Is Divorce an Option?

Dear Christian Counselor,

I am a believer, and my spouse says that there is no God which hurts me to the core.  I know that God doesn’t like divorce but, I also thought that God wanted couples to become one. What is the reason for staying married when there is nothing shared, we don’t know how to communicate, and I feel like my spouse only wants me here for sex?  I have already crossed over the line between being submissive and being a doormat.  So does God still want me to stay so incredibly miserable that my self-worth gets destroyed in the process?

Believer Who Feels Like a Doormat

Dear Believer,

No, God doesn’t want any good part of you to be destroyed – He created you in the first place and wants to see you sparkle.  But that doesn’t mean He gives you permission to divorce, either.  (And if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him. 1 Cor. 7:13)  In this case, divorce would be about temporary happiness, not about trusting God, becoming your best self or loving others well.  What He will give you, if you ask, is the courage to stay, the love to complete you, and the wisdom to speak and act more like His Son.

His purpose for you is not to be a miserable doormat, but neither is it to get everything you want.  Human marriage is supposed to be a picture of God’s marriage to His people.  That means it is going to be hard.  In fact, God has a worse marriage than any of us, having been married for centuries to a bride who is dirty, mean and repeatedly unfaithful.  And yet, His response is to keep trying to find ways to love us, ways to make us more holy and more beautiful.  You see, His well-being doesn’t depend on our response.  He is fine, even when we are not fine.  That’s what He wants for you, too.  He wants each of us, as individuals, to be completely grounded in His love, so that we can be fine, even when our spouse is not fine and so that we can keep trying to love the unlovely like He does.  That will result in something much better than happiness, something God does want for you: joy.

Cover of "Sacred Marriage"I would recommend Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas on building a different kind of marriage.  See our Resources page.