A Faith Crisis vs. a Marriage Crisis
FAQ: Is it too late to save our marriage? There is no love left between us, and we are tired of working at a loveless marriage.
I understand your discouragement. Nearly every marriage goes through times when the love seems to be gone and one or both spouses want to give up. You are not alone!
Is it too late?
It is not too late to repair a marriage – even after divorce – until one of the partners has remarried. My own parents divorced, remarried one another, separated again, and then came back together. They survived infidelity and abuse.
The key? They eventually turned their lives – and their marriage – over to Christ.
I am not advocating infidelity or abuse! I only use my parents to illustrate that it’s possible for a “hopeless” marriage to turn around when Christ is allowed to be the center. My parents experienced the miracle of renewed hope and healing!
A Faith Crises, Not a Marriage Crises
There’s no doubt that marriage is in crises and under attack in our country. But I believe there is a greater crises looming which is at the root of our marital problems, and that’s a crisis of faith. Matthew 19:6 says, “So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together let no man separate.”
Have you turned to God to help you keep together what He has brought together?
Jesus’ words are a powerful reminder that God has joined you together, not some human legal requirement. Do you believe that? If you don’t, you have a crisis of faith. I used to think it took a third party to break up a marriage; now I realize the greatest danger lies within. Having challenges in your marriage does not mean you or God made a mistake; it simply means you must learn to do marriage God’s way: obey His command to love and respect with renewed faith and commitment. God hates divorce because He knows all the pain it causes and he wants to spare you – and your children – this pain.
So the first thing I recommend is that you seek God and ask Him to help you with your marriage. If you are not meeting with a Bible-believing group of people each week to worship and hear the Word of God preached, that is a good place to start. Seek out other godly believers who are willing to pray for you and your marriage. Commit your life and your marriage fully to Christ and stand on His promises to help you.
What about when the love is gone?
Most of us would define love as a feeling. But love is much more than that. There are 3 Greek words for love. There’s agape, which is unconditional God-like love. There is phileo, friendship love, like in Titus 2 where a wife is to phileo her husband (not fillet him). And then there is eros, the erotic and romantic love, which our culture equates to marital love. But all three are components of marital love.
Feelings must be put aside during seasons where love is not “felt.” Agape love is a commitment to someone so deep that you are willing to die for them. It is a choice to stay faithful to a vow. The Bible doesn’t say, “God so loved the world that He felt goose bumps.”
We live in a feelings-dominated culture, where lots of emphasis is put on infatuation, or romantic love. But this kind of love is not sustainable over the long haul of a marriage. This is erotic love which will come and go…ebb and flow. Yes, it’s exciting and we all love to feel this love…but it is not a good foundation for a lasting and fulfilling marital relationship. When troubles come, and the Bible says if we marry we will have trouble (1 Co 7:28), we will need more than feelings to sustain us.
“Bad marriages go good…”
I am not telling you to stay in a loveless marriage to make you miserable. This may sound crazy, but “just as good marriages go bad, bad marriages go good” as author Maggie Gallagher says. She adds, “Five years later, 77 percent of very unhappy couples that stayed married now called their marriage either ‘very happy’ or ‘quite happy.’ A bad marriage is not a hard fact. It’s a judgment by one person at one moment in time about a future that can change.”
Isn’t that encouraging? Let me repeat that! 77 percent of very unhappy couples describe their marriage as “very” or “quite” happy just five years later.
Just five years later!
Five years may seem like an eternity to you when you’re miserable, but take it from someone who has been married 40 years: it isn’t.
The reality is all marriages go through seasons – some good, some bad. Don’t buy into the Hollywood message that you need to move on if you are unhappy. Another relationship will not solve your problems! The percentages are in your favor, that if you stick it out during the tough times, you will once again enjoy the good times.
God does not intend for you to be miserable.
God is a God of hope, who came that you might have abundant life! He doesn’t intend for you to be miserable. Are you ready to give Him full control of your life and your marriage? When you do, He will give you strength for the task before you.