Recently I was in a conversation about why so many women today…Christian women, are choosing to leave their marriages. Why does divorce seem more accepted than before?
First, I want to look at possible reasons why men and women have stayed in unhappy marriages, no matter their spiritual situation. I find these reasons are as valid today as they were fifty years ago.
Now I want to ask why marriage vows may be broken from a Christian point of view. If we search the Old Testament scriptures, God compares his relationship with the children of Israel to the marriage relationship as He says it should be. He demonstrated this as he made the covenant promise while Adam was sleeping. God took Adam’s rib to create the woman, “that man not be alone”. What is a Covenant Marriage, and how is it broken?
Today as Christians, the ‘church’ is considered the ‘bride of Christ’. Not the building, but the believing body of people. We are the bride, and one day we will all gather for the marriage supper of the Lamb, being Jesus, our husband, who was crucified on our behalf. I believe this is how we’re to look at our earthly marriages as well. I found the following description of a ‘Covenant Marriage’ online. The statements in bold stood out for me.
In a true covenant, both the husband and wife have set aside themselves for one another and make sacrifices to grow together. In a covenant marriage, grounded in prayer, Scripture, and mutual love, there is always a way to resolve problems, to find forgiveness and respect, and to draw near to one another while drawing near to Christ. The effects of a covenant marriage can extend for generations, providing a blueprint for those who follow us of how to create not just a house but a home where Christ is honored, and people are truly cared for.
A covenant marriage is a picture of two people in mutual submission to Christ, and a wife submitting to a godly man who leads the home spiritually and who loves his wife more than he loves himself. As Christ was crucified for the sake of his ‘bride’ the Church, the covenant husband is willing to endure the same for his wife he has given himself to in marriage. This is the most beautiful of love stories. A story of mutual love and submission, of two individuals ever-growing more and more into one, entwined within the love of Christ and for one another.
Wow. I don’t know about you, but this is what I thought marriage was going to be like. From my perspective, this describes the ultimate husband. With a man who treats you like this you will have no choice but to lift him up in prayer and show him the respect he deserves. This example of what a man of God looks like would make it so easy for me to express my love for God, and to share life with my husband with all my heart, my mind, my body, and my soul.
It’s not enough to make sure the family goes to church on Sunday if God isn’t a part of the family on Monday through Saturday. Why is it that when the ‘mom’ decides to stay home on a Sunday, the whole family stays home on Sunday too? Why are there more women at church than there are men? Why are Sunday school teachers and Vacation Bible School workers mostly women?
Do families gather at the dinner table and pray together, being led by the father? Are Bible studies initiated by Dad or by Mom? Do the kids see their parents help each other with tasks around the house? Do little boys see their fathers show tenderness and say kind words of affirmation to their mothers? Do little girls see their mothers praying for their fathers in their role as the head of the house?
With, or without children, do husband and wife pray together, placing God in the center of their marriage? Does he feel loved and appreciated for all that he does because his wife shows him respect and affection? Does she feel beautiful because her husband shares his heart and says the things she needs to hear?
No marriage is perfect. Whenever you bring two imperfect human beings together, you will most likely end up with a mess. But when you bring two imperfect people together who love God the Creator, you’ll still probably have a mess, but it will be beautiful. Both husband and wife need to love each other and honor God, seeking his wisdom and his will for the marriage. The man can’t do by himself. The woman can’t do it by herself. If this should happen, the ‘covenant promise’ has been broken. At that point, we either choose to stay or to go.
God does hate divorce, but he knows all too well about broken covenants, and He understands.
Casting Crowns “Broken Together”