When I tell you that me and some of my *truly covenant convicted* friends (of which are married) are on the battlefield, fighting for some marriages in trouble right now (WHEW)! Words cannot describe!
If you haven't read an article that I've referenced before, please make the time to now:
No matter what pop culture is doing (Luke 6:26-Message) or how so much of the global Church is (UNFORTUNATELY) becoming so much like it, *divorce is not God's will*. Therefore, if you're dating someone and contemplating marriage right now and there are deal breakers (ANY KIND OF DEAL BREAKERS) in your mind, really pray about if they are truly the one for you. And if you're not dating someone but in your mind you've been saying "If he does so-and-so or such-and-such, I'm out"...really do more *biblical research* on God's true stance on marriage, on marital covenant. And remember that for the God of love (I John 4:8&16) to *hate anything* is something that we should certainly *not* want to be a part of.
And for those who are like "But the Word says that we can get a divorce for adultery, right?" (and by the way, that is the *only reason* mention), the author of the article leaves no stone unturned. Again, check out the article but the long-short of it is *Moses permitted divorce* due to the hard-heartedness of people in response to their partner but *nowhere in the Word* are we told that *God ordains divorce*. Why not? Because he doesn't.
So, if you are single and are considering dating a divorce person, *please don't*. Remember, this website is not about preparing people for simply marriage. This website is for the purpose of putting people in line for covenant. Two single people marrying one another for a lifetime. And/or a separated or divorced person who is seeking information and healing as it specifically relates to marital covenant.
And what if you already are divorced?
God forgives all sins (I John 1:9-10). Divorce is indeed a sin though and as with all transgressions, amends should be sought as much as possible. It's the sign of a changed heart towards the poor choices that we've made.
If your original partner is still single, the Word is clear. Remain single or be reconciled to your partner (I Corinthians 7:10-11). And honestly, the "ouch" is that even if they are married to someone else, this truth remains:
Once again, we need to return to the teaching of Jesus that (1) if a man divorces and remarries, he commits adultery, and (2) if a man divorces a woman (for whatever reason) and another man takes her as his wife, he is guilty of adultery (Matthew 5:32, 19:3‑11; Mark 10:212; Luke 16:18).
God does not permit remarriage after divorce, as long as the first partner is still alive. Although the marriage bond may be legally dissolved, the “one flesh” relationship (and the vows made to God) does not become non‑existent until the death of one of the partners.
Paul affirms this position on remarriage in I Corinthians 7:10‑15. Simply stated, he makes it clear that two married believers are not to be divorced. However, if they do divorce, only two options remain: they must remain unmarried, or be reconciled to their original partner (7:10,11).
Verses 12‑15 of I Corinthians 7 deal with a marriage between a believer and an unbeliever, a common situation in the early days of the church. Again, Paul's instructions are clear. The believer is not to leave; on the contrary, he is to do everything possible to preserve the marriage, and nothing to break it. The unbeliever must be allowed to stay as long as he is willing. Paul did recognize that the unbelieving partner in such a marriage might leave and divorce his mate, in which case the believer could not prevent it. But in no case was the believer free to remarry. Verse 39 establishes the conditions of remarriage: the death of the first mate, and that the new partner must be a believer.
The issue of remarriage after divorce is simplified by the question, “Did you vow, 'Till death do us part,' or 'Till divorce do us part'?” Although one partner may break his part of the vow and destroy the marriage, the other part of the vow must still be kept to God—”till death do us part.”
Nowhere does the Word say that divorced people are free to remarry. Period. Yet, *at the very least*, if you are divorced, *healing*, as much as possible, needs to be sought between you and your ex. It's amazing how people in a broken covenant will speak of their ex with bitterness (Hebrews 12:15), if not straight-up hatred (I John 4:20), when not only does the Word say that we should strive for reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:12-21) but to *love our enemies* and the Word explains how we are to do that:
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect."---Matthew 5:43-48(NKJV)
The Word also tells us this:
"Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift."---Matthew 5:23-24(NKJV)
It doesn't say that if we've hurt someone, we should wait for them to come to us. It says that we are to humble ourselves and *go to them*. Yeah, that's been a bit of a challenge for me too. It's the Word's standard, though.
So what does all of this have to do with today's message? Well, being that a true covenant is until death, *no matter what*, then if/when you're in the process of dating, it's important---*imperative in fact*---that you not only pay attention to if the guy seems that he is capable of truly loving you (I Corinthians 13:4-8) but that he can *nourish and cherish* you too.
Yep, there are several covenant wives in my life who've admitted to me that while they know their husbands do indeed *love them*, they don't feel very *nourished and cherished*. You don't want to wait until you've taken vows before God (Ecclesiastes 5:1-7) before discovering that your husband is not committed to assisting you with your growth (especially spiritual growth) or that you're not being fully embraced with tenderness.
And how can you know whether or not "he" is lacking in these areas? Good question.
A wise man once said that it's just as important to know what you don't want as what you do and there is an article that I checked out entitled "30 Signs Of Emotional Abuse In A Relationship". I'll provide 10 of 'em:
They regularly demean or disregard your opinions, ideas, suggestions, or needs.
They accuse you of being “too sensitive” in order to deflect their abusive remarks.
They correct or chastise you for your behavior.
They belittle and trivialize you, your accomplishments, or your hopes and dreams.
They make excuses for their behavior, try to blame others, and have difficulty apologizing.
They are emotionally distant or emotionally unavailable most of the time.
They don’t show you empathy or compassion.
They play the victim and try to deflect blame to you rather than taking personal responsibility.
They share personal information about you with others.
They invalidate or deny their emotionally abusive behavior when confronted.
If you see *any* of this in your relationship, you're not even close to being nourished and cherished. And again, if there is not a concerted amount of effort being put forth to make sure that you're becoming better spiritually as a direct result of the relationship and if tenderness is not being provided when he's talking to you or in the *appropriate affection* that he is offering you, you're also not being nourished and cherished.
If this is indeed the case, am I saying break up with him?
I'll say this: *You're single* which means that *you are your top priority*, not your relationship.
Spend some time in prayer for godly wisdom (James 1:5).
Seek wise counsel (Proverbs 12:15 & 24:6).
*Be realistic* about who he is and if he's even interested in changing (Ecclesiastes 7:18-Message).
And then proceed, even if that means ending it, from there...
God loves us.
He's looking out for us in so many detailed and intricate ways.
A man loving you is not nearly enough...
You deserve to be nourished and cherished too...
Just as any godly husband should care for his wife!
Marriage---Christ and the Church
Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. 'For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.' This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband."---Ephesians 5:22-33(NKJV)