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Marriage Day 5: Dating to Divorce and How We Got There

Marriage Day 5: Dating to Divorce and How We Got There

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31-Day Marriage Devotion Resources

If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us (1 John 1:8-10).

If you put two sinners in a box, a room, or a home for an extended period with no plan for escape, you can expect problems. There may be a lot of love along the way, but there will also be unavoidable disappointments, arguments, and conflict. The dating couple can break up and go on to the next relationship. Vocational workmates are similar. If you don’t like your boss or the environment in which you work, you can move on to the next big thing. Marriage is different. Though it’s easy to get into, there is no escape plan other than death. Sadly, too many couples ignore the hardness of their hearts and create an alternate plan: divorce (Matthew 19:8). By the time two people enter a dating relationship, they come together with their unique baggage: fallen shaping influences given to them by Adam, others, and their personal choices. After you commingle their baggage, there is no way to avoid sinful combustion in the home.

As you have probably surmised, you and your spouse are sinners. You not only came from your respective mothers’ wombs speaking lies (Psalm 58:3), but you created a whole lot of baggage before you met each other. Some of your baggage was your doing, while other individuals heaped their troubles upon you. Either way, you both came together with more luggage than Samsonite. Perhaps you did not perceive all the issues during your dating relationship, and your premarriage counseling may have been inadequate, which it always is. Strangers marry each other. Too often, no one has the courage, grace, wisdom, or competence to speak into the lives of engaged couples. And to tell the truth, the newly minted couple is in love, so there was very little anyone could say to them anyway, right?

You left your baggage at the dating door and didn’t pick it up again until you were six months into your marriage. If you have been a wise, humble, and teachable couple, you have sought help for your marriage. You know that the best sanctification happens in a community, so you gravitate toward companions who are willing and able to speak into your lives. Sometimes, couples do not seek help early enough, and after being married for more than a decade, they cannot keep their problems under wraps any longer. Their marriage problems begin to overpower their ability to keep things tamped down. Later, the couple’s nest begins to empty as their children become older, and they are still without a sin plan—a pathway to repentance and transformation. The children are no longer a distraction, and the struggling couple has to decide between four options:

  • Find help.
  • Get a divorce.
  • Create distractions like ministry, hobbies, or grandchildren.
  • Coexist in a house that is not a home, waiting for the other to die.

My appeal to any couple in marriage trouble, regardless of the length of their marriage, is to find help. God’s grace is greater than the problems, no matter how complex you think your problems are. The Bible has a lot to say about working through conflict. There is a plan for sin, and it begins with the gospel. The only requirement is humility, which creates teachability (James 4:6). Though you may have begun on the wrong foot, it does not mean you have to stay that way. God came to redeem and restore what we cannot fix. Redeeming broken things is at the heart of the gospel. If your marriage needs to change, I appeal to you to get help today!

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Time to Reflect

  1. Are you still surprised that your spouse sins? If so, why are you surprised when a fallen person falls?
  2. Rather than being frustrated by your spouse’s imperfections, what is one way you can cooperate with God in helping your spouse mature into Christlikeness (Galatians 6:1-2)?

Practical Suggestion

Write out a specific and practical plan based on your reflections regarding this devotion. If you and your spouse need help, will you contact a leader in your church to come alongside you both to restore the broken things in the marriage?

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