By Brie Gowen
I think most people who live on this earth as Christians desire to conduct their marriages according to the principles set forth by God, and I think that’s great. The Bible is full of instructions and guidelines to help point you in the right direction for a happy, Holy union. The question is, though, do we always get it right?
Absolutely not. As fallible humans we will fall short, and God gets that. The goal for wives is to strive to be a Proberbs 31 woman, or for husbands to treat your wife as Christ treats the church. We all need practice, and that’s fine. But there are some instances that just absolutely go against scripture. These things we must not do if we really want a marriage that honors the Lord.
It’s easy when you fall to call it God’s will, or to imagine God’s hand at work in your life when you crumple under sin. There are some things, no matter how much God loves you and directs your life, that you cannot do in His name.
Although the Lord has power over your life He will not do these things in your marriage.
1. God will not lead you to adultery. So say you’re unhappy in your marriage. Then suddenly you meet this nice fella (or lady) at work. He’s a wonderful Christian, a great listener, and really seems to care about your feelings. Unlike your husband.
You start eating lunch together, spending time pouring out your heart on break, and the next thing you know you’re having romantic feelings. This person is so right for you! It must be God! God has placed this perfect person in your path!
No. No, no, no.
If you are married God will not place an opportunity if front of you to tarnish the union you have sworn to in His name. When He says what I have put together, let no man separate; He means just that.
2. God will not lead you away from your spouse. Perhaps you and your spouse have ended up on two different planes. Maybe you started the marriage on the same page, but now you are different. It’s possible you have deepened your relationship with the Lord, and your spouse has not. In that clash of differing spiritual/relational levels there is strife in your marriage.
God does not lead you to divorce, and while it is important to be equally yoked, the Lord does not favor the severing of marriage. One flesh isn’t something to take lightly, so when differences and difficulties arise divorce is not the right answer.
I will never claim to be perfect, nor will I hide my past. I have suffered the scars and shame of divorce. I was not following close to Jesus at that time, and when my ex-husband told me he didn’t want to be married anymore I accepted that with little fight. God came and helped me through the aftermath of my broken marriage, but He didn’t lead me to divorce.
I am so happy with my current husband. Happier than I have ever been. I can’t imagine a life apart from him, but I don’t think it was God’s will for me to get divorced. For that matter, though, I don’t think it was His will for that first marriage to happen. Hindsight is 20/20. But I digress.
The point is, God doesn’t condone divorce. Can He forgive someone who has suffered through divorce? I believe so. I believe God forgives all His children who come in honest repentance and turn from their sinful ways. Can He heal someone after divorce? Absolutely! I’m living proof.
But does God lead you away from your spouse? No. Never. That’s not God. I’m sorry.
3. God will not change your spouse for you. This is a hard concept to accept. It’s always what we cling to when marriage gets hard. When our spouse is difficult and calling it quits is on the forefront of our minds we hold tight to the old adage that God can change their heart for us. And He can. But He won’t.
Let me clarify.
God will not change your spouse for you. But He will change your spouse for His glory. What I mean is this. Many, many times when we are at odds with our spouse we pray in a certain way.
We pray, “God, make my husband be more attentive to me.”
Or, “God, make my husband be a better provider.”
“Notice me more.”
“Get a better job.”
Maybe even, “get off his lazy butt.”
What do all these pleas have in common? Me, me, me.
Listen, God loves you. God wants you to have a happy marriage, and to have a spouse who treats you like you deserve to be treated. In fact, He commands such treatment in His word. But God wants you to treat your spouse as they deserve also, and that starts with desiring the best for them.
You must desire change for your spouse not simply for yourself, but for their benefit. You should desire that your spouse grow closer with the Lord not so that your life will be easier, but so that their life will prove more abundant. Your job is to desire God’s best for your spouse, not desire how God can make the relationship best for you.
By all means, pray for your marriage. Pray without ceasing. Just understand that while God does want to please you and answer your prayers, that He wants most for your heart to be right. He honors selfless prayer. He honors marriage. He honors growing His relationship with you and your spouse collectively while also strengthening the bonds of marriage.
So in essence God can change hearts, and He can turn your spouse’s heart towards Him, and in that change them. But He’s not simply changing them for you. Understand that.
The good news is that while God may not do these three things in your marriage, there’s plenty of great things that He can do! When hope seems lost, Christ can. When your marriage seems to be failing, God can heal it. Keep your eyes on Him, trust in His promises, and align your personal walk to one that honors both Him and your marriage.
*In this post I write mostly from a wife’s point of view. This isn’t to say the husband is the only party ever who is far from the Lord, or that only wives cheat. I wrote from the gender perspective most comfortable to me. My own. The situations are interchangeable. Also this friendly advice is meant for general purpose only. I cannot speak to spousal abuse issues, nor am I a certified marriage counselor. I’m just a woman who loves her husband and Jesus, and likes to share about both.
About the Author: Brie Gowen is a 30-something (sliding ever closer to 40-something) wife and mother. When she’s not loving on her hubby, chasing after the toddler or playing princess with her four-year-old, she enjoys cooking, reading and writing down her thoughts to share with others. Brie is also a huge lover of Jesus. She finds immense joy in the peace a relationship with her Savior provides, and she might just tell you about it sometime. She’d love for you to check out her blog at BrieGowen.com.