Stop Lamenting Divorce Rates!

For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another! – Galatians 5:14-15, NKJV


Lamenting divorce rates among Christians

Likely, it is meant well.

Good intentions are there, I am sure.

Pastors are disconcerted to see families broken apart. They grieve over the divorces in their midst. And they want to see such painful trends end.

They lament from the pulpit or pen about how sad the increase of divorce is. Some might even name clergy as part of this “sad” trend as well. I know because I have read it. And I know as I was part of the problem before my own painful experiences taught me otherwise.

This is an imprecise lament.

The imprecision creates an environment of shame for the divorced in the church.

While possibly unintentionally, the pastor who laments about divorce rates increasing is lumping all divorcees into the same category. They are treating victims and perpetrators alike. They are all as part of the problem. Divorce. This is actually cruel.

Scripture teaches us that sin is the problem.

Divorce is not always sin.

Adultery is.

A wise minister recognizes these Biblical truths and applies it pastorally. He does not lament about the rise of divorce–per se. The pastor laments about the rise of sin that is destroying marriages and harming innocents.

He teaches about our “throw-away” society and how such views are incompatible with God’s teachings on marriage.

He teaches about the evil of adultery warning all of its dire spiritual consequences.

He teaches about–the usually–unnamed victims of divorce following infidelity or abandonment:

  • The spouse who uncovered the secret life of his partner who was committing adultery for months, if not years, of their marriage.
  • The wife who came home to an empty house and a cruel note laying out the pending divorce.
  • The children abandoned by a selfish, adulterous parent just wanting “to feel alive” again. 
  • The parents whose lives are shattered by a child’s rebellious adultery and divorce that brings into question if they will ever see their grandchildren again.

When a pastor laments about divorce, he implies all these people are to blame. They all bear the mark of divorce–in one way or another. And divorce is a shame, ain’t it?! Thereby, the pastor treats the victims like the perpetrators.

That is not just.

Divorce is traumatic. And it is sad. Like a war, much suffering is always involved. But also like war, sometimes it is necessary. And sometimes–like a war–one is engaged in divorce whether or not one likes it.

Ultimately, divorce is not the problem.

Sin is.





10 thoughts on “Stop Lamenting Divorce Rates!”

  1. Hi Rev. David. At my one and only counseling session with my ex-wife, after I discovered her affair, she openly declared that she fully intended to go away for the weekend with her affair partner and that she wasn’t done with her cheating. She showed no remorse, contrition and she was down right brazen. I’m not even sure why she showed up. Yet, our counselor told us to separate for two weeks with no contact, and actually encourage her to go on her getaway so that she can see God work. He said God would ruin their weekend and to his credit their weekend did get ruined, but not before she had sex with him two more times. I feel like instead of helping salvage our marriage, he actually enabled her sin. Something in my heart knew what I was hearing was not sound biblical advice. I felt that the Spirit was telling me to divorce but I was confused and told to wait.

    During those two weeks, I broke no contact twice to ask her if there was anything in her that wanted to save the marriage. The answer I kept getting was “I don’t know.” I’d ask if she’d been going to him (the AP) and she would say yes. I was told by the church that I was making things worse by not following instructions.

    At the end of the two weeks I filed for divorce. She had made no attempts to save our marriage. Actually, quite the opposite. I was told that I didn’t know what God could be doing in her heart. But I had heard enough as I do not believe that He would take away someone’s free will. She showed no signs of submitting to HIs will. In fact, she declared that she never truly believed. I had been deceived for two years thinking I was marrying another Christian.

    I would love to hear the advice you would have given in that situation when the adulterous spouse is openly defiant and remorseless. I feel like that waiting period only served to prolong my suffering. Even thought it was short, it felt like an eternity. I just wanted to start the healing process.

    (Sorry for repeating some of the things I said in my other post)

    Also, as a commentary, “feeling alive” to a cheater, IMHO, equates to being free to sin. My ex actually said she felt “freer” during her affair.

  2. I feel the reason divorce is surprisingly common in Christian circles is because most of the time cheaters were actually never Christians. Cheaters tend to be narcissists and narcissists tend to copy or mirror the personality of the person closest to them. So if they marry a Christian, they convince us they are Christians too by reflecting back our own behavior. My husband said he was a Christian for over 20 years. He was eventually a deacon, then elder at our church, was a very active member and taught Sunday school. Then he had an emotional affair (at least) with his Sunday school teaching partner and abandoned his family. I now believe he was never a Christian. He was a pretender to fit in or look normal or whatever and I was naive enough to buy it. People with Christ in their heart do not cheat, lie, and watch their spouse and children suffer greatly without remorse. It just doesn’t work that way.

    1. Sounds familiar. My ex-wife also serve in the children’s ministry for about a year.

    2. Your comments were very helpful to me. Thank you. Your last sentences are very powerful. I believe my XH was the same. A narcissist. Not a true believer.

      1. Yes narcissism and Christianity do not mix. I’m glad I could help. Thanks for saying that. Hugs to you.

        1. (Nicole S =BrokenHearted Believer. Sometimes my iPad overrides my username with my first name. I can’t figure it out. Lol.

  3. Great post, DM. I especially appreciate the comment about an imprecise lament. Your ongoing commentaries/insight on Scripture, especially the reminders that while Scripture says God hates divorce, Scripture also points out the He divorced Israel for her disobedience – are very helpful in an incredible minefield of emotions. Once a faithful spouse realizes an adulterer is only cheating themselves of peace and unity with God, which for me is not desirable to be around – I think the faithful spouse can take comfort that healing is setting in.

  4. Broken Hearted Believer, your comments could’ve been mine exactly! Especially the part about narcissist’s mirroring the behavior of the person closest to them. It’s like they are empty shells with no soul of their own. Soul-draining vampires, if you will. My husband, too, said he was a Christian for over 20 years. But when it didn’t provide narcissistic supply anymore (marriage and being a Christian) he was very quick to jump ship and have an affair, and disavow being a Christian. Like it was some suit you could decide you didn’t want to wear anymore. Pathetic.

    1. Exactly pianomommy. I couldn’t figure out how the man I thought I knew had changed so much in such a short time. My 15 year old son told me a couple months ago, “Mom, without your influence, Dad is a complete disaster and has fallen apart.” Then I read at (excellent resource) that narcs don’t know who they are so they just mimic the person closest to them and one day could be a Buddhist and the next be a Christian if it served their ego or purpose and it just clicked for me that my STBX was this mimicking fool who didn’t have a sincere bone in his body. I did see some read flags that I shouldn’t have ignored or excused like not studying or reading his bible ever and not wanting to pray with me as a couple. I am so ready to move on and live an authentic Christian life.

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