Divorce in the Church

It is a well known fact that the divorce rate of Christians is just as high as that of the secular world.  Some statistics claim it to be even higher.  How can that be?

I’ve spent a lot of time pondering this very question.  Through our counseling with couples and in observing the rituals of churchgoers, I have come to realize, what I believe to be, some of the reasons for these statistics.

We can go to church every Sunday and even on Wednesdays.  We can spend many hours involved in church ministries. We can read the Bible every day and spend time with the Lord in prayer.  We are still human, though, and face decisions every day whether to follow our own desires (our self) or the plan that God intends for us. “Self” interrupts God’s plan and wreaks havoc on marriage relationships.

Fighting “self’ is a daily struggle some Christians never overcome.  It may be a problem they don't acknowledge in spite of all their prayer time and church time.  It is the biggest roadblock in a marriage.  If Christians can’t “die to their self” for God, how will they ever do it in marriage?

We try to surround ourselves with other believers.  We give up our obvious sinful ways, not realizing we are only pealing the surface layer of issues we need to deal with.  Once we’ve made that public vow to turn from our sins, we find it difficult to face the subtle sins we all harbor, much less talk about them.  Heaven forbid our church friends find out we aren’t perfect and don’t walk the walk quite as well as we talk it - especially when it comes to marriage.  An ultimate relationship with God and our spouse requires a cleansing (with the help of God) of those issues that hamper our spirituality.

We put on our Sunday dress and Sunday faces to go to church, acting like our lives revolve around studying God’s word and praying for our brothers and sisters.  We say all the right things and worship all the right ways. We may have yelled and screamed with our spouse on the way to church, but glory be to God, we are going to look holy when we walk through the church doors.

We are very quick to ask for prayer when we face physical health issues and will stop whatever we are doing to pray with a brother or sister in need.  Few would seek help, though, for those evil thoughts that sometimes consume our minds or for those out-of-control emotions that send us into a tizzy.  Most of all, we would never stand up and ask the church to pray for our marriage because our spouse can’t stand the sight of us. Everybody knows good Christians don’t have marriage problems or children in rebellion. (Ooh, that devil is a big, fat liar!)

Generally, married couples do not ask for help from the church until one of them is ready to walk out the door.  Sometimes, it is too late by then.  Most pastors spend the majority of their time counseling with couples even though many of them aren’t educated to deal with serious marriage problems.  They don’t have the time or energy to commit to a lengthy healing process couples may need, especially with the large number of couples who request counseling.

Most churches do not offer programs to help couples learn how to sustain a healthy marriage.  I often check out churches in different areas online.  A majority of them have a program for divorce, but very few offer any teachings for married couples.

We aren’t taught how to be married. Our only models are our parents, and almost half of us come from broken homes and most of us from dysfunctional families. Our main supplier of marriage education is the television and the immoral programs that grace our screens. That education is based on a liberal view of no right or wrong. Whatever feels good – do it.  No wonder marriage is in serious trouble in our country.

More to come about divorce in the church!


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