Because of your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. ESV Matthew 19:8
Around the dinner table the other night we were discussing the recent divorces of several prominent leaders in Christian circles. While we don’t know all the causes and ramifications of these divorces, my heart breaks as I consider the end of these marriages. I have enough divorced friends to know divorce is incredibly painful, and this post is not intended to heap shame or pain on those who have walked this horrible journey. Instead, I hope to remind those who are married of the incredible importance of maintaining our marriage at all costs.
My premise is this (feel free to disagree): If God calls you to be married, your marriage becomes a critical part of your spiritual formation and ongoing spiritual leadership. I don’t know the details of many divorces, but in our celebrity Christian culture, I suspect many of the marriages were strained by the stress brought on by expanding ministry. I’m assuming these ministers and ministries were genuinely blessed by the Lord and guided by hearts that genuinely desired to see God exalted and people changed by the gospel. However, these endeavors can be consuming, especially when they take off in a viral way. At that point, it seems counter-productive to pull back to focus on marriage, but perhaps that needs to happen at times. (There is a counter argument as well, that some people “put their marriage first” and in the process don’t work for the gospel as well as they perhaps could…there is a balance in all things in life).
In particular, I think of a family my wife knows. The wife in this family has suffered from severe migraines for the past 30 years. This has no doubt hindered her husband from expanding some of his ministry opportunities. However, if God is sovereign, perhaps limiting our ministry opportunities to care for our spouses brings God glory, saves our marriages, and ultimately shapes us spiritually. God can reach the world without us, so if He called us to not separate from our spouses, perhaps we should take whatever steps are needed to maintain our marriages. In such a short post, I’ve only scratched the surface, and I know these issues are incredibly complex. What thoughts would you have?