1 & 2 Corinthians: Day 9

Principles of Marriage

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Today's Text: 1 Corinthians 7:1-40, Genesis 2:24

Scripture Reading: 1 Corinthians 7:1-40, Genesis 2:24

Almost half of marriages end in divorce, and the average length of a marriage that ends in divorce is only eight years (according to 2014 US census data). Eight years! It’s shocking that we stand up and promise “‘til death do us part,” yet only half of us make it past eight years. Marriage is hard. And indeed, the skills necessary to simply get along long-term with other people, not just spouses, are really difficult to come by. When we concede that marriage doesn’t have to last, we also allow that friendships don’t need to last. When the going gets tough, it’s just so much easier to find new friends and start over. Except it’s not.

On paper, marriage is an unachievable task. Paul commands wives to submit to their husbands, and then he turns to the husbands and piles onto the first unbelievable task this astonishing humdinger: “Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the church” (Ephesians 5:22-25). In one fell swoop, it seems Paul is making an open-and-shut case that marriage is just never going to work. He even follows this up by saying, essentially, marriage is too much for him, and he’s chosen to keep out of the fray; and if anyone else has the constitution for it, they should stay unmarried also (1 Corinthians 7:8).

But here’s the problem: not everyone has Paul’s self-control, and instead we, ahem, “burn with desire” (v. 9).  We fall in love, and that love leads us to make wildly extravagant promises to each other. We promise, in our best clothes, in front of all our aunts and uncles, to love and honor one another for the rest of our lives. These are the bravest, most ridiculous promises I’ve ever made.

I want to write a book titled, ’Til Death Do Us Part, and Other Lies I Told While Wearing a White Ball Gown. Because even though I’ve been married for thirteen years, have I truly kept my wedding vows? Have you? Even before we’d driven off into the sunset, I had already broken my vows. My heart was full of love, but my soul was still inclined to offer my new husband far less than the love I’m called to give. But that’s really the whole point. And that is why marriage is a covenant. We make extravagant promises that we cannot keep, but God keeps His promises. He created marriage and designed it to last.

God has called us to live in peace (v. 15), and it’s His peace that makes it possible for us to do so. I can rely on Him. He keeps His promises. He is there in the ceremony, walking through the covenant just like He did in the Old Testament. He makes our covenants, and He keeps up both ends of the deal. May we look to Him to preserve our marriages, our friendships, and our families. He is the One who takes our brave words made on brave days and makes them come true.

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  • Abigail Sais

    What I️ find cool is that because of His background, Paul was probably married at one time. He knew the GIFT of marriage and the GIFT of singleness. His charge in this passage to glorify God where we are is so convicting and challenging.

    *also CHURCH, let’s do a better job at making EVERYONE feel like they belong not just happily married couples. Marriage is NOT the goal-Jesus is!

  • I will be praying for you Mary. I pray that God will put that kind of love in your heart. I was in a marriage that was not good. I prayed that God would put that kind of passion for my husband in my heart. He did so so much to bring more to that marriage. So I know He can. Ask Jesus to bring healing and all that He created marriage to be….to your marriage. You can also go to marriage retreats. I went to one….and it was amazing. Praying for you and your husband.

    • Bridget’s Mom

      Thank you Teresa for reaching out. (This is Mary. I changed my name here). I will continue to ask God to develop the kind of love He wants my husband to have. My husband is a loving, affectionate man & it breaks my heart to feel the way I feel. I think there is a deep healing needing to be done in me in God’s gentle timing.

  • Jessi Ling

    I’ve been married now for just over one year. We got married fairly young. I was 22, he was 24. He’s my best friend and all I want to do is spend time with him. -divorce has never been an option for me to even think about. Still isn’t. And it encourages me to see people saying it’s there 40+ wedding anniversary. That makes my heart fly. Also the comments here with stories of divorce and heartbreak, break my heart. They encourage me to think toward the future and embrace this moment. I want to be intentional with these early years. It’s already been so hard to make the healthy habits now. Hard to stay focused on the goal. I pray I can love my husband the way I’m called to and the way I promised to. That we can pray together, reach out to others together, encourage each other more and fix our eyes on Jesus more then ever before.

  • Mary Roy

    I have never had the kind of love that I long for. My husband is a wonderful, loving man who deserves more than I can give him. I say that because I don’t love him with a passion that I long to have. I am faithful to him and I do love him but I also feel badly for him because I’m unable to love him in the way he deserves. We have been married 20 years. I was 36 and I know I settled. And nobody wants to feel that. I am confessing this to Jesus as I confess it here now. Please just pray for me.

  • Lost but found

    Marriage is hard. Period. That’s what it is. But worth it. It takes so much effort and constant ‘not giving up.’ Coming from a family where if something went wrong, you beat the person up, told them how worthless they are and how much they are disposable then walk away to wake up the next morning to start the cycle of a ‘family’ all over again. This was my image of marriage. I swore to everything that my marriage will not reflect the slightest of my childhood. My parents still remain married.
    Have I kept my vows? No. . Do I remember them word for word? No. But the overall; I fall wayyyy short. Sometimes my love doesn’t reflect the love we want to give because of hurt or because they do something that upsets you or because you’re embarrassed or because sometimes alone time is the time you know you don’t have to live up to expectations. I strive to be a better wife, all the time. Sometimes hurt wins..

    Times when my husband drinks alcohol, I see my dad sitting there and I have to refocus and see that it’s not my dad. My husband once promised me that he would stop drinking alcohol because of the childhood I had because that was the main ingredient of abuse I faced. Months later, alcohol won that promise and that promise remains broken. For years after that, I feel second to alcohol. Despite the fact that my husband drinks on occasion; those occasions I feel so low sometimes as I’m back to being a little girl who was told my her dad that he would stop drinking because he threw me down the stairs and beat me and my mother (leading to be call 911 and have him arrested at age 8). Once again, I’m a broken promise.

