God’s will for marriage, divorce, and remarriage
Divorce is on the rise. It is not unusual for people to enter into marriage nowadays with the idea, “I can always get a divorce if this marriage doesn’t work out (according to my expectations).” “Irreconcilable differences” and “failure to consummate the marriage” are grounds for divorce in court. Some couples even enter prenuptial contracts. Yet all this contradicts God’s design for marriage. The Bible makes it clear that marriage is an unbreakable covenant made before God, and He allows for only one condition for divorce: blatant and persistent adultery after many genuine attempts at reconciliation.
Marriage is a high calling created by God
God is the Creator of marriage. He made Eve to be one flesh with Adam.
Genesis 2:22-24 ESV And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. Then the man said, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.
Jesus explained to His disciples that in marriage, a man and a woman will leave their respective families (physically as well as emotionally) to be devoted to one another as one flesh. They become one unit and care for one another as they would their own bodies. A married couple is inseparable because it is God Himself who has joined them together. This original matrimonial contract that God ordained applies to all marriages, for believers and non-believers alike.
Matthew 19:3-11 NLT Some Pharisees came and tried to trap him with this question: “Should a man be allowed to divorce his wife for just any reason?” “Haven’t you read the Scriptures?” Jesus replied. “They record that from the beginning ‘God made them male and female.’” And he said, “‘This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.’ Since they are no longer two but one, let no one split apart what God has joined together.” “Then why did Moses say in the law that a man could give his wife a written notice of divorce and send her away?” they asked. Jesus replied, “Moses permitted divorce only as a concession to your hard hearts, but it was not what God had originally intended. And I tell you this, whoever divorces his wife and marries someone else commits adultery—unless his wife has been unfaithful.” Jesus’ disciples then said to him, “If this is the case, it is better not to marry!” “Not everyone can accept this statement,” Jesus said. “Only those whom God helps.
Seeing how hard this is, Jesus’ disciples exclaimed, “It is better not to marry!” (Matthew 19:10) Jesus did not disagree with them but reminded them that upholding a marriage according to God’s will is possible when we go to God for help.
The apostle Paul later elaborated on this in his letter to the Ephesians, likening the relationship between a married man with his wife to that between Jesus Christ with His church. Through mutual love and respect, marriage is to be honoured as a representation of God’s faithfulness, love, and devotion for us all. To separate and divorce would only smear this high calling and violate God’s will for marriage.
Ephesians 5:22-33 ESV Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.
This message, however, goes against our contemporary culture today that screams a different set of messages at us. It was no different in the apostle Paul’s time. Just before his message on marriage, Paul reminded the Ephesians not to walk in the wayward ways of a world that does not know God. He warned them against being deceived. As believers, we are to fully understand God’s will for us, in life and in marriage.
Ephesians 4:17-19 ESV Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity.
Ephesians 5:6-17 ESV Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not become partners with them; for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says, “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.
It can be easy to see marriage as simply a personal affair between two human beings, but this is not the case. It involves the spiritual ties, wellbeing, and emotions of the wider family, community, and often, children. Divorce fractures relationships on several different levels, including our relationship with God.
Our marriage vows are made to one another, and also to God. These are vows we must never break before God. We are called to glorify God through our marriage. Every married person will have to personally answer to Jesus on our marriage commitments on earth – have we honoured Him fully in both our public and secret married lives?
Numbers 30:2 NLT A man who makes a vow to the LORD or makes a pledge under oath must never break it. He must do exactly what he said he would do.
Colossians 3:17-19 ESV And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them.
Romans 2:16 NLT And this is the message I proclaim—that the day is coming when God, through Christ Jesus, will judge everyone’s secret life.
For anyone who may be unaware of the gravity of their marriage vows, God welcomes us to repent and make things right with our spouses, and with Him.
Acts 17:3-31 ESV The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.”
God hates divorce
During Moses’ time, God’s people made a covenant (see Exodus, Deuteronomy, Leviticus) to obey and remain devoted to God. Yet they were unfaithful to Him over and over again, worshipping man-made idols of wood and stone and other spirits throughout Israel and Judah. God called them “adulterous.”
Even so, God did not give up on them easily. Over a period of some 700 to 800 years, He called them back to Him over and over again through numerous prophets. Yet they only sinned against God more and more. It was only after seven centuries that God finally issued them a certificate of divorce for their unrepentant adultery (Jeremiah 3:8, Isaiah 50:1). After this “divorce”, the people were attacked, overthrown, and sent into exile into Babylon as captives for 70 years as part of God’s discipline on them. God would no longer tolerate their blatant and wanton sinful behaviour and had (temporarily) removed His hand of favour from them.
