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Does God Expect Me to Stay Married to a Jerk?
Christian Post ^ | 9/22/2009 | S. Michael Craven

Posted on 09/22/2009 7:29:33 AM PDT by SeekAndFind

Years ago, a family therapist was asked, “What are the top three causes of divorce?” to which he replied, “Selfishness, selfishness, selfishness!” Of course this is an oversimplification of the varied and many contributing factors to divorce but there is an element of truth in this statement that permeates each.

At the core of all that ails the human race is selfishness: this innate love of self-self-worship-or pride. We alienate ourselves from one another when we elevate our desires, our opinions, and our feelings above others. We cheat and steal because we want, we lie and deceive because we give priority to our self-interests, we murder-in actuality or with words-because our puny sense of supremacy is threatened. This is the very sin that separates us from God: our love of self over and against the Father. In short, we are deplorably selfish beings consumed with satisfying our own appetites and desires, often without regard for anyone else.

This is the dreadful state in which the Lord finds us-and despite our active resistance to his rightful rule in our hearts, our thoughts, and actions, he lovingly subdues our rebellious pride with his grace and mercy. He saves us from eternal alienation that our stubborn resistance brings! The old man, so infatuated with himself, is crucified and buried with Christ; we are raised to a new life in Christ (see Romans 6:4). However, this new life doesn’t just happen. Our will, which was once in bondage to sin, has been freed to pursue godliness in obedience to Christ through faith. Paul, writing to the church at Ephesus, tells us that we are to be taught to cast away our “old self” and “to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 4:22–24, NIV). C. S. Lewis summed it up in saying, “To become new men means losing what we now call ourselves” (Mere Christianity).

The clearest clue to what this new self looks like is given in Paul’s letter to the Philippians when he writes, “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness” (Philippians 2:5–7, NIV). This is a radical departure from our selfish nature into one that denies self even in the face of offense. This same nature is, of course, the foundation for marriage-but also all relationships.

In Ephesians, Paul lays out the foundation of marriage as being rooted in a mutual love and submission, “Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord” and “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her” (Ephesians 5:22, 25, NIV). Notice also that Paul begins this chapter with the charge to “Be imitators of God,” another reference to the disposition described in Philippians chapter two. Later in his letter to the Ephesians, Paul compares this joining of two people into “one flesh” to that of Christ and his bride, the church (see Ephesians 5:32). Thus marriage-this “profound mystery,” according to Paul-transcends anything resembling a mere contractual obligation. Nor is marriage simply a self-serving means to personal happiness; Christian couples should strive for and display this self-denying disposition.

Another aspect that should govern Christian marriage is the doctrine of God’s sovereignty.

Do we believe that when we suffer, we suffer outside the will of God, or do we believe that God allows suffering to enter our lives for his good purpose? Isn’t there the expectation that we, too, will share in the sufferings of Christ, that “we must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22, NKJV)? While we do not eagerly seek to suffer, don’t we believe that suffering bears sweet fruit nourished by bitter tears and that such fruit is nothing less than holy character (see Romans 5:2–4)? If we believe that God in his providence causes everything to “work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose”(Romans 8:28, NLT), then wouldn’t it be reasonable to conclude that such suffering may also come in the form of a troubled marriage?

That being the case, wouldn’t we be expected to persevere rather than seek escape, trusting God for both endurance and the outcome? It is here-in the domain of our so-called domestic happiness-that we may be tempted to draw a boundary, saying, in essence, “Lord, you may come this far but no farther.” It is often in this context that the old self returns in an effort to assert his rights: “I need, I want, I deserve!” However, the Christian is compelled to lay down these rights and instead trust in God, believing that his grace is indeed sufficient in all things including an oppressive and loveless marriage. It is here that the Christian patiently endures, trusting the Lord for the grace to do so, and hopes for a future where God may be pleased to set things right.

Please do not think I am suggesting that the person suffering physical abuse remain in a situation whereby he or she is subjected to physical harm. I am not! However, that is a topic for another time, as I am presently addressing divorce for no other reason than the failure to achieve personal “happiness.” This is where we Christians either begin to differ from the world or remain worldly. The Christian life does not culminate in a quest to be happy but to be holy!