    I still love through the hurt, I don’t yell, call names, say he’s a mistake, hit him; I’m not my parents. End of story. But it is hard as ever to not fall into that automatic reaction. I pray all the time for heavenly eyesight to not replicate that. I love the phrase “He is the One who takes our brave words made on brave says and makes them come true.” Amen.

  • Tracy Norris

    My husband had a porn addiction. I tried everything I could to sway his attention. I felt it wasn’t fair. I felt I was successful as a mother and a career person. The house was clean,, dinner was made each night, I provided appropriate wifely attention, but the more I tried, the farther away he pulled. I was a Christian, both of us were raised in the church, but neither of us were asking God for help. I eventually took a sledge hammer to our marriage…..I had an affair, I made my husband put our house for sell, made our kids move to a different town so I could be closer to my parents, split our finances, filed for divorce and was on a path of total destruction until the day before our divorce hearing. We made it somehow. I begged him back, ended, the affair, bought a new house, put the family back together and started over. It wasn’t the right way, but it’s what happened. I most regret the done to damage to our kids. It was a really rough time for them. I’ve prayed for forgiveness. And try to forget.

    • Destiny Rose

      Tracy, my parents had a similar experience early in their marriage. I know it is probably still hard. The Lord is not done yet loving you! Praise God for restoration and forgiveness!!

  • Amy Rinta

    Trusting haha

  • Jena Holliday

    I have only been married 4 years, my parents over 35 years. I had a good example through my parents – letting God hold His covenant in their marriage. I have seen through them, it is hard, and it takes a lot of work. And so I can understand Paul’s sentiment with saying its easier to give God your all without the distractions of a man or a woman that you also love dearly. We walked through a tough year, last year, and through the pain it brought us closer. I know there are more hard days ahead, but I am thankful that Jesus bought and paid for it all; I can give it to Him, I can run to Him, I can find my hope in Him. I also know there are really good days ahead, and because of the bad I will cherish those days and seasons so much more. Loved reflecting on these verses today. Thanks SRT!

  • Hi, I’ve been married for over 20 years. My husband is atheist and (now we know) autistic. It has been a very lonely life for me, compounded by a harsh religious understanding of some of these verses. I have known all these bible verses all along, but I never practiced believing “He and I are one flesh”. Because in my experience, we so clearly weren’t. But recently the Lord challenged me to believe that verse just as determinedly as I believe my “favourite” verses. And this is a timely reminder. “Behold, I am making all things new”. Says the Lord. There is always hope. Tired as I am, I know the Lord is working things out for good. ❤

  • Katherine Upchurch

    My husband is atheist. You would be surprised at how much that is not our problem. The problem is loving each other in our individual ways. It is so hard for him to open up and move past his hurtful childhood. It has been 4 years of being married and 9 years of amazing friendship
    He truly is my best friend, but after 4 years my heart is tired of trying to understand and be patient with him Why?

    • Amy Rinta

      Kathrine, to make you feel better that’s so normal. We get used to each other & we get annoyed with each other. This happens Even in marriages when both spouses are Christians. But love is brightest when we choose love anyways. Those sweet moments of romantic/passionate love become all the more enjoyable when we choose to love even when we don’t feel it. And in your case shines out the true unconditional love Christ has for your husband. That for sure isn’t easy.

      • Amy Rinta

        But you got this! Praying for you.

      • Katherine Upchurch

        Thank you for your words of encouragement Amy. It’s been a rough few weeks but I have faith it will all work out. I love having you ladies as a support system.

  • Kathleen Ansley

    Laura, Praise the Lord for the strength He clearly gives you everyday to walk this path. People are watching, and may God get the Glory for you living out each day trusting Him to show you the way. Your life is a testimony!

  • NYMom4(5)

    This devotional is slightly askew. Paul is not saying that Marriage is too much for him. In fact that is nowhere in the text He is saying that because marriage takes up A huge portion of our life, time, energy and desires, (Because Scripture gives us verse like, Eph 5:22-24, “Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as the Lord… and husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her…”. Whoa!!!) that If we did not have a spouse we could devote more of our lives to the service of Christ. And most importantly, Paul states in verse 7 that this
    (being able to remain single) is a GIFT FROM GOD.
    So if God has given you this gift, then praise him! But God also gives us the freedom to marry.
    This is what Paul is saying.

    • Zoryvett Rodriguez

      Thank you for this! I was feeling along the same lines. I think because of Gods promise nothing can be too much in faith and someone so faithful (Paul) couldn’t possibly think marriage hold no hope. Especially when it is a desire of the Lord. Yea singledom is a gift from God to devote time to Him. Marriage can shift your views to the worldly but God pushes us to pursue Him when are eyes shift. I love this comment.

    • Jenny Mueller

      I agree. Thank you for spelling it out in a clear way.

  • Kathryn Green

    Love the “most ridiculous promises I’ve ever made”! Yes! What was I thinking at the time? Lol. :) Marriage is so different than I imagined. Glad I’m not the only one. So grateful God is faithful and keeps his promises.

  • Ashley Gibson

    I agree with Andrea that the statistics used are incorrect. I love SRT devotionals and y’all have a responsibility to lead with truth.

  • I actually learned the most out of the verses 29-31
    No matter what state you are in.. live first and utmost for the Lord!
    “From now on, let those who have wives live as though they had none, and those who mourn as though they were not mourning, and those who rejoice as though they were not rejoicing, and those who buy cas though they had no goods, and those who deal with the world as though they had no dealings with it. For the present form of this world is passing away”

  • I am thankfull for SRT to give us devotionals. And even more thankfull for the opportunity to read comments. In that way, every angle of the verses can be discussed. It is not the job of SRT to discuss every verse, it is their job to let us read the word.. and think about it, and share our thoughts.. we are to enjoy their view, and that of others. I am happy with this blessing God gave us!

