If you personally have been considering divorce, or have been standing beside a friend or family member, then you are no stranger to the heart ache. The devastation of a broken marital relationship is a too common reality in our society.
Anyone contemplating divorce is inevitably dealing with a myriad of emotion including betrayal, anger, resentment, bitterness, and lost dreams. Every marriage is different, every dynamic unique, and I could never try to understand your specific situation, but if you are considering divorce, I would ask you to consider something else first.
A closer look at the problem
Every marriage is the same in that no one enters into a marriage expecting a divorce. Every marriage does, however, have plenty of expectations. We have plenty of ideas, hopes, and aspirations of what our marriage ought to be. We certainly have expectations that we have placed upon our spouse.
Is it possible the problem isn’t your spouse’s inability to meet your needs, but rather your expectation that they are supposed to meet your needs?
By any internal or external measurement, one could easily conclude that I have a very good marriage. The problem was, until just a few years ago, I didn’t have a full understanding of what marriage was, and I didn’t fully understand what good was. Based upon our western, academic thinking, good usually means better than everyone else. My understanding of what it meant to be a good husband was based upon my own ability. It consisted of trying hard, honoring the marriage contract, and somehow making my wife happy. That list alone would be most people’s idea of a good marriage.
It was only when I began to read the book Genesis, not as a mythical, ancient story, but as part of my family history, and my current reality, that I began to see the Heavenly Father’s plan. When He created something, in His infinite wisdom and ability, He saw all that He had made and called it good. It was at that moment, that I realized that my good was not the same as His good. I also soon realized, that my idea of marriage was not His original idea for marriage. Somehow, through the dust and erosion of time we have lost the original Heart of the Father.
Marriage was put into place in the Garden of Eden to actually be a demonstration of heaven. Because of this, I realized to diminish the significance of my marriage, was to diminish heaven itself. Family was the Father’s original plan and marriage was, and still is, the crowning demonstration of His goodness.
If you are struggling in your marriage, it is probably not a misunderstanding of each other, but rather a misunderstanding of marriage.
Not their need to meet
Adam and eve were completely satisfied in the presence of their Father. The Father didn’t create marriage so that Adam and Eve could complete one another, He created marriage so that they would be one another. They were to accomplish together what could not be done apart. They were not “singing a duet,” not “2 pieces of a puzzle,” not the “better half”… but rather one song, one picture, one flesh. My wife does not complete me, she is me!
To truly obtain the Father’s original plan for marriage, we too, need to be completely satisfied in the presence of our loving Father, otherwise we will look to our spouse, to meet our needs. They can never meet a need that was never theirs to meet. This culture leaves couples exhausted and hopeless. When we are filled with the Father’s love, the love we show our spouse will be the fruit, not the fuel.
Here’s the good news: God is a God of restoration. Sin left us as orphans, but Jesus restored us as sons and daughters! Through His blood, we can once again be completely satisfied in the presence of our Father. This is the only way you can once again pursue the original plan for your marriage. It starts with identity. Your identity is not found in your accomplishments, your performance, or your relationships. Your identity is only found in the loving embrace of a Father.
You cannot fix your marriage… but the Holy Spirit can!
If you are considering divorce, please try this first: pursue your identity with all your heart! The world looks like a different place when you know you are a child of the Most High God. Once your identity is secured, do what I did, take another look at your marriage, it will also look different …you may even someday call it good!
Further Reading on Pursuing Your Identity:
Tell Me a Secret: transitioning from achiever to son
Dare to Declare
Unveiled: Part 1
Toddler Tantrums & Transformation: Amy’s Journey Through Her Imperfections
Dr. Jonathan Claussen is a Family Practitioner from Staples, Minnesota. He is married to his beloved wife Amy and is raising eight wonderful children. He is also the founder and president of the “Family Restoration Project.” It was created to bring restoration first of all, to our identity in the Father as sons and daughters, which then creates strong marriages, empowered parents and healthy families. Dynamic Christian families in turn, display the power and influence needed to bring restoration to the entire world!