Rewind #3: Save A Marriage At All Costs? Why Marriage as the "One Thing" Won't Work
Hello everyone! I am reposting this blog again for the 3rd time. I added a few extra points as well. I will keep revisiting this subject until we get it into our minds and hearts, until we stop letting evil run over people in the name of saving marriage. Paul never intended for marriage to be the "one thing" that is to be pursued and saved at all costs. He was not interested in us proving we could not fail or that we have it all together. We err as a church when we preach and practice this and we help to keep people in very bad situations who don't want to let go of their "one thing" we told them to maintain at all costs.
I keep hearing and seeing "no matter what it takes" when it comes to marriage. I am hearing and seeing people who have been in marriage long after they should have sent their partner on down the road for their own mental and emotional well-being. Church, this has gone on long enough. Restoring a marriage will only work if: 1) you have two people willing to work with each other, 2) you have two people willing to be honest, 3) you have two people willing to repent where repentance is needed. It does not work if you have one person willing to work and the other willing to coast. I have yet to see it work in abusive situations. Bottom line, it will not work where evil is abounding and allowed to run over someone. I will ask you again to consider the cost where evil is at work!
My Orginal post from November 8th, 2017
I keep hearing the mantra "save your marriage at all costs!" It is said in different ways but the message is still the same. We hear it regarding a spouse with a continued addictive pornography issue. We hear it concerning a spouse who continually has extra marital affairs. I have even heard this said to someone being abused. "Save your marriage whether it is hurting you and your children or not. Save your marriage whether it is damaging your mental, emotional or physical well being or not. Save your marriage so you will look good to the church and to others." What?! Save your marriage and allow evil to continue its destructive work?! Continue to allow an unrepentent person to hurt you or your children in the name of "save our marriage"?! I don't think so!
Whether that is the intended message or not, that is what is being communicated in the church today and I'm not even sure the church body or leadership even realize it.
Here is why that won't work:
This idea of saving marriage at "all costs" did not come from God. It came from people's want to not be perceived as "failing" and to not be perceived as broken people in need of help. This idea cares more about what people think than it cares for the individuals in the relationship. God cares more about people than a piece of paper or your opinion of yourself or someone else's opinion of you. This idea is law-based and has its basis in being fake so you can look "super spiritual." None of us are super spiritual, let me just put that out there. There is not a one of us who at some point in time have not been broken beyond our own abilities. I include myself! If you think you haven't, you are fooling yourself. People who chose to walk away and not save their marriage are not doing this lightly or without thought or heartache.
Do you know why they must walk away?
Here are three big reasons:
1) They keep getting mixed signals. 2) They can't get through to the other person about their needs. 3) They are being hurt or damaged continually by the other person. Please allow me to tell you what they are not: They are not "bad people" who did not "try hard enough" or "did not love God enough" or are "less Christian" or "didn't have enough faith" Those are lies, all of them!
I have one last thing I want to say about "saving marriage at all costs" today: you can't save something at all costs if you don't have the power to do so in the first place. Saving a marriage requires humility before each other and God, commitment and allowing God to work on the dark, ugly places. If these things aren't in place, you can't save anything. If these things aren't in place in both people, that marriage will not be saved, period.
Let's be real and get real church! People are not in need of mantras, to-do lists or cliches today where marriage is concerned. They need the church to acknowledge that some things don't work out despite our best effort and that we live in a world where not all people will want redemption, even though it is a free gift! They need to know there is grace regardless of whether a marriage is saved or not. They need to know they did not fail and they need to know they are still loved.
It's time to get real church! Too many lives are at stake to do otherwise! Yes it might be uncomfortable but it will be worth it!
Not afraid to be real,