  • Xan Nicola

    I agree as well

  • Monica Davis

    I said Brave words on a brave day… help me to be brave EVERY DAY!

  • Allie Hood

    Such a hard message to hear. They always say the hardest lessons are the ones we need the most, so perhaps this rings true for this message.

  • “… yet only half of us make it past eight years” This statement is incorrect. This is not how statistics work. If the average marriage ending in divorce ends at 8 years, that means that half of marriages that end in divorce make it past 8 years. In addition, more than half of marriages do not end in divorce.

  • Damaris Seijo

    *meditating

  • Damaris Seijo

    I have read some of the comments and have been mediating on these verses because I know it’s hard particularly when you’re in an abusive relationship. Paul says in verse 12-13 not to divorce an unbelieving husband… but he specifically says that it’s coming from him and not the Lord. If you’re husband is abusing you- I would consider him unbelieving (even if he’s keeping up the appearance of being Christian). God is not saying that you can’t leave him- Paul is. I think that if it was God’s command to stay Paul wouldn’t have made that distinction.

    • Amanda Smith

      I agree. I just realized today how much of the chapters is Paul’s opinion and not commands from the Lord.

      • Kylie Gumban

        I think we have to be careful with saying that this was the “author’s opinion,” and not the Lord’s. Yes, we must consider the social and historical context of the verse and why Paul would say this to his particular audience, but we must also understand that the Lord allowed these words to be preserved throughout time. God has inspired all Scripture. Not all of it is prescriptive, but it is helpful to ponder on the principle of the given verse.

  • Erin Moser

    I love this passage for how it speaks to evangelical culture where those who are married seem to be higher in the church hierarchy. I’m not sure I agree with the devotional though. I don’t think he’s saying don’t get married because it is HARD but because it a DISTRACTION from the Lord and makes us more earthly minded. What do you think ?

  • I never believed in divorce. I was married very young, both of us Christians, and we took our vows very seriously. But things happen. I was married to a man who put ministry before his wife and family. We drifted apart…slowly. One day, I woke up and told him that I wanted counseling, or we were never going to get back on track. I said these words, “If I weren’t a Christian, I would divorce you.” Neither of us had ever used that word before. He refused counseling. Too proud. Too busy. He started an affair instead. Eight months after making that statement, he confessed to me. And said he wanted to rebuild. He wanted to change. He wanted to go to counseling. But I was over it. I got my answer. Now I could divorce him, right? But I had been praying for God to heal my marriage. This certainly was not healing. This was in fact the worse thing I ever walked through. I wavered for the next 2 years between wanting my marriage to be healed and wanting it to be all over. God was present the whole time. I grew in my faith, but I also hurt, deeply. It was a valley. A deep valley that I thought perhaps I would never come out of. We are still together. We have been through some intense counseling. We are healing. It has been a long, hard road, and we are still walking on it. I write this to encourage anyone who might be going through a similar situation. Cling to God’s promise to be with you…always. It doesn’t mean that the road is easy, but He will help to carry your burden. Marriage is hard. Divorce is hard. Singleness is hard. Life is hard. But God is good. All the time.

    • Clare

      Wow Laura, thanks for your honesty and encouragement x

    • Kristi

      Yes, thank you so much for sharing this!

    • Emily West

      Thank you for sharing!

    • Amanda Smith

      Amen. I can relate to this but as I prayed for healing for my previous marriage, God was speaking to me otherwise. Abuse, neglect, and dangerous conditions led me to divorce my unbelieving husband. I believe God has blessed me ten-fold for my decision to rescue my *then* infant daughter and myself from that life. We now have been blessed to welcome a God-fearing, self-sacrificing, amazing man into our lives. My daughter can now experience a real loving father that loves both of us the way Christ loves the church.

  • Brooks LeeLaCombe

    Thank God for this passage. It clearly says it’s better to be single! So today and always I am rejoicing in my singleness and the only duty laundry I have to do is mine! ♥️

    • Pam Blum

      Brooks,

      Way to go in embracing your season of life! That is a difficult thing to do sometimes. I, personally, do not think that Paul is saying it’s better to be single. God did establish the institution of marriage-Gen. 2:24. I think the point Paul is trying to get across is that there are extra responsibilities that come with marriage. When you are single you are only responsible for yourself. A married person has to think about their spouse and/or kids.

      I do think Paul advocates singleness because you don’t have as many distractions from your personal relationship with God; but he also says that married people should stay married and that not everyone can handle being single.

      Basically, there are benefits to both; and God needs to be the first priority whether married or single.

  • Lots of conflicting emotions about this passage. Basically underscores the whole idea that MARRIAGE IS HARD! I loved the reminder that is is God who keeps our covenant vows for us; no one is able to do it on his/her own power.
    I do agree with the feeling of there being harder verses here that aren’t addressed, but I also think it would take a year to actually address all the issues in these verses.
    I am left wondering, what happened to all of the betrothed of the ‘strong men’ of Paul’s day who decided to take Paul’s route, and not marry their betrothed? These women were just left waiting but spoken for, unable to marry and have children and having no rights in their society? Paul’s writings on women are hard.
    My comfort comes from Jesus. He loved women radically. No matter what, we know we are loved and valued beyond what mortal men can understand.

