As Conservative Christians, we often hear how the purpose of marriage is supposed to be the perfect vision and representation of Christ as married to The Church. (Which is true.)
And we hear the sermon preached about how the husband is “supposed” to be like Jesus – willing to lay down his life… And the wife is supposed to be a helpmeet submitting and sacrificing her life to his. That sermon has been preached millions of times by countless preachers.
That sermon used to make me sick to my stomach.
As I sat and listened, I thought to myself, that is NOT what my marriage looks like. Not at all. My marriage only represented deceitfulness, adultery, and psychological abuse (gaslighting and more).
Now, I am divorced. And, seriously, I’m not complaining about it!
The weight of marriage.
Christian women, who are now divorced, hearing that same “purpose for marriage” sermon often feel a couple of things.
One thought is that that was never my marriage, so maybe God never intended me to marry that person. That could be true… but I honestly don’t believe that. I truly believe that it was still a part of God’s plan for our lives… as hard as it was.
Personally, I can’t even envision my last twenty years in a different way. I have many gains from that time… even with the many losses and the destruction from divorce.
The other thought is, well my marriage was not what God intended for marriage and that means I need to carry that heavy burden of divorce failure on my own shoulders. Not being the perfect view as it was supposed to represent.
I don’t believe that either!! Although people try to put that weight of marriage on the divorced Christian woman… we as victims, don’t carry that shame!
We live in a fallible world… with other sinful people. Many of them do whatever they want without seeking God’s will. We can’t control them.
And God never promises us “happily ever after.“
He only promises us hope, peace, grace, and love in this imperfect world full of imperfect people. His perfect love in the midst of our biggest struggles is the only thing we can count on.
Marriages are just as susceptible to ruin as anything else in this fallible, sinful world.
The weight of marriage is not ours to hold up.
Stop putting it on the backs of the divorced women of this world!
Fear not; you will no longer live in shame. Don’t be afraid; there is no more disgrace for you. You will no longer remember the shame of your youth and the sorrows of widowhood. For your Creator will be your husband; the Lord of Heaven’s Armies is His name! He is your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel, the God of all the earth. For the Lord has called you back from your grief – as though you were a young wife abandoned by her husband,” says your God. “For a brief moment I abandoned you, but with great compassion I will take you back.” – Isaiah 54:4-5 NLT (Emphasis mine.)
God redeems a divorce.
I believe God allows divorce as an option for the innocent party. As stated, I believe there should be no judgment on the innocent party (simply defined as the non-adulterous/abuser, non-addicted, one who did not abandon) even if they chose to leave or sought out a divorce (oftentimes to protect yourself or your children).
I don’t write about “avoiding divorce” or “how to reconcile a dead marriage“… or even “staying while being abused.“
That’s because I’ve seen firsthand how God can redeem a divorce.
I believe for a lot of us… He took us back. From the abuse and from the grief.
I believe God has written some wonderful, beautiful stories of marriages saved. But He has also written even more stories of women saved… and lives restored and redeemed without marriage. And those lives were used for purpose after. After a divorce. After healing… through Christ.
There is a beauty that comes out of hurting, healing, and that complete reliance on God… for every single need.
I’ve seen many women go on to do great things with their lives, letting God write and redeem their story, which they never would’ve done if it weren’t for the divorce. I am one of them. I shine a light in the dark places of divorce and divorce recovery. God uses divorced women to save other divorced women. He uses the redeemed to share the loving redemption story of Christ.
Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ. – Galatians 6:2 NLT
I don’t plan to allow my divorce to be wasted. I have no plans to date or marry anytime soon… so I am embracing this season of divorce.
It’s because of the view that I hold…
God wastes nothing.
Accept the path before you and allow Him to use everything for good.
He doesn’t use perfect people… He uses those who love Him.
And we know [with great confidence] that God [who is deeply concerned about us] causes all things to work together [as a plan] for good for those who love God, to those who are called according to His plan and purpose. – Romans 8:28 AMP
Has God used your divorce in a positive way, in your life or the life of someone else? Has God redeemed you and your divorce?
God bless your healing journey,
Jen, thank you. I *so* appreciate your compassionate insight in this article. I was trapped in an abusive marriage for 27 years. What you have articulated her resonates very deeply with me. Thank you.
Jen Grice says
I’m so glad. 🙂 And I am so glad that you got out. May God use *your story* in a powerful way.
My husband walked out on me out of nowhere to be with another woman. It was extremely hurtful at first, but God’s divine peace and love quickly came to my rescue! My home has a new peace, no more oppressions of sin. I am closer to God than ever before, and I know He is in control!
Jen Grice says
God sure is, Reyna! And thank you for sharing your story and hope with others here. 🙂
This part really spoke to me.
I’ve seen many women go on to do great things with their lives, letting God write and redeem their story, that they never would’ve done if it weren’t for the divorce.
God has used divorced women to save other divorced women. He uses the redeemed to share the loving redemption story of Christ.
Jen Grice says
Thank you for your feedback and encouragement. 🙂
I whole heartedly agree with this article. I do not regret the 10 years I was with my ex husband. I believe it prepared me in every way for the man God has blessed me with right now. God has used this man to help heal me and get me through the divorce process. I know my first marriage has prepared me for him. Glory to God, I feel alive and free again!
Joy F. says
Amen! I always say I hated every minute of my divorce (just as God hated it), but I am so grateful for what he did in my life as a result. My relationship with him became everything, and I wouldn’t trade that for anything.
Jen Grice says
Totally with you there Joy! Thanks for joining the discussion.
I have never read your blog before but I appreciate this article.
