5 Reasons NOT to Quit Your Marriage

She sat in the field watching the sun set. Heart aching, arms empty, mouth dry from antidepressants, she wondered when/if things would get better. What if they didn’t? She felt alone. 

Maybe you could relate to Lonely Wife last week. Maybe you want to quit your marriage. Maybe your heart has been aching for affection, companionship, and acknowledgement of what you do for the family. Maybe you’ve tried a few things for a few months, and you’re still not seeing any reason to keep trying.

Maybe you’ve bought the lie that marriage is a desolate place for women, that the intimacy and connection you seek for your family is something of Disney movies and fairy tales.

cowgirl not alone

Or maybe you have seen info about Shaunti Feldhahn’s new book and have hope once again.

Regardless, marriage is the training ground for becoming Christ-like. It’s not the only one, mind you, God will grow you in whatever context you choose.

One of the reasons God has specifics about behavior for marriage is that He knew we’d be drawn to it. He wired us to want connection, to want romance, to seek fulfillment in relationship.

The trouble comes when we lose our identity in the reactions of other people toward us – when we stop finding who we are in Him, and instead define ourselves by people’s responses to us.

And He knew we would struggle, but like motherhood, few things mature us like marriage – it’s an awesome place to learn. Knowing we would struggle He gave us specific reasons not to quit.

1. God hates divorce. Malachi 2:16 “For I hate divorce!” says the LORD, the God of Israel. “To divorce your wife is to overwhelm her with cruelty,” says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies. “So guard your heart; do not be unfaithful to your wife.”

2. Marriage takes perseverance, and perseverance grows mature faith. James 1:4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

3. You have made a vow before God. Ecclesiastes 5:4 When you make a promise to God, don’t delay in following through, for God takes no pleasure in fools. Keep all the promises you make to him.

4. If you divorce and marry again, your sin will still be an issue, so it is best to stay in the marriage you are in.  Numbers 32:23 But if you fail to keep your word, then you will have sinned against the LORD, and you may be sure that your sin will find you out.

5. God’s plan for you will take longer. Okay, so not one stand alone scripture here, but my overall take away based on the experience of the Israelites, Moses, and several other Old Testament individuals.

2nd and 3rd marriages also fail at even higher rates than 1st marriages – because everywhere you go, there you are.

Think about it, if you had a habit of being messy, and sold your house because you were tired of living in a messy house and wanted a new one that was clean, the odds are good that you would mess up the new house, too.

In other words, running away from the opportunities for growth that God gives us (AKA problems) doesn’t really change anything long term. In the short, all looks awesome – but in the long, we often eventually find ourselves back where we started. 

And the Bible tells wives to respect their husbands in Ephesians 5:33.  Dare 21 specifically speaks to this, hard as it may be sometimes. But God knows how to reach a man – and often, it is through the language of respect.

If you have been divorced, know I don’t judge you, and neither should anyone else. But also understand that if you claim to follow Christ, God wants to grow you in the NOW you are in – so seek Him and do what He asks of you.

And be aware that the thing God may be asking you to do may be to confront your husband’s sin against you – which can be even harder than persevering, sometimes. Know too, that this post is not specifically dealing with long-term sin against you – check out these for more on that:

Most of us are also painfully aware of how sinful WE are, too, so keep that in mind as you journey, regardless of what you are dealing with.  And if it is abuse, know we recommend that you GET OUT.  Get Safe. Now. You are responsible for your kids’ safety – and failure to confront abuse is condoning it.  This is also sin, as it is not love.

Know also that the research says that those who stay in difficult marriages are happy they stayed 5 years later.

So choose to do something better with God’s help in your marriage. Stick it out. 

Figure it out – and in doing so, you’ll have mature faith and some life lessons worth teaching your kids and those you mentor.  You’ll have a story worth sharing.

We spend this whole life learning to love others well – that’s most easily accomplished by spending time with God daily FIRST, then going about our day, living life through the lens of the Holy Spirit. We SEE differently.

How about you? Where are you in this journey? Are you sticking it out, figuring it out, or contemplating getting out? Would love to hear from you today.  

Love to you,

~Nina

You might check out these posts on the topic:

Shouldn’t He have to Earn Respect?

Why Does Respect Matter in Marriage?

What Does God Think of Me?

101 Ways to Love Your Wife (for men)

For Wives with Young Kids

For Parents of Tweens and Teens

 

 

 

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Comments

  1. Angela says

    I am on my second marriage. I divorced my first husband because he was physically abusive to me in the beginning and also a registered sex offender. I had not known about the latter until we had our daughter and I received a visit from the police with concerns about the child’s father. Needless to say that was all I needed to boot him out. I didn’t have to pray about it, God was there with me the entire way and I have no second thoughts or regrets about doing so. There are exceptions to everything and i doubt the Lord would want me to put myself or my child in danger. I have a wonderful husband now and he is a great father. The Lord put him in our lives and we continue to grow as a family.