  • Jeni Elliott

    I wish non-abused women could have just one day of understanding the pain and confusion that comes with reading devotions like this. God does not call us to idolize marriages. There’s the whole “if he be pleased to dwell with her” part. And the fact that God has not called us to bondage, but to peace. (Ch 7 v15) If your marriage HURTS in ways you cannot even truly understand, you look to God for answers of what to do…and this often includes following the party line of what is prescribed by churches. I was trapped in an emotionally, psychologically, spiritually abusive marriage for 10 years that *looked* squeaky clean on the outside. And it was killing me. I was a slave. But God doesn’t call us to be slaves. If your marriage hurts, don’t follow the advice of people with a “normal hard” marriage, where you’re told to die to self and serve. That’ll kill the woman trapped in abuse and keep her stuck in abuse, questioning the goodness of God and believing God has left her to rot. If your marriage hurts, find a website like Flying Free Now or Leslie Vernick’s site. SRT, as women, I’d hope you had a bit more mindfulness about how you present difficulty in marriage, given that 1/3 women in the evangelical church experiences abuse of some kind. And God doesn’t condemn his daughters to abuse.

    • C

      Jeni- I’m really glad you brought up those two websites as I had never heard of them. The pastor at my first wedding told me to support my husband and I took that to mean “at all costs”. My first husband ended up being narcissistic and my personality was not good at fighting that or even seeing that for what it was. He made some big mistakes which led to the church getting involved as he was an elder. Yet, I had one pastor I didn’t even know tell me he had the right to say whether or not I could marry again when he didn’t even know me nor had served over me. Going through that I was so confused and conflicted and worried about what was right in God’s eyes. It was SO hard! Ultimately the church deemed me abandoned and God clearly worked things for me for his glory. I am so grateful and amazed at what He has done in my life since then. These forums are really beneficial for women to know they aren’t alone in these extraordinarily difficult situations, because talking about difficult marriages in church feels darn near impossible.

      • C

        I will say talking about marriage issues in church needs to happen more/ I need to do it and encourage others to do it. The church can make a difference if those of us who have faced these trials can speak up.

    • Sarah C.Keenan

      Thank you for writing this Jeni, I think it’s really brave. I’ve never experienced abuse but this passage left me scratching my head. I liked the commentary but I felt it conveniently swept under the rug a lot of confusing and hard verses. I hope SRT would press into those a little more.

    • Becky Klaff

      I couldn’t agree with you more Jeni.

    • Evelyn Fahle

      I’m so sorry Jeni..I myself was in a relationship (but not married to) an extremely and dangerously abusive man for 5 years; he almost killed me when our daughter was 2 so I left him(she is 7 now) but if I would have married him I would feel no personal attack by passages like this because you’re right, God DOES NOT want us to be in that situation or shame because of it. I think a good perspective to look at this would be to understand Paul and SRT are speaking in best case scenarios lol. Paul is 100% speaking in best case scenarios, and this passage doesn’t talk about if one of the marriage party is abusive. Jesus died on that cross for you and your ex husband and all of the things that would keep you from receiving God’s love. You have that love regardless of your life experiences or divorce…and I do hope and pray that you would be unbound by any negative or hurtful attack that jerk off of an ex husband made on you!

    • She Reads Truth

      Hi Jeni, thank you for sharing this and we appreciate your feedback. I’ll be sure to pass this along. We’re so grateful that you’re a part of our community. -Margot, The SRT Team

    • Liz

      Thank you so much for sharing this with us. It needs to be heard by all. I stand with you, Jeni.

  • My husband and I are celebrating our second wedding anniversary this month. Before we got married we went through a premarital counseling course and it was stressed that marriage is a covenant before God, not a contract. That has really stuck with us throughout our relationship, that we are keeping our vows to the Almighty. This passage was honestly a little disheartening for me, as someone who has been led so graciously by my husband, who is the spiritual leader. I am confused by the passage where Paul is talking about how if you aren’t already married, it is better to just stay that way and grow in the gospel. My faith has grown tremendously since being married and see this as a contradiction. When equally yoked, I believe you have a greater opportunity to serve God better TOGETHER. I am praying for guidance from the Holy Spirit in how to apply this passage to my life today.

    • Elizabeth

      One important thing to consider is that Paul was also addressing the Corinthians during a “present distress” (verse 26) in which it seems marrying may cause undue burden and trials. Paul starts the letter by basically saying there are benefits of remaining single, but that not everyone is called to that (verse 6-7.) Marriage was created and ordained for God- but Paul is pointing out that if we do not allow God to lead our marriages, they can also cause stumbling blocks so we must practice wisdom and seek God’s will. You are so right- a marriage with God at the center does help us to grow closer to God! :) Congratulations on your second anniversary!

  • 1 Cor 7:13-15 the part “God has called you to live in peace” followed me everywhere for these past couple months. i cant explain it but that verse was literally everywhere. Then my grandpa died, and i realized what it meant. My grandpa wasn’t there for my mom when she was growing up, and he deffinatly wasn’t there for my grandma. Mama (grandma) died of breast cancer years ago but i remember she never stopped praying for her ex husband (grandpa) to get right with God. she was a great christian woman all through their short marriage and continued to be a whitness for Christ even after they divorced. Her entire life she never stopped praying for grandpa, and in a sense, loving him. God called Mama to live in peace though, and the only way she could do that is to know that Grandpa would eventually get right with God. Even though grandpa wasn’t good to her, Mama was called to live in peace and trust that God will take care of things. “living in peace” is another way of saying “living in prayer” Pray and trust that God will answer prayers, no matter how long it takes. Mama did it for nearly 60 yr.

  • Please pray for the for innocent lives lost today in Florida. Please pray for me. I said my rosary last night specifically that the children would live. I know there’s a reason it wasn’t answered but I’m broken hearted.

    • She Reads Truth

      Hi Bunny, thank you for sharing. Our team will definitely be praying. We’re so grateful that you’re a part of our community and reading along with us! -Margot, The SRT Team

  • I really struggle with this. I have cried out to God for years to heal our marriage but it is still very much broken. My husband says he loves me and perhaps he does, but after 15 years of him calling me names, belittling me, not listening to or valuing my opinion, bruises and fear, I have very little love left for him. I have had enough and a big part of me wants out. I know that’s not God’s design for marriage but I have tried for so long and I just don’t feel I can keep going. My husband has turned from God, stopped going to church and regularly tries to stop my daughter and I from attending.