Jeremiah 3:6-10 NIV During the reign of King Josiah, the Lord said to me, “Have you seen what faithless Israel has done? She has gone up on every high hill and under every spreading tree and has committed adultery there. I thought that after she had done all this she would return to me but she did not, and her unfaithful sister Judah saw it. I gave faithless Israel her certificate of divorce and sent her away because of all her adulteries. Yet I saw that her unfaithful sister Judah had no fear; she also went out and committed adultery. Because Israel’s immorality mattered so little to her, she defiled the land and committed adultery with stone and wood. In spite of all this, her unfaithful sister Judah did not return to me with all her heart, but only in pretense,” declares the Lord.
Marriage is another solemn covenant we make before God. Yet we seldom take it as seriously as God does or stay as committed to work at the relationship as God faithfully does.
Jesus has stated that no human being should ever split a husband and wife apart (Matthew 19:6, Mark 10:9), yet many spouses do decide to separate. The pressures and temptations of this world make it tempting to give up on marriage rather than trust God to help us work through the most challenging of times.
Matthew 19:4-6 ESV 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.”
1 Corinthians 7:10-11 ESV To the married I give this charge (not I, but the Lord): the wife should not separate from her husband (but if she does, she should remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband), and the husband should not divorce his wife.
God is exceptionally patient with and gracious towards us and He calls us to have the same attitude towards our spouses. Through God’s example, we see that adultery is a valid condition for divorce. But even so, it is not something we should be compelled to consider immediately. Instead, we ought to seek to demonstrate God’s grace and love by first making genuine efforts at reconciliation, just as He has.
Before we are quick to point the finger at someone who has committed adultery in the traditional sense of the word; by having sexual encounters outside of marriage, we need to remember that according to God’s Word, anyone who looks lustfully at another person has already committed adultery in their hearts. This would include looking at pornography or fantasizing lustfully. Adultery is not just a physical act, it begins in our thoughts and intentions.
Matthew 5:27-28 ESV “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
God hates divorce. This is what He declares in Malachi 2:16 (NLT):
“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.”
God is committed to saving our marriages if we are willing to die to our personal expectations, pour out our grievances to God, submit to His will, repent of our own sins, and go through renewal and washing by the Holy Spirit. Our circumstances may not change immediately but our change of heart will provide a starting point for God to work a miracle in our marriages. All things are possible through Jesus Christ when we submit and obey Him.
Titus 3:3-5 ESV For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit,
Matthew 19:25-26 ESV When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished, saying, “Who then can be saved?” But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
Also, there are very real consequences for divorce. When we divorce our spouses and dishonour the sacredness of our marriage vows in God’s presence, our prayers are hindered and our worship becomes objectionable before God. It also defiles the marriage bed. (Some believers who have married divorcees have testified that they experience unseen blockages in sexual intimacy with their remarried spouses.) Plus, we begin a chain of generational curses that gets passed down to our children, and their children and grandchildren.
1 Peter 3:7 ESV Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.
Malachi 2:13-15 NLT Here is another thing you do. You cover the Lord’s altar with tears, weeping and groaning because he pays no attention to your offerings and doesn’t accept them with pleasure. You cry out, “Why doesn’t the Lord accept my worship?” I’ll tell you why! Because the Lord witnessed the vows you and your wife made when you were young. But you have been unfaithful to her, though she remained your faithful partner, the wife of your marriage vows. Didn’t the Lord make you one with your wife? In body and spirit you are his. And what does he want? Godly children from your union. So guard your heart; remain loyal to the wife of your youth.
Hebrews 13:4 ESV Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.
For anyone caught in a marriage plagued by domestic violence, mental abuse or distress, and forced sex or rape, one practical step is to check for the presence of witchcraft or other footholds that Satan is using to attack what God considers sacred; marriage. If a spouse has ever been dedicated to an ungodly spirit in a temple or comes from a family that worships idols or practises witchcraft, it will invariably result in family strife, adultery, heartless words, fits of anger, dissension, and violence. Prayers of repentance and deliverance may be urgently needed.
Romans 1:21-23,28-31 ESV For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless.
Galatians 5:19-21 ESV Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
We are called to love our enemies. Sometimes, spouses who have no fear of God may behave as our enemies. In such instances, how we choose to respond ought to be driven more by our roles as ambassadors for Christ more than our roles as husbands or wives. God uses marriages to test and sharpen us, so that we “may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing” when we meet God on Judgment Day. Let us remember that we are no longer bound to our spouses in heaven, our marriage covenant only applies on earth. May we not forsake our eternal rewards as a result of an imperfect earthly condition. Moreover, God invites us to seek Him for wisdom in all cases so that we can remain as wise as serpents and as innocent as doves before His throne.
Luke 6:27-32 ESV “But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either. Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them. “If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them.
James 1: 2-7 ESV Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.
