Throughout my five years in college/grad school and two years of ministry full-time, I have met a ton of people. Godly people that I truly do believe want to do great things for God. The problem is…people are severely flawed. We hurt each other. We add to the wounds. We cause damage. We break each other. The difference here is that with Christ, restoration and forgiveness is at the core of His heart. Without it, we would be nothing. Nothing.
Over the past few months, I have learned of several couples- friends of mine- having marriages that have fallen apart for various reasons. Friends in ministry. Friends from college. Friends from both. I have literally cried for my friends’ broken marriages. As far back as I can remember, I have always believed that divorce should never be a solution to a messed up marriage. Call me crazy but that is what I have believed, not because divorce is this horrible thing but because marriage is a beautiful thing, however broken it might be. I am aware that this may be a very controversial topic for people to read, especially if you come from a divorced home or have been divorced yourself. I do not mean to belittle your situation. But please hear me out.
I believe in Christ which means I believe in his death and resurrection. That means I must believe in restoration. I remember last year I had a conversation with a group of my girlfriends during a wedding weekend of our friends from college. During one of our meals the subject of divorce came up. Though I can’t recall how this came up, I remember having said this: “As far as I can help it, divorce is simply not an option”. This is remained at the forefront of my mind for a year. Why? Simply because I still maintain this belief, probably more than I did last year. Now I know I am still unmarried myself and have yet to go through some major issue that could potentially tear my marriage apart, but I think this important. To get the thought deep in my mind that as far as I can help it, to the best of my ability paired with God’s strength, grace, and mercy, divorce is simply not something I will choose. You may respond with, well “What if he…” or “What if you…” or “What if you this or that…” that’s okay. But understand this: I do not want to go into a marriage believing, even in the most minute ways, divorce cannot be on the table as a viable option.
I want to believe that my marriage is worth fighting for. Regardless if there is an addiction, accident, affair, or other struggle, I want to believe that my vow- my covenant marriage before God- was true. For better or worse…right? You might say this is naive. Go ahead. You may be critical or think of me as immature in my singlehood. Go ahead. But I believe it is how God wants it…to push through and not give up, no matter the struggle. I will say this: separation can be an option but only for a time and certainly not an option to fool around on the side. Marriage is supposed to be, especially for Christians, an example of our relationship with Christ. If he gave is all for me, shouldn’t I do the same? Shouldn’t I do the same to my [future] husband?
I need to learn to love in spite of now before I am married. I need to learn to forgive now before I am married. If I can learn but a fraction of the love of Christ, it will make a world of difference. God needs to be the center. We need to believe in the restoration that comes with Jesus Christ. Granted, I understand that people may have already experienced divorce. For that, I am sorry. I am sorry that for whatever reason it did not work out. I am sorry that you were hurt or heartbroken. I am sorry if you were the one who hurt or brought heartache. My stance remains the same: Jesus wants to restore. It may not necessarily mean your marriage is restored, as both people need to want it and fight for it, however, he can restore you to fullness and wholeness in Him.
For you who read this, maybe one of those friends who have recently had marriage problems, hear my heart for you. God does love you. Restoration is a possibility for your marriage. I don’t know your situation but I want hope in Christ’s restoration for you. If nothing else, that you can learn to forgive each other. That you can love God with all your heart and learn to do the same to others. To love in spite of… and maybe give those vows another shot. With God all things are possible, right? Regardless, believe that restoration is a possibility…