    • Liz

      Hey Sarah, I am so grieved that you are in this situation. In a sense, your husband has already divorced you through his actions. Pretending your marriage is still intact when it may not be could harm you and your daughter. I implore you to seek support and counsel from people outside of the situation completely so that they can help you have an objective view od what’s really going on. God is fighting for you, your daughter, and your husband; but sometimes divorce is just pronouncing a marriage dead. There is no shame in that. ❤ my love and prayers to you right now, especially for Jesus’ supernatural peace as he works to get you to a safe place.

    • KimN

      Dearest Sarah – my experience is not the same as yours but I do believe your priority is to keep you and your daughter safe. I think Liz is spot on and I would also encourage you to seek help in how to move forward from where you are.
      You are the daughter of the King of kings! May He fill you with His wisdom, peace, courage & strength. I will be lifting you up in prayer that His voice and will would be clear to you.

      • Emily

        Sarah, I was in a physically abusive marriage. I would suggest going to a trained Christian counselor if you have not done so already. A professional Christian counselor may be able to help you sort out what God wants for you and your daughter. They sometimes help to see situations maybe from God’s perspective. Many also offer an income based fee system, so if finances are an issue, (which they often can be in these situations,) they will work with you to get you the help you need. Prayers for you.

  • Brianna Foshie

    I’m reading a book called fierce marriage and it’s about how marriage is an amazing thing that God created to represent him and his love. This passage almost sounds like marriage is a bad thing and I hear a lot of bitterness in it. To anyone that thinks “I’m better off by myself” you are sorely mistaken. God wants us to love others and to show others how his love works the best way we know how. Everyone should have a family or friend or spouse to be apart of life’s journey. Marriage isn’t about the materials or the statistics, it’s about representing God.

    • Jen

      Thanks for sharing and telling us about this book. I think if we are married it is always a good thing to be encouraged in how God wants us to have a good marriage. I think the point Paul was making was if he were married he would have to devote time to his wife and he couldn’t devote all his time to spreading the gospel. I agree God has created marriage for us to love another person and be united.

  • Marriage…I am on my 3rd marriage, and yes, even saying that out loud and admitting is not something I eagerly do. It’s embarrassing, and yes, it makes you feel like a failure. My first marriage I was young, and didn’t take my vows seriously. When I wasn’t happy and fulfilled, and it didn’t meet my standards, I quickly decided to end it. I barely even batted an eye to the hurt I caused him. I was totally operating on my own feelings, and what would make ME happy. Well with the second marriage, I guess you could say what goes around comes around. I was baffled and shocked when he abruptly wanted to separate after only just over 2 years of marriage, apparently a mistake to him, and he didn’t want it. This finally was the thing I COUNDN’T control on MY own. I finally, for the first time in my life, even growing up in church, had to cry out to God. Boy was that a life changer. I finally put God in a different perspective, and gave HIM my all! I journal-ed daily, and listened to Christian music to grow my walk with God. And yes, I still made some not so good decisions trying to cover my hurt for the first few years in dating. But I kept praying for God to lead me. He had me wait, and grow still. Then finally the man came in to my life that I believe is my husband forever. We put Christ first, pray together, and try to live with his direction. We will have our 8 year anniversary in a couple of weeks. He is the love of my life, and although marriage is still tough and takes a lot of strength, and patience, I always look to my journal that I wrote in that time, and all my prayers are answered today, and that humbles me. So even though some people might judge me and my journey, I am thankful for it and feel the closest to God in the last 20 years, then the first 30 years. So to those that are struggling with divorce and how it makes you feel defeated, embarrassed, and broken, I hope my testimony will make you feel hopeful. Stay patient, it will all work out if you keep your heart and eyes on God and give your journey over to HIM.

  • Laura Surman

    The book I am writing is called “DIVORCE Just DONT do it.”☺️

  • Laura Surman

    becoming One Flesh

  • Laura Surman

    I was married 25 years when I left my husband. I have learned more about marriage in the past 3 years than I knew in the 25 years. All couples will go through the same cycle. Does anyone recall missing the “newness” of the relationship? Or wonder why his/your interest has turned to children, careers, housekeeping, sports,or everything but your spouse? This is the cycle every relationship follows. I had no idea what hit me when I up and left what looked like a perfect marriage,nor why my current marriage was collapsing after 5 years until I recognized myself and my marriages written in The Art of Marriage by FamilyLife. I recommend EVERY couple, married or thinking about it, go to familylife.com and learn what is going on in us. Go on a Weekend to Remember, meet yourself and your spouse. Learn who you both are and why and you will find the way to reignite your relationship. Trust me when I say looking for the man of your dreams or your soul mate is a waste of time. He doesn’t exist. He is grown. So leaving the husband you are with to find the man you (think) you need, will only find you at the same intersection and the same place your marriage fell apart will be the same place your next relationship will dissolve. Unless you learn to recognize the relationship cycle. There are amazing promises for us when we do what God instructs as a wife and husband. Love and respect, however difficult it is. If we seek God’s definition of

    • Jen

      Thank you so much for sharing your story. It helps me in my growth in marriage and with God. I will defiantly look at Family Life.

  • Victoria Gelberg

    God made Himself the Lord of our marriage (and my behavior) by pushing me beyond my (well-considered) limits – to a place I had to trust Him for everything. Only Him for words, for ideas, for actions. It was brutal. And, in it I became the clay for His Potter’s hands. What a huge challenging change and gift. It is totally impossible without God and wildly simple with His direction. The challenge is letting my will sit in the backseat.

  • Kaylynn Lucas

    I just recently finished a book Beth Moore wrote called audacious. It was so good but one thing that stood out to me and correlates with the study today is this.