If our attitude is to be the same as that of Christ Jesus, then consider how Jesus responds to his frequently unfaithful bride, the church. Every one of us has, at some point, been unfaithful to Christ; we have wantonly rebelled against him, we have been indifferent, even abusive in our disregard toward him. We have all failed to love him at times and we constantly put our needs ahead of his. And yet Jesus never says to us, “That’s it, I’ve had it! I will not take this abuse anymore; you are selfish and uncaring; you don’t love me or make me feel special, so I am out of here!” Can you imagine these words coming out of the Savior’s mouth? Never!

So it is to be with us. For those poor souls who walk in darkness, there is no chance of assuming the self-denying character of Christ; but for those whom Christ has made alive, there is the all-sufficient well of grace. It is to Christ that the Christ-follower must go with his “irreconcilable differences,” not to the courts. It is only Christ who reconciles the unrighteous with the righteous and it is Christ that can reconcile husband and wife.

The question for the church is this: Will we truly trust him in all things, including while we suffer marital maelstroms? Will we follow Christ when it is most difficult? If we won’t, then not only will we fail in our witness, we will never know the freedom of living by faith. _____________________________________________________________________________________________________

S. Michael Craven is the President of the Center for Christ & Culture. Michael is the author of Uncompromised Faith: Overcoming Our Culturalized Christianity (Navpress). Michael's ministry is dedicated to renewal within the Church and works to equip Christians with an intelligent and thoroughly Christian approach to matters of culture in order to demonstrate the relevance of Christianity to all of life. For more information on the Center for Christ & Culture, visit: www.battlefortruth.org. Michael lives in the Dallas area with his wife Carol and their three children.


TOPICS: Moral Issues; Religion & Culture
KEYWORDS: biblequotecagematch; divorce; marriage; separation
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1 posted on 09/22/2009 7:29:33 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
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Comment #2 Removed by Moderator

To: SeekAndFind

NOPE - but you gotta forgive him/her.


3 posted on 09/22/2009 7:31:41 AM PDT by RebelTXRose
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To: SeekAndFind

Does the poster really think any human knows what God expects, or just what someone may think God expects?


4 posted on 09/22/2009 7:34:05 AM PDT by stuartcr (If we are truly made in the image of God, why do we have faults?)
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To: devane617

Giggidy!


5 posted on 09/22/2009 7:34:29 AM PDT by thecabal (Destroy Progressivism)
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To: stuartcr
Does the poster really think any human knows what God expects

The poster works on one premise --- What God expects is revealed in His WORD ( Scripture ). That's why he quotes it extensively in the article.

Of course, if someone doesn't share that premise, the article is moot.
6 posted on 09/22/2009 7:36:16 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
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To: SeekAndFind
Does God Expect Me to Stay Married to a Jerk?

I think you mean "does God expect me to continue to live with a jerk"?

You will always be married to him, irrespective of what the judge says.

7 posted on 09/22/2009 7:36:39 AM PDT by marshmallow ("A country which kills its own children has no future" -Mother Teresa of Calcutta)
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To: stuartcr

People have been claiming to know the will of $DEITY for many millennia, and lots of people have believed their claims. Today appears to be no different.


8 posted on 09/22/2009 7:38:02 AM PDT by thecabal (Destroy Progressivism)
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To: SeekAndFind

A simple rejoinder ...

You are with some boyscouts in canoes approaching a waterfall, and one containing three boys - one is your son — turns over. Two cling to the canoe and your son is alone in the water.

Who do you save?

Correct answer is you save your son.

Your future grief will be over losing two, whereas your future happiness will radiate among others, including your own self.


9 posted on 09/22/2009 7:42:00 AM PDT by OldNavyVet
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To: SeekAndFind

Elizabeth Edwards?


10 posted on 09/22/2009 7:43:25 AM PDT by LRS (Just contracts; just laws; just a constitution...)
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To: SeekAndFind

I invite anyone who is against divorce to spend a week with my ex wife.

She’ll make a believer out of you.


11 posted on 09/22/2009 7:43:36 AM PDT by humblegunner
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To: SeekAndFind

The correct answer is: Don’t marry a jerk in the first place.


