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Divorce Satan's work
  By John K. John  
  Question: Ours was an arranged marriage. I agreed to marry my wife because my mom was terminally ill and she wanted me to get married before she died. I had the option of choosing any one from a number of girls my father had short-listed.

Soon after the wedding, I realized that we were incompatible and should never have got married in the first place. We tried hard to make the marriage work but divorce seems to be the only option. The only problem we face is the custody of our two-year-old son.

We both come from Christian families and believe that divorce is not an option for Christians. However, though we live under the same roof, the marriage has lost all its charm and meaning. Since we have no relationship between us as a normal married couple, is it not better to live our individual lives separately, rather than have a life of pretensions and never ending conflicts between us for the rest of our lives?

Answer: First of all, let me say that I realize you do have an extremely difficult problem at hand. It must be a heart-rending decision for anyone to make particularly when the future of a two-year-old son is at stake apart from the pain of ending your marriage.

Recently I read an article in a respectable Christian magazine written by a famous Christian leader arguing forcefully for allowing divorce within the Church in certain circumstances similar to yours. I was shocked to read this article because his arguments went against the letter and spirit of the teachings on marriage in the Bible.

Marriage is a covenant made between a man and a woman in the presence of the Church that includes the parents and family members of the couple. The third party who enters into the covenant is God, the One who established the institution of marriage. As a Christian when you made a choice to enter into this covenant, you committed yourself to a relationship of love and loyalty for life to this one person God created in his image.

This covenant is irrevocable as long as you both are alive except in the event of one spouse nullifying it by entering into an adulterous relationship with another person. I believe that you had entertained the thought of the option of divorce which Satan, the enemy of marriage, whispered into your ears as soon as the first difference of opinion or experience of displeasure occurred in your relationship.

What you should have done at that time was to rebuke Satan and ask the Lord to help you work on building up your marriage. The trouble with many marriages is that either spouse or even both of them come to the altar with divorce as an option. It might not have occurred to these young men or women that they carry with them this dangerous and destructive seed of a thought.

Once divorce is seen as an option, however distant it might appear at that time, unless we are aware of the battle within the heart, Satan will see to it that this option grows to bear the poisonous fruit, which will eventually devastate lives.

A good marriage does not just happen; you have to work hard to build it bit by bit on a daily basis. You would work hard on your marriage only if you love God and love your spouse. The word love is used here as a verb and not as noun because love that works in marriage is an act of will and not just an emotion you feel.

Emotions, including the one generally known as 'love', is fickle and unreliable. Most people love themselves a lot more than their spouses and their love for the Lord God is even lesser. We are called to " the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and all your mind... and love your neighbor as yourself"(Mathew 22:37-39). Please note that your closest and most important of all neighbors is your wife and the word love here is again a verb!

Most couples in conflict nowadays consider divorce as an option and an increasing number end up terminating their marriages with devastating consequences for themselves, their children, their parents and other people close to them. Divorces in almost all cases not only fail to solve any existing problem but also create and compound more and more pain and complications as the years go by.

I would advice you to go around and ask people who have gone along the path of divorce to find out for yourselves what are these consequences. The Word of God instructs husbands to love their wives as Christ loved the Church and warns against divorce in no uncertain terms, which are adequate reasons for any one to rule out this option once and for all. God says, "Has not the Lord made them one? In flesh and Spirit they are his. And why one? Because he was seeking godly offspring. So guard yourself in your spirit, and do not break faith with the wife of your youth. I hate divorce" (Malachi 2.15-16).

Please ask yourself the following questions before you make a decision:

1. What is the purpose of marriage given in the Bible? It would appear you married just for the sake of your mother. Is this a valid reason for getting married?

2. In any case when you said yes to your wife, are you not duty bound as the head of the family to love her and to save the marriage and protect her and your son in every way?

3. Does your wife also really want divorce? (You have not made this very clear)

4. How can you as an adult say with honesty that 'we realized soon after the wedding that we are not compatible' and then say 'we did everything possible to make the marriage work'? How can you do everything possible when you are convinced that you are not compatible?

5. How would you respond if I say early on into marriage you had decided for divorce as Satan had already made inroads into your will and persuaded you to breakup?

6. Are you not deceiving yourselves with your own unbiblical arguments in support of divorce?

7. What would be the impact of divorce on your child? How would it affect your relationship with your parents especially your mother (if she were alive) for whose happiness you married your wife in the first place?

8. Do you already have some one in mind whom you are contemplating as your future wife? If you do, is this the real reason behind your desire to break up with your wife?
Dr John K. John has been a theologian, administrator and counselor for over three decades. He served in various capacities in Emmanuel Hospital Association and is presently the Executive Director of the Biblical Counseling Trust of India, New Delhi. He took his Bachelor of Divinity from Serampore University in 1991 and has a doctorate in Christian counseling from Westminster Theological Seminary in the United States. He would be answering questions from our readers on their personal and family problems. Dr John can be contacted at
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