  2. June says

    Nina, it may be to late for my marriage but I am struggling giving up. We have been in a bad place for many months. He hasn’t show me love and I have disrespected him to a point his self-esteem is shattered and he feels discontentment for me. He is passive and I am more dominate so he feels controlled and isolated. He has turned to multiple women now. He left and immediately filed for divorce with no desire to save the marriage. I had some emotional outbursts upon discovering the at least emotional affair he was having with these women. He was also sending pictures via text and I notified his work at the time, really hoping they would talk to him about what he was doing. He sees that as a form of punishment, taking his dignity and trying to get him fired. He said he wants to never see my face again. 16 years together, 3 children. He stopped going to church a few months ago and started drinking which I disrespected him more for. He offered counseling about 2 weeks before he left which I refused and asked him to leave (he had an inappropriate sexual encounter with a woman in a pool) so I was very hurt and angry over this. He doesn’t want to go to church or seek God at all. I know we could change the damaging things we were doing to each other but he has no desire. We did not have a God filled marriage which I have faith could change this. The divorce has gotten ugly with him blaming me and me blaming him. He has explained to our 16 year old that he tried to fix it but I wasn’t interested but never mentions his part or his sexual discretions. 2 weeks later he has no desire to fix it? He has been angry for years so she is almost glad he is gone given his anger outbursts. I have stopped trying to ask him to work on our marriage. The hurtful things he said back to me was too much. Should I just give in and honor his request for the divorce or continue to try to delay it and hope some of the anger subsides? The only communcation we have is through text.

    • Nina says

      June.

      SO SO so sorry you are going through this. I am going to blog the answer I’d suggest (free advice, might be worth what you paid for it, which is nothing) this week. Praying for you, beloved.

      Love to you,
      ~Nina

  3. Rebecca says

    How do I do the respect dare if we have been separated for the past 3 months (husband left and doesn’t really want to try) and he only sees me once every week or two for a couple hours. I feel like every minute I have with him counts but it’s so few and far between. phone calls are about every other day. I have made a drastic change in my attitude over the past few months and have gone through a God-bootcamp if you will and have reaffirmed my faith in Him and see such a bright and hopeful future now with God as my center. My husband doesn’t believe that my change is for real, has turned his back on God, and dwells on my past failures every time he sees me, no matter how much I allow God to shine through me. I thought I’d give the Respect Dare a try as I add it to my reading list but need help with applying it due to our separation! any advice??

    • Nina says

      Rebecca – this is about perseverance. Don’t call him, and get Michelle Weiner Davis’ “Divorce Remedy” book and follow the advice. God will lead you through the Respect Dare – He’ll change how you apply the assignments, so listen to Him well! :) And keep me posted – where there is breath there is life, and 1 Peter3:1-6 is true, regardless. There will perhaps come a day, maybe in months, maybe in years, where your husband wants the marriage back – and if you haven’t apologized, be sure to do so to speed this up, maybe even in writing – and then just do the next thing… there will also potentially come a day when you can share your hurts and work through them as you need to – but that time is not now, as you are setting aside your issues to heal the marriage.

      Praying for you, and please drop me a line now and again and let me know how you are.

      Love to you,
      ~Nina

  4. tiffanie says

    So far, I am so happy I stuck it out.. its only been 6 months, but hey, gotta start somewhere with the recovery and reconnection right? I never wanted divorce. I got caught up in expectations and let my respect for my husband falter to the point where he did not believe I cared for him at all.. He strayed and then inmy pain, I did too.. NEVER OK… I should have taken it to God and let him deal with my husband.. I turned myself and then my spouse over to HIM and what I thought was impossible has happened.
    My family and friends all told me to leave, but the Lord said stay… I am so glad I listened to HIM.

  5. says

    I stuck it out, worked on my own mess and am glad. However, the last few months have been quite difficult. Mostly my mind goes where it shouldn’t. Is this a direct attack because I am working on respect? I myself am surprised at how much I’m struggling to be content. I know truth and am holding up a shield to keep out the lies. So glad for your posts. So glad for God’s grace and mercy.

