Asian couple have an argument
Asian couple have an argument

Hope in the Face of Divorce—Part 1

After 10 years of marriage, my husband just asked for a divorce. We disagree about almost everything we speak about. As a Christian, […]

Article January 6, 2022

After 10 years of marriage, my husband just asked for a divorce. We disagree about almost everything we speak about. As a Christian, however, I know divorce is not God’s plan. I’ve asked my husband to join me in counseling to find solutions to our dilemma, but he isn’t interested. We have two children in grade school who I am very concerned will be badly affected if we get divorced. Please help. 

Thank you for your sobering and important question. We are very sorry to hear about your dilemma, but pleased that you are very interested in finding a way to keep your marriage together. 

Marriage was God’s idea from the very beginning. Genesis 2:18, 24 states: “Then the Lord God said, ‘It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.’ . . . Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”*

Like yours, most marriages are filled with disagreements and misunderstandings. The truth is, there are no perfect marriages because there are no perfect people. Romans 3:23 confirms: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Since we are all sinners, we should expect misunderstandings and disagreements in marriage. 

What we know based on social scientific research and personal experience with couples we have worked with, is that the difference between couples that make it and couples that don’t is their attitude. Those who go into marriage expecting to encounter difficulties and knowing that it will take effort to work together to learn skills to manage their differences are more likely to make it. On the other hand, couples who go into marriage expecting to live happily ever after are more likely to end in divorce.  

You are correct when you say divorce is not God’s plan. In fact, the Bible is very clear about God’s intent. Matthew 19:3-6 shares: “And Pharisees came up to him and tested him by asking, ‘Is it lawful to divorce one’s wife for any cause?’ He answered, ‘Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh”? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.’” 

Many couples become discouraged when they spend most of their conversations disagreeing with each other. We understand that. We encourage couples, however, to see their marriage as a tooth that has a cavity. There is pain and deterioration because of the lack of proper maintenance. But most people don’t just go into the garage, find a pair of pliers, and pull out the tooth. Reason tells us to go to the dentist—who has been trained to repair cavities in teeth—and get the necessary professional help to repair and save the tooth. The same needs to happen in marriage. Just because there are challenges doesn’t mean you should throw in the towel. 

We encourage you to keep praying to God to change your husband’s attitude. Then find a good Christian counselor who can help you repair the dysfunction in your relationship. We will also pray for God to perform the needed miracle in your marriage, so your family may not only survive but thrive in the days ahead.   


*All Bible texts are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

AUTHORS

Willie Oliver, an ordained minister, pastoral counselor, family sociologist, and certified family life educator, is director for the Department of Family Ministries at the world headquarters of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. 

Elaine Oliver, a licensed clinical professional counselor, educational psychologist, and certified family life educator, is associate director for the Department of Family Ministries. You may communicate with them at Family.Adventist.org or at HopeTV.org/RealFamilyTalk.

The original version of this story was published on Adventist World in January 2022.