Matthew 22:30 ESV For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven.
As believers, we can stand against Satan through fasting, forgiveness, our own confession, and prayers. Physical distance from warring or violent spouses may be advisable in some cases, particularly when children are involved. Nonetheless, seeking divorce is really only the last resort in the case of repeated and wanton adultery.
Matthew 10:16 ESV “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.
2 Corinthians 5:20 ESV Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.
For anyone who is already divorced, we can experience God’s grace when we wholeheartedly repent before God for breaking the covenant we had made to Him and seek His will for the rest of our lives, making sure to know His Word fully so we do not grieve Him again. When Jesus spoke to the woman by the well who had five husbands, He did not raise the issue of her multiple marriages on the onset. Instead, He invited her to be washed and be fulfilled through Him and to receive eternal life. He spoke of His hope before He addressed the woman’s grievous sins.
John 4:13-14 ESV Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
As for the woman caught in the sin of adultery, Jesus graciously did not condemn her but warned her to go and “sin no more.” We too would be wise to pay heed. Repentance from our hearts is accompanied by a change in the way we live our lives.
John 8:8-11 ESV Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.”]]
The one condition that the Bible allows for separation is when our unbelieving spouse chooses to leave us after we accept Jesus as our Lord and Saviour. God’s Word does not condone divorce in this case, merely separation. We are called to remain in the situation we have been placed in by God, which is “married” at the time we accepted Christ.
1 Corinthians 7:14-17 NLT For the believing wife brings holiness to her marriage, and the believing husband brings holiness to his marriage. Otherwise, your children would not be holy, but now they are holy. (But if the husband or wife who isn’t a believer insists on leaving, let them go. In such cases the believing husband or wife is no longer bound to the other, for God has called you to live in peace.) Don’t you wives realize that your husbands might be saved because of you? And don’t you husbands realize that your wives might be saved because of you? Each of you should continue to live in whatever situation the Lord has placed you, and remain as you were when God first called you. This is my rule for all the churches.
1 Corinthians 7:26 ESV Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be free. Are you free from a wife? Do not seek a wife…
God is committed to the salvation of all people, not just our marriages. He reminds all followers to shine brightly before others, so that our spouses may see God’s love and truth reflected through us. Who better to genuinely shine God’s light into an unbeliever’s heart, up close and personal, than one’s own spouse?
Matthew 5:14-16 ESV “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.
The Bible states that there is only one condition for remarriage, and that is in the case of the death of a spouse. Anyone who divorces and re-marries another person under any other condition commits adultery and causes the other person to commit adultery too. Given the prevalence of second or third marriages today, this is a hard message to receive. Yet God’s truths are not based on what’s common in our day but what stands for all eternity – His Word and commandments.
1 Corinthians 7:39 ESV A wife is bound to her husband as long as he lives. But if her husband dies, she is free to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord.
Romans 7:2-3 ESV For a married woman is bound by law to her husband while he lives, but if her husband dies she is released from the law of marriage. Accordingly, she will be called an adulteress if she lives with another man while her husband is alive. But if her husband dies, she is free from that law, and if she marries another man she is not an adulteress.
Psalm 111:7-8 ESV The works of his hands are faithful and just; all his precepts are trustworthy; they are established forever and ever, to be performed with faithfulness and uprightness.
The Bible demonstrates the consequences that King David suffered by taking on a living man’s wife, compared to a dead man’s wife.
David married his third wife, Abigail, after her husband was killed. This was in line with God’s Law on marriage. God did not discipline or stop David. (This is not to say that polygamy is lawful. Marriage is between one man and one woman, not numerous women.)
1 Samuel 25:39-40 ESV When David heard that Nabal was dead, he said, “Blessed be the Lord who has avenged the insult I received at the hand of Nabal, and has kept back his servant from wrongdoing. The Lord has returned the evil of Nabal on his own head.” Then David sent and spoke to Abigail, to take her as his wife. When the servants of David came to Abigail at Carmel, they said to her, “David has sent us to you to take you to him as his wife.”
1 Timothy 3:2 EV Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife..
When King David took on another man’s wife, Bathsheba, while her husband, Uriah, was still alive, however, God disciplined him for stealing another man’s wife. God warned David that there would be no peace in his family, his own household would rise up against him in rebellion, his wives would be taken from him and disgraced in public, and Bathsheba’s unborn child would die as a result.
2 Samuel 12:7-12 NLT Then Nathan said to David, “…The Lord, the God of Israel, says: I anointed you king of Israel and saved you from the power of Saul. I gave you your master’s house and his wives and the kingdoms of Israel and Judah. And if that had not been enough, I would have given you much, much more. Why, then, have you despised the word of the Lord and done this horrible deed? For you have murdered Uriah the Hittite with the sword of the Ammonites and stolen his wife. From this time on, your family will live by the sword because you have despised me by taking Uriah’s wife to be your own. “This is what the Lord says: Because of what you have done, I will cause your own household to rebel against you. I will give your wives to another man before your very eyes, and he will go to bed with them in public view. You did it secretly, but I will make this happen to you openly in the sight of all Israel.”