    Let me start by saying my man loves me so well, much better than I thought any man on earth could. However, even though I knew and felt his love for me there was still a part of my heart, a part of my soul that longed for more. That desire to be loved so deeply put a strain on our relationship. At first, I would bring up ridiculous arguments to try to “catch him” doing wrong because I didn’t think someone could love me the way he does. Then when I found he really wasn’t doing me wrong I craved more and let’s be real, a human can only give so much especially when they’re going through a storm them-self. When I put my focus back on Christ and accepted and began pursuing his love for me and what he wants for me. Y’all my world changed! In a matter 2 days my relationship has completely changed. I am not only able to support my man through his hard time but I’m no longer feeling the need to demand more love for him because my soul is satisfied with the love of Christ. That’s not to say my man can give up on loving me, not at all. I am a daughter of a King and I will be respected and loved by whoever I’m in a relationship with but I no longer put the pressure on him to love me the way on God can.

  • Recently, I’ve been struggling with the uncertainty of my future, specifically regarding dating and getting married and it’s caused my anxiety to really take hold of my life. Reading this chapter really gives me so much clarity on what a Godly wife will do for her husband and vice versa, it can correlate so much with Proverbs 31! I’m praying that God can really help me to be completely content in where I’m at right now and not trying to focus on being with someone so quickly. Lord, please help me to just trust in You and to spend my time in Your word and in prayer so that I can be happy with my current position of singleness!

  • 1 Cor 7:37. “And has decided in his heart to keep her as his fiancé, will do well.”
    Does anyone understand why Paul says it is okay for a man to keep a woman as his fiancé forever?

    • Irina

      Hi Terri. I’m not sure what translation you read, but in most translations verse 37 talks about a father, who would decide to keep his daughter unmarried, a virgin….will do well. Hope it helps.

    • Jen

      I wondered the same thing. Great advice to look up other translations.

  • I’ve lived through a time of separation from my husband and it sucked. It hurt and was uncomfortable. Everyday was an emotional roller coaster with an uncertainty of whether things would stay on the tracks. I hated it ….and loved it. Because I have never been closer to my Lord than through that time.
    My heart was broken b/c of choices my husband had made but God poured his love and strength through the cracks in my heart. My discomfort came from obeying God and stepping out in faith to do what He told me to even though I often REALLY didn’t want. But I grew, I reflected and saw my own unhealthy behaviours through God’s eyes. My emotions were all over the place b/c I was looking to a person to fill my heart in a way that he was never designed to do. I was looking for my identity in him and as his wife. I was fighting so my marriage wouldn’t fail and by extension, keep me from failing and many times I was in a panic because I knew I couldn’t do it.
    I couldn’t but God could. He could, and did, fill my heart with the knowledge of how deeply I was loved and cherished by the One who created me. He could, and did, fill me with His peace and strength. He could, and did, fill my heart with an unwavering trust that He would be with me , care for and provide for me regardless of whether I stayed married or not. He could, and did, fill my heart with the knowledge that my identity was in Jesus and that could never be taken away. There was no way I could be a failure if I allowed Him to take the reins of my heart and life. My husband and I reconciled by the hand of God but even in that, the going can be hard.
    To the sisters in that stage of life – look up and fill your heart with Christ. Grab hold of Him, tightly! Don’t let go.
    To the sisters living in reconciliation – look up and continue filling your heart with Christ! It can sometimes be a tough slug to restablish/rebuild something new. All the old hurts and doubts can cling but continue to trust in the One who has a good plan for you.
    To the sisters that are living with the sting of divorce- look up and fill your heart with Christ. You are loved and God wastes nothing. He can make something beautiful out of your hurt.
    His ways are not ours which can be confusing and fantastic all at the same time! But He loves us and has good in store for us even if it doesn’t always look that way to us. Much love to you friends and may our Father draw near to each of you today amazing you in some way with his extravagant love and grace!!

  • Susan Reagon

    Tomorrow is our wedding anniversary…….48 years ago we made our promises before God.It hasn’t always been easy,we’ve had our problems but now feel we have sailed into calm waters and despite my husbands health problems take delight in our family especially our four grandchildren,so with hearts content we are in joyful anticipation of heaven. I pray for any young married couples who may read this and encourage them to persevere for God is Good

  • Barbara Thompson

    When reading this l felt what a depressing assessment of marriage,but I also realize how much Christians are impacted by the culture of this age.We seem to be living in a time when Christian values are gone.Christ’s love for us is sacrificial because of His love for us.I believe what makes marriage hard for many is that they do not understand the meaning of sacrificial love.Spiritual love.Spiritual love in Christ is a journey of faith.A faith in God that will take marriage into the valley of the shadow of death.Marriage in Christ is a testimony against the value system of this world.But those who continue will overcome .

    • Leah

      ‘Spiritual love in Christ is a journey of faith….a faith in God that will take marriage into the shadow of death. Marriage in Christ is a testimony against the value system of this world.’ So good. Thank you for sharing these thoughts. They were so encouraging to me, and yet challenging at the same time. I am single but dating seriously and considering marriage. It scares the crap out of me. This is such a good reminder that God is there to help us keep our vows if we trust him.

  • Doris Edwards

    Sadly I was divorced. (Long before i heard our LORD call me) but since hearing & more importantly heeding our LORD, I am more settled than i have ever been :)

  • As I read this chapter, I can’t help but think about my adult children and where they are now in their lives. Our son, almost 22, has met the love of his life and they will marry next summer. They are both strong Christ followers and I am so happy for them. Our daughter, almost 26, is not in a relationship and as happy as she is for her brother she so desires to be in a relationship. I hurt for her but I am also proud of her for continuing to follow and serve God. She teaches middle school girls in Sunday School, going as a counselor with them this summer, serves in Awana, going on a mission trip to China this summer, and she is a high school autism teacher as her vocation…she is an amazing young woman. Oh how I pray God sends a godly young man to her! I know she desires that.

