Don’t be a divorce pusher. What do we mean by that? Don’t encourage your friend, relative or anyone else to divorce. That is not your place. Divorce is a decision that is between them and God. By encouraging them to divorce, you are stepping into a part of their marriage where you have no biblical stand. Plus, your influence could impede their being open to reconciling. And what right do you have to “separate” them even further?
Also, by pushing them to divorce you could interfere with a miracle God wants to do in their lives. How do you know? Sure, you hate to see them unhappy and suffer from mental anguish. What kind of a friend would want that? And if abuse is involved you know they definitely need to seek safety. You could/should encourage that. (We have info in the Abuse in Marriage topic that can help them figure out a plan dealing with that.) But pushing divorce is NOT your place. That is an entirely different step that is not yours to push.
Yes, be an encourager by showing loving support to your friend or relative. That is biblical. And listen and pray with and for them. Again, that is biblical. Plus, it’s good to encourage him or her to pray, and seek God’s wisdom to help them find healthy ways to resolve conflict. They may even need to find a “marriage-friendly” counselor to help them. (We have articles in the Marriage Counseling and Mentoring topic that can give guidance.) Try to help them get to a better place in their marriage. But again, it is not your place to encourage them to divorce. Let God show them HIS way; and know that it’s usually not your way.
Resist the Temptation to be a Divorce Pusher
We hear from spouses continually that their pastor, and/or their Christian counselor, and/or their friend(s) have told them that they should divorce. They even encourage it. And that disturbs us tremendously. What gives these “counselors” the right to push this couple to end their marriage? They have not been appointed by God as the divorce decider. How do we know that? Jesus said, “What God has joined together let no man separate.” (See: Matthew 19.) God decides with this couple—not anyone else.
So, we need to be careful of the ways we influence others. And pushing divorce is one of those ways.
An example of this is found in the “Fireproof” movie clip titled, “He Said, She Said”:
Again, we’re not saying that this person should stay in abusive situations. And we’re not saying he/she should be a doormat to cruelty. As a good friend you may need to encourage your friend to find ways to stay safe. But it is not up to you to be a divorce pusher. Protect himself or herself, yes … lay down healthy boundaries, yes. Even encouraging him or her not to allow unfaithfulness to be lived out in the home, yes—but divorce? They need to talk to God about that—not you. Lead them in that direction instead.
The following is another scene from the movie, “Fireproof,” that gives insight into this issue. We are to confront a friend, even though it’s difficult, but we must make sure it fits within God’s guidelines:
A Sincere Friend is Not a Divorce Pusher
There’s a scripture that comes to mind with how this friend spoke to the other. “An open rebuke is better than hidden love! Wounds from a sincere friend are better than many kisses from an enemy.” (Proverbs 27:5-6) A “sincere friend,” sometimes has to say some tough words. And kindness should be involved. But it’s important to stay within God’s boundaries of what others can and should do, as it pertains to someone else’s marriage.
If you push for divorce, you are going against the scripture. (See: Matthew 19:6.) We’re told, “They are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.” So, YOU would be pushing to separate what God “joined together.” Yes, you can be supportive and encourage him or her to seek wisdom from God and act upon God’s guidance. You can be a soft shoulder to cry upon, and be someone who stands WITH him or her through the tough times and beyond. But there is MUCH TOO MUCH divorce pushing that is going on.
Only God can give the guidance on when a divorce is permissible. That is not our God-given task to take on as our “job”. Let them work this through with God. He may even lead them through some tougher times; and that will be difficult for you to watch. But don’t let your discomfort with this interfere with God’s total plan. Let Him guide them in this painful journey.
Again, we’re not saying that you abandon this person. But don’t push this person in a direction that you have no business pushing.
A few additional scriptures come to mind, as they apply to pushing divorce:
- One who is righteous is a guide to his neighbor, but the way of the wicked leads them astray. (Proverbs 12:26)
- A troublemaker plants seeds of strife; gossip separates the best of friends. (Proverbs 16:28)
- The godly give good advice to their friends; the wicked lead them astray. (Proverbs 12:26 NLT)
Please don’t “lead them astray” on something as important as divorce. There are some ways in which we can give counsel for them to consider. But when it comes to splitting up a marriage, YOU should not be one who could push them over the edge to encourage it. Let God do His work. Pray, and be supportive, but don’t be a divorce pusher. Trust God to show your friend what to do.
We hope and pray you will.
Cindy and Steve Wright
— ADDITIONALLY —
To help you further, we give a lot of personal stories, humor, and more practical tips in our book, 7 ESSENTIALS to Grow Your Marriage. We hope you will pick up a copy for yourself. (It’s available both electronically and in print form.) Plus, it can make a great gift for someone else. It gives you the opportunity to help them grow their marriage. And who doesn’t need that? Just click on the linked title or the picture below:
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