5 Reasons You Don't Really Want a Divorce

a husband and a wife with a marriage counselor
iStock/Thinkstock

Chances are good someone close to you has gotten divorced and you were caught in the fallout. Perhaps your parents, grandparents, brother or sister got divorced. One of your kids may be divorced. A close friend divorced. Maybe even you are divorced.

As a clinical psychologist who has worked with married couples for more than 30 years, I've seen divorce up close and personal. It's always ugly. Divorce is an awful, painful, destructive, traumatic, life-changing experience.

God hates it (Malachi 2:16, NKJV) — it breaks a sacred relationship, a covenant. God created marriage (Genesis 2:24). Marriage is the very picture of Jesus Christ's relationship to the church (Ephesians 5:25). Jesus plainly states that marriage is to be permanent (Matthew 19:3-9).

If you're reading this article because you're considering divorce, carefully reconsider that choice. Pray long and hard. There will be serious consequences, even if you choose divorce for a rock-solid biblical reason. And even in those circumstances, God expects you to do your absolute best to save your marriage. (Living with an abusive spouse, however, is not an option. Always seek safety for you and your children.) Couples can succeed at reconciliation — it's worth the fight. You may not be successful or your spouse may not cooperate, but God will honor you for giving it your best effort.

Here are my top five reasons you don't really want a divorce.

The pain

Divorce is the death of a dream and the death of a family. It is a series of huge, devastating losses. The time to recover will not be measured in months or even years. It will take decades.

In a very real and practical sense, the pain of divorce lasts a lifetime. Why? Because the losses don't ever stop. Loss of financial security. Loss of time with your kids and grandkids. Loss of ministry and career opportunities. Loss of peace.

The guilt

How many times will you second-guess your decision and wonder if ending the marriage was the right choice? Thousands and thousands of times. Figure at least once or twice a day for the rest of your life, and you'll be close. Guilt and regret are unwelcome companions that won't leave you alone, especially if you divorced for an unbiblical reason or didn't work as hard as you could to save your marriage. (Victims of abuse have a responsibility to seek safety — that’s not what I’m talking about here.) You'll wonder, What if I'd done this? What if I'd not done that? What if I'd just given the marriage one more chance? What if, what if, what if … ?

The harm to those close to you

The body count after a divorce is incredibly high. You hurt yourself, your spouse, your parents, your spouse's parents, your siblings, your spouse's siblings, grandkids, grandparents and family members on both sides, close friends, co-workers, church friends, neighbors and the entire local church body.

You hurt the institution of marriage. Worst of all, you hurt God. He is grieved when a marriage dies.

The damage to your kids

One of the biggest lies about divorce is "It's better for the kids, because our bad marriage is hurting them." Here is the brutal truth: Kids of all ages are deeply, permanently wounded by divorce.

Divorce hurts your kids' self-esteem. Their confidence. Their security. Their views of the opposite sex and marriage. Their faith and trust in you. Their faith and trust in God.

I don't recommend you stay in a bad marriage. Especially for the sake of your children, I strongly recommend that you work on your marriage and fix it.

The lost opportunity to build a great marriage

The last reason is that a divorce hurts your character. A strong marriage isn't built in the good times. A great marriage is built in the bad times. A couple can develop real, lasting intimacy and an unshakeable bond by working through their marriage problems together. By divorcing, that character-building opportunity is lost.

Even if your spouse has sinned terribly and deeply hurt you, you can heal and build a brand-new marriage. The process of saving a marriage in crisis is extremely painful and difficult. But it's worth the effort!

I've seen people who married a second time encounter significant marital issues — again. Learn to work things out right the first time!

Take action now

These are just five reasons you don't really want a divorce. I could give you a hundred. Don't quit until you have done everything possible to save your marriage. Have faith that God will give you and your spouse the power to build a new marriage.

See a Christian marriage counselor. Talk to your pastor. Invest in a marriage intensive counseling experience. Pray your heart out and get your family and friends to pray.

Pull out all the stops to save your marriage. You will have the peace that comes from knowing you did all you could to stay married.

David E. Clarke, Ph.D., is a Christian psychologist, speaker, and author of I Don't Want a Divorce.

 

Put the Pieces of Your Marriage Back Together

You  may  feel  that  there is  no  hope  for  your  marriage  and  the  hurt  is  too  deep  to  restore  the  relationship  and  love  that you  once  had.  The  truth  is,  your  life  and  marriage  can  be  better  and  stronger  than  it  was  before.  In  fact,  thousands  of  marriages,  situations  as  complex  and  painful  as  yours,  have  been  transformed  with  the  help  of  professionals  who  understand  where  you  are  right  now  and  care  deeply  about  you  and  your  spouse’s  future.  You  can  restore  and  rebuild  your  marriage  through  a  personalized,  faith-based, intimate  program  called,  Hope  Restored.

Get Started>>

© 2018 David E. Clarke. Originally published on FocusOnTheFamily.com.

You Might Also Like:

  • Saving Your Marriage From Divorce (Part 1 of 2)

    Dr. David Clarke offers hope for troubled marriages as he outlines a practical plan for breaking destructive habits and rebuilding the relationship, even if only one spouse is committed to doing so. This discussion is based on his book I Don't Want a Divorce: A 90-Day Guide to Saving Your Marriage. (Part 1 of 2)

  • Does Your Faith Reduce Your Risk of Divorce?

    Glenn Stanton

    Authoritative research conducted at leading universities presents the case that religious service attendance makes a strong positive contribution to marriages, including a resistance to divorce.

  • Focus on Marriage Assessment

    The Focus on the Family Marriage Assessment is designed to evaluate the strength of 12 essential traits of your marriage. Do you know your marriage’s strengths and weaknesses?