A: Many friends act out of compassion when they encourage you to "go on with your life." Encouragement to find someone else, however, is misguided and is probably based in the fact that they don't like to see you hurting.
The best response to such comments is to acknowledge, with gratitude, their care and concern for you. As you walk this out, you will be demonstrating God's grace in your life and that, in itself, will do more to teach your friends about God's covenant love and His will toward marriage, than any verses you could use to "prove" your position.
Many times, as we grow in our stands, the Lord will give us opportunities to talk to others about our stand and teach them what we have learned. Look for those opportunities.
A: Scripture is clear that marriage is God's system and is a covenant relationship. Marriage is God's first Holy Institution. According to Malachi 2:14, God is always a witness at a marriage, whether the participants are believers or not. Verse 15 of the same chapter tells us that God puts into each marriage a bit of Himself, a "remnant (or breath) of His Spirit."
Matthew 19:6, "What God hath joined together…," applies not only to those He has chosen as marriage partners for each other, but to any couple. Even if couples are not born-again when they marry, they have chosen God's plan for man and woman. When they wed, they are joined together in God's system of marriage.
A: Some Christians use 1 Corinthians 7:12-16 in this situation. This passage directs us to allow the spouse to leave the home so we can operate in peace. It suggests that we do not manipulate or try to keep them physically or legally from leaving. This is quite different from breaking a covenant through divorce.
For most Bible scholars, the marital unfaithfulness or "exception clause" found in Matthew 5:32 and 19:9 refers to unfaithfulness during the engagement period PRIOR to consummating a marriage. In Jewish society, a formal divorce was needed even when the marriage was not completed. Mary and Joseph's situation (Matthew 1:18-25) was a valid "exception clause" and was why Joseph considered it before the Angel spoke to him. In addition, the "exception clause" could be used in Jewish society to obtain a divorce AFTER the marriage night if the bride was discovered not to be a virgin.
These situations, rarely if ever, happen in today's society, yet many Christians use the exception clause as an excuse or justification when they have hardened their hearts against their spouse. The only thing that frees your from your marriage vows is death.
A great example of this in the Bible is the story of Hosea. Hosea was God's prophet and obedient to the Lord. Despite his wife Gomer's adultery before and during their marriage, Hosea maintained a sensitive heart and followed God's best by keeping covenant despite Gomer's continued infidelity. Eventually, their marriage was restored and healed.
A: Do not be pressured to hire a lawyer until you have fervently sought the Lord. This can be one of the most unsettling things that we go through during this difficult time. We understand that you may be uncomfortable working with an attorney and may not even have the funds to do so.
It is reassuring to know, that in the midst of legal decisions, God has provided us an Advocate (Holy Spirit) before the Father. You can be confident that He will show you the way. It is also comforting to know that we have "wisdom for the asking" and the presence of the Comforter, who will be by our side. (1 John 2:1, James 1:5, John 14:16-17, 26).
Engaging in prayer is vital before making any court appearances or important decisions. Ask someone to pray with you and stand on the Scriptures you have been given. Remember, God is our Source and our Defender. (Colossians 2:10 TLB and Hebrews 13:5-6 AMP)
A: If you or your children face danger from physical, verbal or emotional abuse, it may necessitate a separation for protection. This does not mean that you cannot still stand for your marriage. We have heard many testimonies of spouses repenting and turning from their ways. Nothing is too big for God. Use this time to heal, to receive direction from God, and to do war for the restoration of your family.
ANSWER: Dating while saying you want your marriage healed is double-mindedness. The Word says a double-minded person is unstable in all his ways and receives nothing from the Lord (James 1:5-8). If we date outside of our marriage relationship, we open ourselves up for deception. Deception prevents us from clearly hearing from the Lord. In addition, the Bible says, "Make no provision for the flesh." (Romans 13:14) We are to conduct our lives as faithful spouses and avoid giving into the flesh which will ultimately deceive us.
The healthy thing, spiritually and emotionally, is to spend the time apart from your spouse getting healed of rejection, unforgiveness and bitterness and letting God heal your broken heart. Use this time to allow God to heal you in all areas: emotionally, spiritually, financially, and physically. We need to be strong, healthy people when our spouses return.
Joining a Covenant Keepers group will help to keep you on track. You will receive teaching, prayer and friendship from people who understand what you are going through. Trained leaders will assist you in understanding God's will for your marriage and come alongside you with grace and peace.
A: God's perfect will is that the first marriage would end in death as promised on your wedding day. However, because of lack of knowledge (Hosea 4:6), many first and second marriages end in divorce. The blood of Jesus is enough to cover the sin of divorce when a covenant is broken by both parties and they have married again. When true repentance takes place, God's forgiveness and mercy is available.
Sin in any area of our life deadens sensitivity to God in that area. Sin makes it hard to listen to God and hear His voice. The good news is that through Jesus, we can have forgiveness from sin and restored fellowship with the Father. (1 John 1:9)
The Bible calls divorce a sin and remarriage an act of adultery. (See Matthew 5:32, 19:9, Luke 16:18 and Romans 7:3) If you have not repented for your divorce, remarriage, or for marrying a divorced person, then you will not hear clearly from God on this issue.
Ultimately, no human can answer a question that is for God alone. If you have truly repented, you must seek Him first above all things and He will show you the Truth.