12 posted on 09/22/2009 7:50:36 AM PDT by iowamark (certified by Michael Steele as "ugly and incendiary")
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To: humblegunner

This article doesn’t quote the OT Law, where God makes allowance for divorce. That wasn’t because divorce is a goal we should seek, but because there ARE times when divorce is appropriate.

If one person is working to destroy the other, and will not agree to counseling, then the other needs to escape. If one makes the mistake of marrying a psycho-bitch (as my son did), then the right answer is not to stay with her and have kids!


13 posted on 09/22/2009 7:51:14 AM PDT by Mr Rogers (I loathe the ground he slithers on!)
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To: stuartcr
Does the poster really think any human knows what God expects, or just what someone may think God expects?

God has told us what He expects of us time and time again.

14 posted on 09/22/2009 7:51:59 AM PDT by frogjerk (Obama Administration: Security thru Absurdity)
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To: Mr Rogers

Yes there are times when a divorce is appropriate and I believe God knows that.


15 posted on 09/22/2009 7:53:32 AM PDT by LuvFreeRepublic (CAN YOU HEAR US NOW!!!)
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To: SeekAndFind

God Himself is divorced.

One simply cannot study a NIV or NASB or NKJV or any other of these new-fangled versions and expect to find truth.The best study tools available are geared to the KJV.

Divorce is a sin, but Christ Jesus offered us a new start, a sort of resurrection every time we repent.

In twenty years of counseling, I can tell you that God does not expect His children to live in turmoil in a house divided.


16 posted on 09/22/2009 7:55:28 AM PDT by SentForth5 (Just sayin' is all...)
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To: SeekAndFind
I believe no one should get married. People change over the course of a lifetime and you will not be married to the same person you married 10 years before.

Anybody doubt that look at your spouse now vs when you got married.

17 posted on 09/22/2009 7:57:51 AM PDT by GUNGAGALUNGA
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To: GUNGAGALUNGA
Anybody doubt that look at your spouse now vs when you got married.

I followed your advise and I have to say, she's getting better with age.
18 posted on 09/22/2009 8:04:05 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
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To: SentForth5
God Himself is divorced.

What do you mean by this statement?

19 posted on 09/22/2009 8:04:27 AM PDT by frogjerk (Obama Administration: Security thru Absurdity)
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To: Mr Rogers
If one makes the mistake of marrying a psycho-bitch (as my son did), then the right answer is not to stay with her and have kids!

What happens if they do have kids ?
20 posted on 09/22/2009 8:05:00 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
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To: GUNGAGALUNGA
Anybody doubt that look at your spouse now vs when you got married.

My wife and I have both changed and for the better. We hit speed bumps now and then but we knew what we were both committing to when we received the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony.

21 posted on 09/22/2009 8:06:15 AM PDT by frogjerk (Obama Administration: Security thru Absurdity)
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To: iowamark
The correct answer is: Don’t marry a jerk in the first place.

Thanks for the advise, but how do you spot one accurately before taking the plunge ?
22 posted on 09/22/2009 8:06:22 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
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To: SeekAndFind
...how do you spot one accurately before taking the plunge ?

Don't get married six months after meeting that person.

I knew my wife socially for 11 years before we started dating. I knew what kind of person she was.

23 posted on 09/22/2009 8:11:33 AM PDT by ShadowAce (Linux -- The Ultimate Windows Service Pack)
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To: SeekAndFind
What happens if they do have kids ?

Keeping kids in a bad situation with a parent who is emotionally unable to be a good parent for whatever reason, is harmful to the kids. Take the kids out of the situation, help them to understand that it is not their fault, and help them to understand the reason(s)their parent is sick. Then help them to acquire the tools they need to have so they can have a "relationship" with the sick parent without getting harmed.

24 posted on 09/22/2009 8:11:58 AM PDT by LuvFreeRepublic (CAN YOU HEAR US NOW!!!)
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To: frogjerk

God divorced Israel for cheating on Him with other gods. Jeremiah ch. 3.
I would tell you the verse, but it is better that you read the chapter.


25 posted on 09/22/2009 8:12:10 AM PDT by SentForth5 (Just sayin' is all...)
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To: GUNGAGALUNGA

Love is not love, which alters when it alteration finds.


