I love(d) my husband, Bill, who died recently. And I know that Bill loved me. There were, however, ways in which we hurt one another over the 48 years of our marriage. And although we came from families that made it clear that divorce was not an option, that doesn’t mean the word didn’t come up from time to time. Even very early.
I recall a day when Bill said to me in a careless moment, “ if you ever get fat like ……(____)….I’ll divorce you.” I already had some wounds from previous body-shaming in childhood and self-image insecurity. That comment made a deep mark in my soul in the shape of an emotional hook with the label “fear.” Every comment thereafter about my body or my eating was hung on that emotional hook. The weight on the hook eventually became a resentment that I carried. At a point in our marriage it exploded. It took several years to understand and unravel the damage. Bill didn’t even remember making that remark. But he did see how his vigilance over my weight, especially in early years of our marriage had negatively affected me and he apologized and regretted having compounded my hurt.
What a shame if we had been unable to work through that and other shame-based and other emotional issues from childhood in our marriage over the years. We had to try counseling several times before we got it right but we did grow together and in Christ into a place of being at peace with God, with ourselves and one another so that our marriage in the second half was increasingly the mature kind of love that overcomes the careless use of that word and allowed us to grow in difficult times and not just survive them. This article is on target:
Don’t Even Say It
By Jennifer Waddle
Great Article regarding Divorce
“The man who hates and divorces his wife,” says the Lord, the God of Israel, “does violence to the one he should protect,” says the Lord Almighty. So be on your guard, and do not be unfaithful.”
~ Malachi 2:16~Amen . ~
The way we speak to our spouses matters. It’s not only what we say, but how we say it. Many deep wounds are caused by angry words, spoken in the heat of an argument, or careless words spoken in jest. And there is one word, in particular, that continues to sting, long after it is mentioned. Not only does it hurt, it leaves a wounding impression on both the mind and the heart. The word is divorce.
Unfortunately, divorce has become a byword, thrown around in everyday conversations and talked about almost constantly in our society. But it is a word that is far more divisive and destructive than couples realize.
You see, once divorce is mentioned, it opens an unwanted door that may be hard to close. It’s as if saying it aloud gives couples permission to start entertaining the thought. And eventually, the thought may become an irreversible action.
There is a difference between discussing serious issues—ones that could lead to separation—and instantly concluding that divorce is the answer. In Malachi 2:16, the Lord has some outspoken words about divorce. He likens it to violence and hate.
While there are Biblical reasons for divorce, our humanistic reasons are often shallow excuses to escape a relationship in which we no longer want to be committed.
My encouragement to married couples, who have mentioned divorce openly, is to make a pact to stop using the word immediately. Seek wise counsel, by finding an older married couple who can mentor you, pray with you, and hopefully lead you towards healing and restoration. Instead of carelessly tossing around the idea of divorce, discuss your real-life issues in light of God’s Word, and in deep respect of God’s view marriage. Commit to finding solutions for your problems instead of seeking ways to avoid them. Resolve to let your words be a healing balm instead of a slow-dripping poison.
Our words matter. What we say can either wound or mend. Determine to build up your spouse with life-giving affirmations and leave the word divorce out of your discussions altogether.
Gracious God, today I thank You for my spouse. I ask for forgiveness for the words and thoughts that have not been affirming. I pray for healing words to come out of my mouth—words that build up and do not tear down. Please protect my marriage from the pull of the world. Help us to look to You for guidance and keep our commitment to each other without wavering. I ask that You will walk us through every trial with wisdom and grace.
In Jesus’ name, I pray, ~Amen