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Question

I married out of disobedience. I did not pray about the marriage, now the marriage is in trouble. Can God rescue a marriage that he did not ordain, or can he break the marriage because he is not pleased with it?

Answer

Thank you for your question. I am so sorry to hear that, as you have put it, your marriage is in trouble. Marriage is a special relationship and when it breaks down the consequences can be devastating not only to both people involved but also their families and friends. We are praying for you.

Your first question, regarding the will of God, is straightforward to answer. We are free to make choices according to our nature. We cannot choose to fly like a bird because it is not in our physical nature to be capable of flight. We can choose whom to marry because it is in our nature to be able to accept or reject someone. However, we cannot then blame God for the consequences of a bad choice, just as we don't merely thank God but we are also grateful to each other when we are in a happy relationship.

Nevertheless, we can say that God ordains our choices in the sense that He has a plan and not only permits us to make our own decisions but incorporates them into that great plan. For the believer this means that all things work together for good for those who love God and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28). Even our bad choices!

Turning now to what God allows us to do about a marriage that isn't working well, it is impossible to provide more than some biblical principles. If your partner is a fellow-Christian, these words apply from 1 Corinthians 7

To the married I give this charge (not I, but the Lord): the wife should not separate from her husband (but if she does, she should remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband), and the husband should not divorce his wife.

If they are an unbeliever, these words apply from the same chapter:
To the rest I say (I, not the Lord) that if any brother has a wife who is an unbeliever, and she consents to live with him, he should not divorce her. If any woman has a husband who is an unbeliever, and he consents to live with her, she should not divorce him. For the unbelieving husband is made holy because of his wife, and the unbelieving wife is made holy because of her husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy. But if the unbelieving partner separates, let it be so. In such cases the brother or sister is not enslaved. God has called you to peace. For how do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife? (1 Corinthians 7:12-16)

The principle is that a Christian should never break faith with his or her marriage covenant because it is made for life before God. However, the same passage says that when an unbeliever leaves, the believer should accept it and is 'not enslaved' - which was a legal term for being divorced and free to remarry when the New Testament was written. The principal, then, is that if the other partner breaks the essential promises made in marriage, the marriage relationship has been broken before God.

The question for you is whether the marriage is in difficulty because of tensions and struggles, or your partner has broken faith with the marriage, for example by adultery or a pattern of violence to you or your children? Otherwise, I would say that, as this verse teaches, you should not leave the marriage but be reconciled as far as possible with your partner.

It is so hard to comment much more than this without knowing you or your spouse. I want to encourage you to do a few things:

  1. Speak to your spouse about how you feel and seek to reconcile
  2. Speak to a local church leader that you trust and ask them to pray for you
  3. Seek professional counsel for marriage help and support
  4. Pray to God for help to make the right decision.

In summary, without knowing you or or situation, it is difficult to comment on your situation. However, the Bible tells us that we are to work on our marriage and I encourage you to do everything you can to make your marriage a happy and strong one.

I hope this answer helps you to find peace with God through Jesus Christ. If you want to know more about what Jesus has done for you please watch the video on the main part of our site: Watch the video

I encourage you to attend a local Bible believing church and speak to the leader about your question. If you want to find a local church, our Church Finder may help you: Find a Church

Please feel free to submit a question to us or to read our answer database: Ask a Question

*All Scripture references are taken From The English Standard Version of the Holy Bible unless stated otherwise

*If anything in this answer affects you directly, then please feel free to call our confidential prayer line in the UK on 0845 4567729, where trained Christian volunteers will take your call and pray both for you and with you. If you are outside of the UK then you may submit your request for prayer on line at www.ucb.co.uk/prayerline


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