A: When people "faint" (Galatians 6:9) and stop standing for the healing of their marriages, it is difficult for us to understand. However, we need to forgive them and walk in love toward them. It is only by God's grace that we do not give up; therefore, we are not to judge others who do.
This does not mean that we are in agreement with what they are doing. How we treat the situation also affects our own stands. Many individuals have said that God released them and brought someone else to them. In such cases we are to pray and to love those involved, not criticize, judge or talk about them.
Naturally, we are saddened. However, we base our stand on God's Word, not on what others do. God does not state anywhere in His Word that He agrees with divorce or that the healing of the marriage is impossible. In fact, He states the opposite……that He hates marital separation and divorce; so why would He sanction divorce to bring in another spouse?
A: The condition of our spouses when they return home is up to God. Whether they are saved and serving Him and have repented for the pain caused to the family is up to God. Restoration and healing is a progressive process and depends on the individuals. Only God knows the environment that will best facilitate healing. It is very important to pray and hear from the Lord about the timing.
If God allows a spouse to return in a broken, unsaved state, God knows you can handle it. He promises in 1 Corinthians 10:13 that you will not be tempted beyond what you are able. You may not feel you are able, but His grace will be enough for you.
Loving your spouse unconditionally, being supportive in any way you can, and practicing forgiveness is essential. If we will be patient and continue to walk in love, God will work on our spouse's heart and not only save them, but bring them to true repentance.
A: The Bible gives several examples of taking back covenant wives or husbands after they were involved in other relationships or marriages. King David was a Covenant Keeper and his wife Michal was restored to him despite an interim marriage (2 Samuel 3:13-16). The last two chapters of Ezra give another example of reconciliation. At least 113 non-covenant marriages were ended so that the spouses could return to prior covenant marriages, even, in some cases, when children were born into the relationship. (Ezra 9 & 10)
Christians who oppose reconciliation after interim marriages usually refer to Deuteronomy 24:1-4. In this passage, it appears that neither party kept covenant. One forced the divorce and the other remarried.
A: When we first begin to trust God to heal our marriage, our focus is often on the relationship itself. Often, God has a much bigger plan for restoration than we realize in the beginning. Our focus needs to change from being on the relationship with our spouse to being on Him and Him alone. Because the enemy will continue to put us in situations where our trust is tested, we need to continually put our focus back on the Lord and not the situation.
Joseph went to Egypt as a slave and was put into prison. (Genesis Chapters 37-40) God did not rescue him from this injustice immediately. Joseph went through a period of training and development. Eventually, God used the situation to save all of Joseph's family. The Lord will use the time you are away from your spouse to grow you like He did Joseph, if you are willing.
The Walk of Faith and the relationship with Christ that develop during a lengthy stand builds patience, endurance and other qualities God uses throughout our lifetime, as well as when our spouses return.
A: Many of us here at Covenant Keepers have walked a similar path and have found victory in only one thing……..Jesus. Our ministry was even started many years ago, by a woman who found herself in a similar place.
We know that situations are subject to change because of our hope and faith in Jesus, according to 2 Corinthians 4:18. Our faith is not in our spouses or circumstances, but in a redeeming Christ who intercedes before God, day and night, for us and our requests.
Until changes in your situation occur, God will give you sufficient grace to overcome difficulties. Trust Him as the Provider for all of your needs.
Allow God to use your circumstances to develop and strengthen your faith. Like muscles, faith grows through exercise. Your spiritual exercise will likely involve fasting, praying and spiritual warfare.
Believe that God loves you, is present with you, and delivers you (Psalm 41:1-3). Ask God for a prayer partner and a Covenant Keeper group to support your stand.
One of Satan's schemes is to weary you and scatter your focus. By fragmenting your attention with circumstances and activities, he tries to overload you. Cut back on nonessential involvements and spend time with the Lord. Limit activities to those that encourage and strengthen your stand. Choose wisely the words you speak about your situation. Stand on God's promises no matter what the circumstances and be obedient to His call.
A: First of all, we can all agree that standing isn't easy. In most cases, the hurt you still feel is stemming from continuing unforgiveness. This unforgiveness may have developed further into deep resentment. Not until we release our bitter root of judgement against our spouses, can our own hurts heal. When we release any unforgiveness or judgement toward our spouse, we will see that God's Spirit can reach them more easily with conviction of their own sin.
We need to forgive our spouses frequently, until we become quite skilled and prompt at doing so. The way to develop an attitude of forgiveness is to study and meditate on Scripture verses about it. We must also gain an awareness of what it cost the Father to forgive us of our own sins.
As we intercede regularly for our spouses and anyone with whom they may be involved, we will begin to feel the same compassion that our Lord Jesus felt while he was dying at the hands of others. If you remember, Jesus prayed, asking the Father to forgive the people who harmed him and not hold their sin against them.
In addition to walking in love, it is essential that we get victory over our thoughts. Three things will help us to accomplish this. First, we must refuse to let our minds dwell on the negative. Second, we must provide refuge for our minds by fostering our relationship with Jesus. And third, we need to restrict Satan's activity with the process of binding and loosing. To help us stabilize our minds, we need to find godly friends who are in agreement with us to accomplish His will in bringing reconciliation and healing to our marriage. A Covenant Keeper's Group is a great place to start.