David repented immediately and his life was spared, but he lived with the consequences of his sins of taking Bathsheba and murdering Uriah. Even so, God eventually redeemed the situation after David’s repentance by making one of Bathesheda’s sons, Solomon, king after David (1 Kings 1:11-31). King Solomon is one of Jesus’ forefathers.
2 Samuel 12: 13-14 ESV Then David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.” Nathan replied, “The Lord has taken away your sin. You are not going to die. But because by doing this you have shown utter contempt for the Lord, the son born to you will die.”
For anyone who is remarried or married to someone who is divorced, it is crucial to seek God together in repentance. Through fasting and prayer, we can call out to God and seek His will for our marriages – which in His eyes, are no different from adulterous relationships. There may be consequences for our errors and we may be called to reconcile some relationships. Through obedience to God’s will, good can still come out of our broken and sinful past.
Matthew 5:31-32 ESV “It was also said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’ But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of sexual immorality, makes her commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.
Some common factors behind troubled marriages
A research study conducted by the The Hong Kong University between 2010 and 2012, called the Project on Children in Divorce Families, found that troubled marriages suffer from some common underlying factors:
- Communication blocks
- Weak foundations for healthy relationships
- Adjustment difficulties during new parenthood
- Conflict living with extended family members
- Financial and debt problems
The study also showed that both divorced adults and children suffered long-term negative emotions as a result of the breakdown of the family unit.
Thankfully, the Architect of marriage, God Himself, has an answer to every one of the factors listed above in the Bible, so that we do not have to suffer needlessly.
Many marriages run into trouble because of misaligned expectations. We can develop hardened expectations of what marriage is about from the “schooling” we receive from our families, media, and society, long before we met our future spouse – the biggest impact of all which comes from our family upbringings.
A few practical steps in preserving the joys of marriage
Every relationship needs nurturing and protection. Marriages are no different.
It is crucial for believers to remember that we have an enemy that seeks to kill, steal and destroy. Satan will certainly scheme and actively attack the thoughts and hearts of both spouses, to view our spouses as our opponents in marriage, rather than our “own flesh”. He does this by amplifying the issues and the faults of other people, and blinding us to our own sins and ungodly attitudes and thoughts.
John 10:10 ESV The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.
Ephesians 5:28-31 ESV In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”
The Bible reminds us that our battles in our marriages are not against flesh and blood, but Satan and other unseen spiritual powers. The primary way to not be outwitted is through daily forgiveness.
Ephesians 6: 10 NLT A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.
2 Corinthians 2:11 ESV Anyone whom you forgive, I also forgive. Indeed, what I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, has been for your sake in the presence of Christ, so that we would not be outwitted by Satan; for we are not ignorant of his designs.
Below are some further reminders from God’s Word that we can keep close to our hearts. A couple that stands together against Satan will defeat the enemy, while one spouse that fights alone will falter. Most crucially, a couple that stands with Jesus in the centre like a threefold cord is not easily broken apart.
Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 9 ESV Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.
- Daily thanks and prayer for God’s guidance and protection – Do I pray for my spouse every day? Do we pray together every day? | 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 ESV Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
- Personal accountability to God first – Do I genuinely desire to obey and glorify God in marriage first, or do I desire to make my spouse/marriage obey my expectations? | 1 Corinthians 10:31 ESV … whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
- Healthy communications and mutual exhortation – Do my spouse and I share our struggles and encourage one another regularly? | 1 Thessalonians 5:11 ESV Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.
- Mentors – Do we have an older couple who are our godly mentors on marriage? (This is particularly helpful when both spouses have grown up in broken families.) | Proverbs 11:14 ESV Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.
- Standing united against Satan – Do we forgive quickly and submit all our thoughts (fears and emotional triggers) to follow Jesus Christ, so that we don’t allow Satan to lure us to sin against one another and against God? | 2 Corinthians 10:5-6 ESV We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.
- Separation from our families of origin – Have we obeyed God and left our families of origin, both emotionally and physically? | Genesis 2:24 ESV Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.
- Beware ungodly generational patterns in marriage – Some families feature sinful patterns across their generations. As believers, we need to decide to renounce our generational patterns and attitudes to follow Jesus alone. | Luke 14:26 NLT “If you want to be my disciple, you must, by comparison, hate everyone else—your father and mother, … brothers and sisters—yes, even your own life. Otherwise, you cannot be my disciple.
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