26 posted on 09/22/2009 8:12:43 AM PDT by LongElegantLegs (It takes a Viking to raze a Village!)
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To: LuvFreeRepublic
Take the kids out of the situation, help them to understand that it is not their fault, and help them to understand the reason(s)their parent is sick. Then help them to acquire the tools they need to have so they can have a "relationship" with the sick parent without getting harmed.

How do you do that if your kids are VERY YOUNG or still infants ?
27 posted on 09/22/2009 8:14:27 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
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To: SeekAndFind

I hate to say it depends, but it does. If she is a true psycho-bitch, then divorce and take the kids with you. Protect the kids.

In my son’s case, he married a woman who, within a month, was physically attacking him with anything she could grab several times a week. On the nights she didn’t assault him, she would scream obscenities for hours.

And yes, she claimed that if they had kids, it would get better, and no, she didn’t need any counseling.

I told him to run - but as it turned out, she filed for divorce a few months later.


28 posted on 09/22/2009 8:14:42 AM PDT by Mr Rogers (I loathe the ground he slithers on!)
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To: SeekAndFind

I see two questions being asked on this post. First is an epistemological question: can I know God’s will? The second question is more axiological, namely, how does that knowledge affect my relationship with a “jerk”? Although God not not revealed everything about Himself, that does not mean that I can’t know something about God. God has revealed what he wants us to know about Him through the Scriptures. If we don’t accept the Scriptures as being our epistemological authority, then we are left to our own imagination and/or superstition. We know that Scripture teaches that marriage is to be a life long monogamous heterosexual union. Anything short of that is contrary to God’s will. Divorce is the result of sin or the hardness of our hearts. Because of sin, God allowed the state (civil law) to issue a divorce for two reasons: adultery and desertion. Before you get married, keep your eyes wide open, and after you get married keep them half shut. People get married for the wrong reasons, and they all too often fail to understand what it means to be married. The person that you married was a jerk before you got married, so what did you expect?


29 posted on 09/22/2009 8:18:50 AM PDT by Nosterrex
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To: SeekAndFind
How do you do that if your kids are VERY YOUNG or still infants ?

It is hard to take them out of the situation when they are young, primarily because of divorce lawyers. Take advantage of every moment you have with them and build their self esteem and strengthen your bond with them. As time goes on, they will understand. They say in Alanon, do the best you can and turn the results over to God. If they believe in themselves and they trust you, you are doing all you can.

I have an older one (23) that I can't take out of the situation. I trust that she will figure it out. She has my blood running through her veins.

30 posted on 09/22/2009 8:25:15 AM PDT by LuvFreeRepublic (CAN YOU HEAR US NOW!!!)
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To: SeekAndFind

Selfishness is not the cause of divorce.


31 posted on 09/22/2009 8:26:15 AM PDT by bvw
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To: SeekAndFind
I followed your advise and I have to say, she's getting better with age.

What a wonderful response!

32 posted on 09/22/2009 8:26:49 AM PDT by Nea Wood (Silly liberal . . . paychecks are for workers!)
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To: bvw

Selfishness is the cause of ALL sin.


33 posted on 09/22/2009 8:27:13 AM PDT by ShadowAce (Linux -- The Ultimate Windows Service Pack)
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To: humblegunner

My ex-husband, too. His mom just spent a couple of weeks with him and was sneaking around on the phone to tell me what a mean person he was. I said, “You don’t have to tell me- I was with him for 8 years!” Meaner than a snake, and I say that with all apologies to the reptiles out there.


34 posted on 09/22/2009 8:27:25 AM PDT by conservative cat (America, you have been PWNED!)
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To: anyone

I thought my husband was “the bee’s knees” back when I married him many years ago, but now I KNOW he is a good man. You all make me want to run in and give him a hug and a kiss, which I think I will do - some people maybe choose to vent their disappointments with their comments on this topic, while others reading this thread realize again just how wonderful life is and that Obama or no Obama, love in the home is wealth enough.


35 posted on 09/22/2009 8:28:00 AM PDT by Coyote Choir
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To: Nosterrex

Indeed, one of the biggest reasons the Lord YHVH sent us His Word was to let us know what is His will, and what is not His will.
We know the will of God when we know the scriptures.