  • As I’ve grown older, I’ve come to see how marriage is meant to act as a representation of Christ loving the Church. This is a hard and sacrificial type of love… I mean, Christ was brutally beaten and DIED for the Church!! This level of love is scary. It’s not fairytales and rainbows. But God has allowed marriage to exist to reflect His goodness.

    I’m not married, but just being in a relationship, I’ve seen how this kind of love could be difficult. When two flawed humans decide to be together, it won’t ever be perfect. But how beautiful is it that the Lord relentlessly pursues us, despite our own imprecations!

  • My husband and I will celebrate 37 years of marriage tomorrow. Our big day will be spent working in Vacation Bible School! (He’s the youth and children’s pastor.) It has been the hardest and most wonderful thing I’ve ever been a part of. Back in February Roger had to have major open heart surgery – 11 days in the hospital – hardest thing we’ve been through. It was definitely the “through sickness” part of our wedding vows. Looking back over the last 37 years I will confess that there were times that the only reason I stayed in my marriage was that I had stood at the altar and made a promise before God that this was going to be “until death do us part”. Divorce was never an option. We made ourselves work through everything. I am so thankful for God’s commitment to us. I pray for all the marriages out there that are struggling, for all the women who don’t know where to turn or what to do. God is faithful. He loves with an overwhelming, neverending kind of love.
    Have a blessed day

    • DebRN

      Kathy, I am with you! My husband and I will celebrate 41 years of marriage this weekend. I always thought that if I decided to divorce my husband I needed to stand before all the people who came to our wedding and give my rationale. I willingly made my promise before God and He will never leave us or forsake us. Yup, tough times did come. We understand, listen, and support each other more than we ever did before. Jesus is the only One who can back up all His promises. Lean on that my friends!

    • Susan

      Wish I could paste a ‘heart’ emoji here … Happy Anniversary ! There is great sacrifice and great satisfaction in fulfilling that serious vow. Congratulations on staying the course and working through the tough times. I hope you savor the good times and have many more ! Peace and Hope !

  • Every blessing Shelby. Praying your day is filled with great joy for the best years ahead. .
    Happy wedding day…

  • Just started reading Ben Stuart’s book, Single, Dating, Engaged, Married. He talked about these verses and on how Paul is saying that for single people, our focus should be full devotion to Jesus. Definitely what I am striving to do, running after God’s heart wholeheartedly. Also I definitely recommend Ben’s book, it’s really good!

  • Kelly Chataine

    Dennis and I have been married 34 and one-half years. We have gone through some difficult times but these last eight months have been the toughest. Approximately two weeks ago, Dennis told me he was afraid I would leave him. His remark caught me off guard, hurt me, and then I became angry. My anger subsided quickly because the Holy Spirit helped me see things from Dennis’s perspective. After I reassured him, I then told him that we need to keep talking to each other openly and, more importantly, keep communicating with and listening to God. Marriage can be hard, but it brings a lot of beautiful things with it as well.
    God is good all the time! All the time God is good!

  • I’m getting married this Saturday (yay!) and today’s study has helped me greatly. It is only through God that the brave promises I will make on Saturday can ever remain true. God is so good and He gives us good gifts.

    • Kelly Chataine

      May your wedding day be a wonderful one but remember it is every day after that which matters so much more. God bless you and your soon to be groom! Closing in on 35 years and I would do it all again!

      • Alex

        Congrats, Shelby!!! I am getting married this Saturday as well!!! And I completely agree, this has been a perfect adjunct this morning as I prepare my heart to marry my fiancé this weekend.

    • Susan

      Oh how happy you must be ! Blessing to you and your (soon-to-be husband), Shelby! Every day of your marriage will be a testament to your love and commitment and God’s love and commitment too !

  • I have been married for 38 years. Some days it feels like forever and some days it feels like time has flown. Earthly cares, tedious work, joyful family times, quiet closeness, all contribute to which way I’m feeling about my marriage. Those are the physical aspects of my marriage. The spiritual remains the same, though, as on the day that Hiel and I joined our hands and made a covenant with each other. I can close my eyes and be back in that moment and I thank God for putting Hiel in my life.

    It’s not always been easy, but we both love gently, speak carefully and apologize when we make mistakes, and give each other space when we need it. We both try hard to honor our promises, share the work of the relationship, and encourage each other to step out in our individual interests. Thank you Lord for supporting us over all this time !

  • Churchmouse

    When I read these verses on marriage I vacillate between optimism and pessimism, the sacredness and the humanness. God knew what He was doing when He instituted marriage and so becoming a covenant keeper is possible. I don’t always do it well. On my wedding day, my husband and I stood and proclaimed our vows. But since that day, those vows have been fleshed out on our knees. Today I’m in prayer for all those on this journey of two becoming one.

  • Traci Mir

    ❤️

  • this has always been the scripture I struggle with the most. by the time I was 23 I was divorced with two kids and it really was a matter of survival. I would have died in that marriage in just another year or two. 7 years later I’m still single. I can’t help but feel that that was my only chance and since I picked the wrong person… too bad for me. God doesn’t want divorce so he’s not going to be sending anyone else and I decided a long time ago that I only wanted the one God wanted for me. I struggle greatly with my divorce being a defining monumental personal failure. I continue to pray for a true good partner and God’s forgiveness but I’m not sure i really believe I get a second chance there.

