet fervent way caused my eyes to see some things I had never seen before. Divorce isn't always the desire of both parties and divorce does not put a big black X on those who never wanted to have a broken marriage. That is not the God of the Bible. Having grown up on church pews and in sanctuaries, I've seen (and unfortunately been a part of) the pious cold shoulder from the dignified when a hurting woman gains the title, divorcee. Now, years later, I know that such behavior is sinful. Jesus never acted like that. Instead, He lovingly and tenderly ministered to every hurting woman He met. He protected the helpless. He comforted the fearful. He mended the holes in every broken heart and extended peace to all in need. He taught and He loved. Through His Word, that's exactly what He does for us today and if we dare to call ourselves His followers, we ought to have the same mindset and love people in deed and in truth.

To the women who wanted their marriage restored, know that you are seen and dearly loved and Romans 8:28 is as true for you today as it was when Paul wrote it. God won't leave you nor will he punish you for the sins of someone else. To the women who have the right to divorce today, make every decision prayerfully and soberly. Have a heart that is soft with humility, not stone cold with pride and selfishness. To the Church, please minister, not verbally beat up, both the women who are victims of another's unrepentant sin and those who have made mistakes in ignorance. Teach gently. Love fiercely. Walk humbly.


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