  6. I'm a Believer! says

    hi nina…
    i have been married more than once, and found a man 7 years ago that i thought i would spend my life with. he is very verbally abusive, and people dont understand why i dont leave. quite simple…i love him. from the day i met him, and the tears i cried, God has always given me peace…always. the bible says that we as wives can win our husband over by our actions and attitudes…or something to those words. also, i had a very hard time with marrying him because i was married more than once, and i spoke to a very biblical educated person regarding this matter. i was asked the question of have i asked for forgiveness. i said yes…i have asked for forgiveness over and over. the answer was, quit beating yourself up about it, and move on. God has forgotten about it, as far as the east is from the west. My husband is a very bitter man who has problems with grudges, anger and forgiveness, but can be the sweetest person i ever met. does he have two different personalities, yeh, i suppose, but hate the sin, love the sinner. he has turned away from church and really anything that has to do with it because God is not answering prayers for him. he feels as though God doesnt hear him. he needs to straighten thing out in his life first, and i realize that. i know people say, oh just leave people like that, its ok, but as the bible states, God hates divorce. we can also win our husbands over. if you are being physically abused, by all means, thats different..but besides that kind of abuse, stick it out. he is slowly coming around, and i believe God has a plan for our marriage. he knows the plans for us…to prosper. i may not prosper monitarily, but i do belive if i hang in there, my marriage will definately prosper. all good things take time, and some things are well worth waiting for. thanks for your words of encouragement….

    • Nina says

      Sounds like a living out of 1 Peter 3:7, when a husband doesn’t respect his wife and treat her with honor and respect, it DOES hinder his prayers. I’m so glad you have peace – so much of this journey is about finding peace in the midst of difficulty, being able to trust Him at that level. Glad you are here, praying for you, sweetie.
      Love to you,
      ~Nina

      • I'm a Believer! says

        thanks for your prayer nina. we can never get enough of those. :) 1 Peter 3:7 has been pointed out to me many times, but how do i approach my husband who is already a bit frustrated with God? maybe you could do a blog on this some day. “how do i approach my husband regarding biblical matters when he’s already bitter and angry”. you could word it much better than i can. :) (just an idea) thanks again…sister in Christ. :)

  7. Sally says

    I have a restored marriage after 5 1/2 years separated and it is well worth the “sticking it out” time. But it is only possible by the power of the Spirit of our mighty God. I wanted to quit many times but God encouraged me, strengthened me and walked with me (many times, carried me). I am in awe still at the restoration He brought and believe it is possible for all to experience that same healing. We can not control them or their part but when we look to God for our part he is faithful, for God honors honor! Hang in there, it is coming….

    • Nina says

      Praising God with you! :) And I notice that you separated – sometimes that’s necessary. Good for you both. God is good, all the time.
      Love to you,
      ~Nina

  8. Smittie says

    Nina and dear readers, what about us wives who are really being sinned against? My husband is an addict. He currently refuses to participate in a program and his behavior is deteriorating. He has lied to me, stolen from me, and who knows what else. I am definitely willing to continue in my marriage, but he needs to do his part, too. I have tried to hold him accountable. I pray constantly for my marriage, for him, and for my attitude. But I think we might need to separate for a season now. I do NOT want a divorce, but I don’t think I can live with him right now. And maybe a separation is the “rock bottom” that he needs to hit to decide if he wants to repent? I pray about this, but I fear my emotions are preventing clarity. This blog post was great, but it does not seem to address blatant sinning. Thank you!

    • says

      Smittie,
      I believe that redemptive separations are sometimes necessary. I have a son that has an addiction and there came a time that we told him he had to leave. He had nowhere to go, really. I felt strongly that the Lord was telling me the only thing I should help him with was to get into treatment.
      He’s been clean for over 90 days and living in a sober house. He’s a completely different person.

      Have you read Boundaries or Boundaries in Marriage by John Townsend and Henry Cloud? I think this would be really helpful.

      Sometimes the only way to help an addict is to stop helping them. I will pray for you that you can “hear” the Holy Spirit in this regard. Also perhaps seek some wise counsel at your church?

      Lastly, please check out a support group like Al-Anon or Celebrate Recovery. Most spouses and close family members of addicts are co-dependent. That is just as much a disease and can be as destructive to relationships as addiction.

      Blessings,
      Trixie

    • Nina says

      Smittie, you are right. I am sorry I didn’t mention this or abuse in my post – I forget that not everyone has read everything, and I’m still stinging from being accused recently of not teaching everything the Bible says. 1 Corinthians 7:11 tells us that if a wife leaves, it is for the purpose of restoration. I am praying for you and your marriage, and updated my post to deal with these issues better.

      Thank you for the gentle and respectful reminder, and know we are praying for you.
      Love to you, gorgeous! SO very glad you are here!!
      ~Nina

  9. says

    I learned the hard way that leaving your marriage just means the same problems in a slightly different surroundings. I know in my case the grass wasn’t greener somewhere else because when I went somewhere else the grass was dead there too, because I was dead (spiritually). I’m so grateful to God that He save me and redeemed our marriage. He gave me chance to do it right this time. Now the grass is looking pretty good. The dead spots are giving way to new, green grass and while there are weeds, there aren’t as many and they’re dying out. Thank you Lord Jesus for forgiveness and redemption.

    • Nina says

      Trixie,
      Still praising God for what He is doing in your life! He IS in the redemption business, and so very good, all the time!! :)
      Thank you for your comments – they are so appreciated and welcomed!
      Love to you,
      ~Nina

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