While I do not believe that God’s perfect plan for us would include divorce any more than it would include adultery and/or murder (ex. King David), I do believe that He can and will use us in whatever state we are in and with whatever baggage we bring. We, followers of Jesus, should never be burdened by our past divorce regardless of the circumstance. Jesus has set us free (John 8:36). This includes from a failed marriage or divorce. He loves us and does not want us to dwell on our failures but on His success.
David committed much more atrocities than divorce yet he was called a “man after God’s own heart.”
I am a pastor or 20 years and yet God has used my failures to teach and lead just as much as He has used my successes.
May you be blessed by God in you ministry and through your blog.
Being divorced is not one of my failures. I did not choose it or cause it. It WAS DUE to someone’s sin, but it was not outside of God’s plan. You seem to miss the whole point of the blog post. It was undoubtedly God’s will for Jesus to be crucified on the cross. Without His death there could be no salvation. But His death could only have happened because of the great sin of those who put Him to death. Can you say it was not God’s will for Jesus to die? Clearly, it was. God allows sin, allows death, allows divorce and uses those very things as part of His plan. If a true believer ends up being divorced, it is wrong to assume that it is one of his or her “failures.” If one is a true follower of Jesus, then one can know that divorce was part of God’s plan for that person and He will use it for good.
Andrew A. says
I’m not sure that we can attribute all that happens in life to “Gods plan”. While I believe because of the adultery that happened in your marriage Jesus himself allowed the option of divorce, I don’t believe divorce in general is a God’s plan thing. We can agree that it falls under God’s sovereignty, but to say he planned it would be assumptive like saying God plans for children to die of hunger. He doesn’t want those things to happen but he allowed free will, and brokenness and death entered the world.
With choice came sin. God can use pain and tragedy in our lives but to say those are his plan would be presumptive on our part and out of His character. I believe God’s whole desire is relationship with us and whatever comes he wants that to cause deeper connection with Him – triumph and tragedy alike.
My wife came to me in Dec of 2016 thinking about and wanting to divorce me. Within 2.5 months she was dating and sleeping with someone else and telling me we were done. We are both Christians and our marriage definitely had issues on both sides. Did God’s plan for her include adultery and divorce? Not likely. Did his plan for me include divorce? That would be odd as I was honoring my vows. In fact, I felt he asked me to continue fighting for the marriage for a time.
Your encouragement to focus on Christ is spot on. I’m not sure what to make of my life currently and I realize God doesn’t guarantee anything. I’m not his puppet, but yet I don’t know what moves to make – maybe it would be simpler if I was. Following Christ is hard. I wish blessings to all who read this article and are dealing with trauma and tragedy.
Thank you, Jen, for your wonderful writings! I just found your videos on You Tube and your website a few days ago. In fact, I thank the Lord for leading me to them. Everything you write or say is speaking to me of hope and healing after divorce, and this is exactly what I need! I was in a long, difficult and abusive marriage. Even so, I never imagined I would be divorced; but God saved me out of that situation. He is full of surprises–I am just starting to believe this was all part of His plan for my life. Please keep writing and doing videos, as everything you write and say is helping me and many others. God bless you!
Jen Grice says
Thank you, Tina, for your kind words and for encouraging others, as well. I’m glad you found my videos and you’re able to journey through your healing with us. God bless you too!
I appreciate your story. Here is mine. Any insight I would appreciate.
My husband and I have been married for almost 19 years. About 8 years ago he had an affair. He was repentant right away. We made it work, although i don’t think I processed all that that entailed and may have stuffed my emotions down for the sake of moving forward. For the sake of my children. Fast forward 5 years and he and two friends opened up a brewery in our small town. Through this endeavor he was not around much and I was left to care for our 4 children. Our entire marriage everything has been about him. For example, he planned a 40th birthday trip for me to CA centered around wine tours. I don’t even like wine. CA would have been lovely, but to make the focus about wine, which he loves, was more about him then me. I am not a very needy person. I probably enabled his neglect to some degree. Dealing with feeling neglected and not realizing how much until I got a job when all of our children were in school and had an affair with my boss turned best friend. We filled the holes for each other that were in our respective marriages. This went on emotionally for 2 years and physically for 1. My husband wanted to make things work after finding out. Through the recovery process he was focused on his healing and neglected the healing that needed to take place as well in our marriage. I felt as if the healing for him and for our marriage should have been happening in parallel with one another. Our marriage was broken and needed fixed too. He felt the whole time that the affair was all my fault. That he had no role in any of it and that his affair no longer mattered as if it never happened. 6 months of hearing these sentiments my heart gave up. To my shame, another man came along when I was most vulnerable again, and pursued me and I let him. 2 months passed and I was so guilty and so was he, that I confessed to my husband, fully prepared for him to leave. He didn’t. He threatened me with his words. Told me that he was going to take our kids from me. He was going to tell them everything that I have done. (They don’t know about his affair.) He told me I was just like my father. (My father committed suicide when I was 15 because he was hiding the fact that he was a pedophile.) The only reason I did not leave that night is for fear of my kids. Fear kept me there. I went to bed feeling like I had handcuffs on. The pattern has been that my husband tears me down with words, gets me at my worst rock-bottom moments, and then feels completely sorry for lashing out, apologizes and thinks that everything is ok. The issue now is, he is completely repentant, recognizes his neglect, harsh words. But in my heart, the damage has been done. I don’t love him like he needs me to. I am in my marriage for my kids and he knows this. I want to leave but am afraid that I will ruin their lives. I also am not convinced that biblically I have grounds to leave since he has repented. I am having a hard time trusting his change of heart. I am weary and want to be done. I want to move forward without him and not be stuck and stagnant any longer. I know God is for marriage. I know God can heal. I know he can heal my heart. I am just in a place of not wanting it anymore.