This Man Minute will go a bit more than 60 seconds today. It will be worth your two minutes.
Over the past few weeks it seems like every day I'm hearing news that people I know and love are getting divorced, are separated, or are on the brink of either of the two. The Man Minute goes out to thousands of people, and I hear reports all the time that many of you forward it to your brothers who walk with you in the Lord. So, I know that by the simple law of averages, many of you who get the Man Minute have been divorced.
I cannot imagine how painful that chapter of your life was both then and even now, as it's still a part of your story. Therefore, the last thing I want to do is to heap any coals upon your head, because I know that any man's marriage can come to an end. I fully believe with all my heart that no person ever gets married anticipating a divorce in their future. Things just happen and you end up one day in a place you never thought you'd be.
However, I cannot help but say to every man who gets the Man Minute, that unless there are clear, biblical grounds pointing to a separation, God's best for your life is to stay married. Yes, absolutely yes, there are at times circumstances where a marriage simply cannot make it. One party walks away and decides to quit, no matter how hard the other one tries to keep it together. Sometimes a person grows a heart that is like cement toward their spouse, and thus there is no possible option for recovery unless that person turns their heart toward God; and, you cannot make your spouse turn to God. Only they can make that decision. So I understand that.
The thing that is grieving me the most is that what I'm seeing in the lives of people I know who are on the brink of divorce is that one, or in some cases both, of the people in the marriage simply want more freedom ... aren't having their needs met ... want to go back to a fantasy of high school dating, club hopping, etc, etc. In most cases I see around me right now, for the person who has chosen to end the marriage, there are absolutely no biblical grounds for it. It seems that the grounds for divorce these days are simply and purely selfish.
My marriage is hard work, but not because my wife, Michelle, is hard to live with; she isn't hard to live with (most of the time!) It's hard because relationships are tough. However, I've never seen anything so rewarding as marriage. Michelle and I have a great marriage, but it's because we want to stay married, we want to honor one another, and above all, we want the anointing of God on our lives. All of this means that it takes work, but anything worth having is worth the work. Life-long relationships are tough!! What makes any of us think that we can live with one person as a friend, lover, and spouse for an entire life time and yet think that it's not going to, at times, be completely a marathon that must be endured??
In the end, you cannot force a person to stay married to you. You can, however, do everything you can possibly do to honor your vows. You stood before God and your spouse and you told both God and your spouse that you'd stay in this relationship until death parts you. Stay married.
When I was 16 years old my mom and dad thought they could no longer live with one another. After four months of a separation, they even filed papers for divorce. There marriage was virtually non-existent, even before the papers were filed. Yet, my mom and dad both surrendered their hearts to staying together. Within the next 24 months all three of us gave our hearts to the Lord Jesus. I've said many times that the marriage I grew up watching isn't the marriage my parents have today. They are two completely different people when it comes to how they love one another. I watched with my own eyes that when two people decide to make massive changes in their lives, stop being selfish, and choose to love the Lord so that they can learn to love one another again, then any marriage can thrive. It can be done.
But He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
- 2 Corinthians 12:9-10
*** Next week I'm going to share some personal experiences in my marriage that have taught me a lot about God, myself, and my wife.
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