No marriage is perfect. Because every husband and every wife without exception is a sinner, each needs to ask forgiveness and speak forgiveness daily. In order for husbands and wives to have this forgiveness to speak to each other, they must constantly be on the receiving end of God’s forgiveness in Jesus Christ, distributed in Word and Sacrament. Since God forgives us freely, fully, and unconditionally in Christ, we too sincerely forgive and gladly do good to those who sin against us. Sadly, most divorces are caused by the unwillingness of either one or both spouses to forgive the other. That is downright sinful.
Marriage, according to God’s Word, is the lifelong commitment of one man and one woman. God is the one who joins husband and wife together. And no one is to separate what God has joined together. Some will argue: God allows divorce in a few narrowly defined circumstances (i.e. adultery, desertion). Yes, that is true. But only because of the hardness of man’s heart, says Jesus. Whatever the problems, God wants husband and wife to be reconciled with one another. Always!
Let’s be honest. Most divorces are for sinful, selfish reasons, no matter how pious the justification seems. Here is a sampling of the most common false justifications:
- I no longer love him/her.
- I love someone else.
- We cannot reconcile our differences.
- We grew apart.
- We seem happier when we’re apart.
- God wants me to be happy, and I’m not happy in this marriage.
A marriage patterned after the relationship of Christ and His bride (the Church), and built on mutual commitment, mutual forgiveness, and mutual self-giving, is a happy marriage. This is true in sickness and in health, in good times and in bad.
If you’ve lost sight of that, it can be found again. Indeed, it must be found again. Talk to your spouse. Ask forgiveness. Speak forgiveness. Take it to the Lord in prayer. Solicit your pastor’s help and guidance. And be found regularly and faithfully on the receiving end of Christ’s Word and Supper. It may be a difficult journey back to a happy marriage, but it is well worth the time and effort, the forgiveness and patience necessary to make it happen. By God’s grace, be reconciled in Christ!
“Let marriage be held in honor among all.”