“Divorce takes place first in our spirit; then in our marriage.”
This is a Marriage Minute truth from the couple’s devotional, Marriage Minutes— Inspirational Readings to Share with Your Spouse, written by Robert and Cheryl Moeller. It’s a devotional book we encourage couples to read when they don’t feel they have much time to invest every day in their marriage. We ask, “Do you have a few minutes?”
We’re going to share two devotionals from the Moeller’s book (along with comments of our own after each) so you can read for yourself the marriage insights you can obtain from this resource if you’re willing to invest the time together (which we hope you will do):
Divorce Takes Place First in Our Spirit; Then in Our Marriage
“So guard yourself in your spirit; and do not break faith.“ (Malachi 2:16)
“When we lived in the desert Southwest, several members of our congregation were housed on a military base. Whenever one was hospitalized or in need of a pastoral visit, we first had to gain access to the base.
A sharply dressed young man or woman wearing Air Force blues with a dark beret would order us to halt. The person would approach our car, ask for identification, ask the purpose of our visit, then call the people we intended to visit to verify our identification. Only then did the sentry wave us through.
We could learn a lesson from the military when it comes to posting a guard at the gate of our marriage. We are warned to ‘guard yourself in spirit, and do not break faith.’ Why do we need to be vigilant as to what enters our spirit? Because we dare not allow bitterness, apathy, lust, unforgiveness, anger, or unfaithfulness to enter our hearts. They are the unseen, often undetected terrorists that will infiltrate and sabotage the sacredness of our marriage vows.
Divorce happens in the spirit before it happens in the relationship. It begins when sin infiltrates our hearts. So post a guard at the door of your heart and don’t be afraid to use the word, ‘Halt!’ It may save your home.”
This goes with the suggestion we often make to couples, which we’ve implemented in our own marriage. We never let the word divorce enter our vocabulary in reference to our marriage. If the thought ever comes into our minds we throw it out like we throw out the trash. With that option being eliminated, we’re both secure in our commitment to each other. We instead put our energies into working to resolve our conflicts rather than looking for an escape hatch out of them.
The last thing we ever want to do is break trust with each other concerning the vows we made on our wedding day to each other and to God. And we certainly don’t want to entertain the enemy of our faith with the destruction the “D” word can bring into a relationship.
WE MUST DO THE THINGS WE ONCE DID
“Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first.“ (Revelation 2:4-5)
How many couples would experience significant conflict in their marriage if they showed each other the same kindness and appreciation they did during the first 6 months of courtship? Once we opened doors; now we slam them in anger. Then we whispered words of adoration; now we mutter under our breath. Once we noticed only their strengths and overlooked their weaknesses. Now we do just the opposite.
Jesus sadly told the church at Ephesus that it had forsaken its first love and had fallen from a great height. He told it that it needed to repent, to literally undergo a dramatic change of mind and direction. He urged its members to regain their first love for Him by acting out the love they once enjoyed.
There is a profound lesson here for all married couples. If we want to be in love again we must act in love. We must make the choice to speak and behave in loving and caring ways toward each other. We must do the things we once did when we beheld each other strictly through the eyes of affection and tenderness.
We can recapture our first love, and once we do we will realize that our love is fresh and new again. But we must first recapture our first attitudes and actions.”
We’ve told couples that tell us they have fallen out of love with each other, “If you fell in love at one time you can certainly do so again—especially with the help of God whose very name means LOVE.” If HE can’t show you how to love again, it can’t be done. But we know with God all things are possible to those who believe.
If God can raise the dead physically, He is certainly able to breathe love into those who are dead emotionally. But we need to participate and be willing to listen and follow what He outlines for us to do throughout His Word —the Bible, and follow the promptings of His Holy Spirit.
It first begins with a decision of the will, and then actions, and then the feelings of the heart have the opportunity to eventually proceed. As we’re told in the Bible in Ephesians chapter 5, “Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”
As the Moeller’s wrote, “We must do the things we once did when we beheld each other strictly through the eyes of affection and tenderness.” That’s so true.
We realize however, that for some of you, the advice above that is problematic. You can’t MAKE your spouse treat you with the affection and tenderness you once knew from him or her. But you can ask God what you are to do on YOUR part that He would want you to do, and trust that God will do a miracle, as He’s so well known for doing. Trust Him that He will either work a miracle within your spouse, within you, within your circumstances, or within both of you in “HIS” time, as you do as He leads.
We hope these “Marriage Minutes” have been helpful to your marriage.
Cindy and Steve Wright
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