36 posted on 09/22/2009 8:28:02 AM PDT by SentForth5 (Just sayin' is all...)
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To: ShadowAce

No, that’s not so at all.


37 posted on 09/22/2009 8:28:35 AM PDT by bvw
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To: bvw
Then give me an example of a sin that depends on one's unselfishness.

Pride is the source of all sin, and pride and selfishness go hand-in-hand.

38 posted on 09/22/2009 8:31:01 AM PDT by ShadowAce (Linux -- The Ultimate Windows Service Pack)
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To: Mr Rogers
If one person is working to destroy the other, and will not agree to counseling, then the other needs to escape.

I doubt the effectiveness of counseling.

It's just some words.

39 posted on 09/22/2009 8:33:05 AM PDT by humblegunner
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To: humblegunner

That depends on the person hearing them (and giving them). In many cases, one person WANTS to destroy the other - so counseling won’t do any good.


40 posted on 09/22/2009 8:37:02 AM PDT by Mr Rogers (I loathe the ground he slithers on!)
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To: ShadowAce

Selfishness is a tool, pride is tool. Like a gun. You wnat to outlaw guns because they can be misused?

Money is a great tool.


41 posted on 09/22/2009 8:37:57 AM PDT by bvw
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To: ShadowAce

We all see a number of grand scale “sin” based on unselfishness in progress. Socialism. Marxism. Wife swapping, public tolerance and even celebration of immorality.

In all of these the desire is to be “unselfish”.


42 posted on 09/22/2009 8:40:17 AM PDT by bvw
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To: bvw

Again—give me an example of a sin not based on selfishness or pride.


43 posted on 09/22/2009 8:42:14 AM PDT by ShadowAce (Linux -- The Ultimate Windows Service Pack)
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To: Coyote Choir

Same here.


44 posted on 09/22/2009 8:43:52 AM PDT by kalee (01/20/13 The end of an error.... Obama even worse than Carter.)
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To: bvw
Wrong. Socialism is pushed by those who want to be in charge and get all the perks. Wife swapping is nothing more than lust after someone else.

Tolerance? of others' sins? Are you serious?

Celebration of immorality is merely the celebration that they won't be alone in their sin. They want company.

It's all about pride and selfishness.

45 posted on 09/22/2009 8:44:29 AM PDT by ShadowAce (Linux -- The Ultimate Windows Service Pack)
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To: SeekAndFind

Thanks


46 posted on 09/22/2009 8:49:42 AM PDT by stuartcr (If we are truly made in the image of God, why do we have faults?)
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To: thecabal

Quite true.


47 posted on 09/22/2009 8:50:09 AM PDT by stuartcr (If we are truly made in the image of God, why do we have faults?)
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To: frogjerk

OK


48 posted on 09/22/2009 8:50:32 AM PDT by stuartcr (If we are truly made in the image of God, why do we have faults?)
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To: GUNGAGALUNGA
I believe no one should get married. People change over the course of a lifetime and you will not be married to the same person you married 10 years before. Anybody doubt that look at your spouse now vs when you got married.

People change but it is not the physical change that should bother you, it is the changes inside a person. Sometimes one person doesn't grow and the other does. This is always makes for a bad marriage but it doesn't have to be that way. Choose wisely and she/he will grow along with you and the marriage will be a good one. However, in your case I would say you are better off not marrying, because you don't believe in it. Some people shouldn't get married.

49 posted on 09/22/2009 8:51:17 AM PDT by calex59 (FUBO, we want our constitution back and we intend to get it!)
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To: kalee
Matt 19, Jesus answers your question: 1 When Jesus had finished these words, He departed from Galilee and came into the region of Judea beyond the Jordan; 2 and large crowds followed Him, and He healed them there. 3 Some Pharisees came to Jesus, testing Him and asking, " Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any reason at all?" 4 And He answered and said, "Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning MADE THEM MALE AND FEMALE, 5 and said, 'FOR THIS REASON A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER AND BE JOINED TO HIS WIFE, AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH'? 6"So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate."
50 posted on 09/22/2009 8:51:36 AM PDT by NoDRodee (U>S>M>C)
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