When Divorce Seems Like the Only Way Out

They said to Him, “Why then did Moses command to give a certificate of divorce, and to put her away?” He said to them, “Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, permitted you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so." (Matthew 19:7, NKJV)

I write this post in the most humble frame of mind. This is a very controversial topic to take on, but I've been convicted on what I'm about to write, and I hope that by the end of this post, you will be too.

You don't have to be a sociologist, or any kind of researcher for that matter, to know that marriage in our society has become just a higher level of dating. People get married all the time, for the right and wrong reasons, and then turn around and get divorced. They move on to the next person, hoping for a better relationship, and so goes the merry-go-round of adult life. Many people get married with the expectation that one day they and their spouse will probably grow apart and have to start over with someone else. A very bleak picture of relationships in our time, is it not? If love is so wonderful, why doesn't it last? If I feel unhappy with my spouse, why shouldn't I try to find happiness with someone else?

As Christians, we (hopefully) have a very different worldview because we look at marriage through the eyes of the one who founded, the institution-God Himself. Since God is the Author and Sustainer of marriages, it's normal to expect him to have very strong views on relationships, and for Him to provide us with a blueprint on exactly how to go about this mysterious commitment called marriage. So when I was studying this topic, I realized one very important thing:

If God could find a way to provide for reconciliation between lost sinners and Himself, He can find a way to bring two spouses back together.

Genesis 3 tells how Adam and Eve went against God, listened to the serpent, and ate the fruit from the tree that God had expressly commanded them to avoid. Immediately after the incident, the relationship between man/woman, and mankind and God changes from one of other-centered love to distrust, fear, and isolation. Whereas Adam and Eve had been naked and unashamed, they sewed fig leaves together to make aprons from themselves to hide their nakedness. When they hear God in the garden, they hide themselves from him. And when God approaches them to question their actions, they blame one another. The relationship between God and humanity had definitely become dysfunctional. Instead of destroying them or sending them away with no hope, God turned around and did something very unexpected: He made reconciliation possible. 

Although Adam and Eve made the choice to be unfaithful to God, He made a way for them to still have a relationship with Him. He promised to put enmity between the woman's seed and the serpent's seed, the first promise of the coming Messiah who would bring reconciliation and bridge the chasm between humanity and God that sin had caused. God pledged Himself as the surety for our pardon. Imagine, even though Adam and Eve deserved to bear the full weight of the consequences for their actions (immediate, eternal death), God said "I'll become one of you and take the punishment meant for you." Talk about undeserved kindness!  When Christ came, He demonstrated over and over the fact that God wants us to be reconciled to Him and become His children once more through the power of His love and forgiveness.

If God could set people free from their addictions, diseases, and despair, don't you think He can do the same for our marriages? If He would go to such lengths to save us from eternal ruin, and if He is the author of relationships, doesn't it make sense that He wants our homes and families to be places where reconciliation can occur?