    • Sarah

      Kate – so sorry that you went through that with your first marriage! I know though that this is not the character of God, it’s not like Him to say “oh well you didn’t choose right, too bad for you” no way, that is not the loving God we serve. That’s more like something we would tell someone. Really, this is one of those lies the devil tells – just like in the garden. But really God doesn’t “like” divorce for a specific reason – the divorces that are a result of two selfish people who choose to love themselves instead of putting each other first and preferring one another. And the reason God “doesn’t like divorce” has much more to do with our hearts and the people we hurt (including ourselves) than it does with a “right” decision. This is big stuff for sure – a very important decision, which is why He teaches us to guard our hearts and to keep our eyes wide open and most of all to seek Him in every decision we make. He wants the very best for your life and He wants you to rejoice in all that He has done for you now and has yet to do. You have not yet lived all of the life He has purposed for you. I am a testimony (& I know others too!) to the fact that waiting on Him and focusing on what He has put before you in the meantime will bring you the greatest joy and peace and fulfillment. He knows your heart. He knows your desires. Trust Him with it all so that when the time comes and He introduces you to the man you will live out the rest of your life with, you will be prepared, & you will be the best woman for that man. You are not living in punishment for your first choice. God loves you, knows you, and always wants the absolute best for you. I think right now He is saying “Daughter, I love you. Since we have this extra time while you don’t have someone taking your extra attention, could we spend more time together? Let’s walk together a bit and you tell me your thoughts and I’ll share with you mine. Let’s get a cup of coffee and look back to my Word so that you can remember Me and who I Am. I Am the One who loves you and as your Daddy, I want the best for you and the one I have prepared for you.”

      • Rg

        Oh my. Sarah…this is such a lovely response to Kate’s post and I hope she finds it comforting and encouraging. I am praying constantly for my adult unmarried children and your beautiful perspective will help us all through this journey.

        • Jen

          I agree with Rg, thank you for the love you poured into that note.

      • Elaine

        this was eye opening

    • Lynne

      Kate, maybe God led you away from your marriage because it wasn’t healthy. Maybe he needs to guide you to to a place of greater strength before he introduces you to another partner. God works is odd, mysterious ways. I didn’t marry until I was 43. I always hoped someone was picked by God for me, but I honestly wasn’t sure. Friends married and had children, and I always felt a bit left out. I didn’t make particularly good choices in the men I dated. However, my time “alone” strengthened me, I developed a strong faith, and was ultimately in a better place to receive the man God had chosen for me. Marriage isn’t easy, but in hindsight, I’m so grateful my life has unfolded as it has. Each season has prepared me for the next. I trust tha God has this. That he really is looking out for me. That he really does love me. God loves you too. Maybe the answer is “not yet”. Praying for strength and peace for you my friend.

    • Cheryl

      Dear Kate,

      I’ve never posted here before but your post touched my heart. The Bible is full of second chances: the Israelites, King David and Peter come to mind right away. Our God is a God of second (and third and fourth etc.) chances for all of us who love and believe in His son Jesus and that includes you!! I don’t think He looks at you and sees your divorce. I think He looks at you and sees you through Jesus’ eyes: this wonderful woman He’s created. I don’t know what your future holds romantically, but I do know He is using all of your life events for your ultimate good. God bless you and your kids!

      • Rachel

        Yes and Paul – once Saul, a killer of Christ’s followers – he wrote this passage and lots more! What a guy! And I’m sure God is saying about you “What a woman!”

    • Tina

      Sarah… My sister in Christ… ah how I hurt with you… that or part of your journey has been mine.. but right now, I know it’s been s while and it seems like forever.. I guess, but please one day at a time.. give your all to God who promises to walk along side us to comfort and give peace where needed..
      This season that you are in, I promise , because know and I trust God, will not be forever.. we grow in these times and learn to lean on the One who will never let us down or love us any less because of life circumstances… and please, please, please don’t believe that God has given up on you cos let me tell you my sister, HE LOVE EVERY BIT OF YOU. EVERY HAIR ON YOUR HEAD HE CAN ACCOUNT FOR.. YOU ARE HIS PRIDE AND JOY. He would no more say that’s it to you then you would your babies..
      Trust Him. Don’t give up on Him, because for sure He hasn’t on you…
      Sending love wrapped prayers and hugs..

    • Nads

      I completely agree with Kate and those who have posted so beautifully. The lies the enemy tells us can be SO powerful if we let them. OF COURSE we need to live our best lives BUT,…no circumstance, no “error”, …is beyond His reach. I’m preaching to myself as much as I am to you!
      God bless.

  • The first guy I married put an eighteen year old me in hospital with broken ribs and swollen eyes and face…
    I ran after a year of such beatings!
    I made a promise to myself, even then, no one would ever lay a hand or fist on me again.. ever.. because of putting a ring on my finger..!
    I was then in a relationship for 17 years that ended when my daughter died… he found comfort with a woman at work whom he has since married.. I do pray they make it passed 8 years.. she seems good for him..

    So this is me now…some 14 years later, waiting for Mr Right, hand picked by God to come along.. to love, honour and cherish… and please God, vise versa..
    The journey I have been on since I was 17 years old has been a long and windy, often rocky and uphill..
    But God…
    I trust and believe He’s got this.. so I hold fast to Him.. hanging on to His promise of a plan and a purpose.. to bring the future i hope for…to giving of my hearts desire…. to Grace and favour… to hoping and being hope filled…
    Looking forward absolutely to that day and season when I make vows and keep them.. til death do us part..

    Thank you Lord God for your Word and promises for your presence, grace and hope…in Jesus ‘ name with thanks I pray.. Amen…

    HAVE a beautiful and God blessed day Sisters…xx

    • Kay Coughlin

      Tina, your journey has been filled with so much human-ness. I thank you for the testimony you deliver every day. I am grateful to you, my sister in Christ!

    • Pam

      Praying for Mr Right to find you! Have a blessed day Tina!

    • Cynthia Johnston

      Precious Tina, your faith in God’s promises to you is such an inspiration to me to keep believing! Thank you for your honesty and vulnerability! May God answer your prayers for a life partner and bless you as you trust in Him!

    • Michele Nickerson-Swanson

      Thank you for sharing Tina ❤️

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