How Willing Are You to Reach Out?
by Lynette Kittle
“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ” - Galatians 6:2
In a 1975 episode of “Little House on the Prairie” titled “Family Quarrel,” the Olesons decide to divorce. But rather than supporting their decision, their friends and the entire community join together to interfere with their plans, with the hope of bringing the couple to reconciliation.
Are we willing, especially as Christians, to intervene when we see marriage falling apart? Are we willing to risk losing friendships to help keep marriages and families together? Do we support what Jesus said in Mark 10:9, “Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate”?
My husband and I are willing to reach out but it can be difficult and time-consuming. Still, we’ve found to stand by and see marriages fall apart is much more difficult and heartbreaking to watch.
We reach out recognizing couples pursuing divorce are usually operating in distress mode. Most likely weary from the struggles of marriage and in dire need of reinforcements to come alongside and help them walk through the challenges of being married. Isaiah 25:3 urges to “Strengthen the feeble hands, steady the knees that give way.”
Also, couples who have reached this decision want their friends and family to support their plan, thinking if you question it, you just don’t understand and should mind your own business. Yet the love of Christ and His heart for marriage compels us as Christians to go the extra mile, to reach out to help.
So what if Christians decide to not be so supportive of separation and divorce? What if like the Olesons’ friends, we do whatever we can do to help restore a couple’s broken relationship?
James 5:19-20 explains, “My brothers and sisters, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring that person back, remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins.”
It’s especially challenging to come and walk alongside a couple who is resolved to separate, who believe divorce is easier than staying married. Yet, divorce brings widespread destruction, even pulling in couples watching from a distance, spreading doubt and chaos to their relationships, creating a devastating ripple effect.
When one couple falls, other couples usually follow. It’s like an earthquake shaking the core of marriages surrounding the epicenter of divorce.
Galatians 6:2 urges, “Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted.”
So reaching out to help is not without caution, understanding how intervening in another couple’s marriage issues, has the potential to stir up issues in you own marriage. Still, helping to reconcile a marriage is well worth the effort.
And what might just happen if more couples followed the godly counsel found in Scripture? Like:
“’The man who hates and divorces his wife,’ says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘does violence to the one he should protect,’ says the Lord Almighty. So be on your guard, and do not be unfaithful’” (Malachi 2:16).
“To the married I give this command (not I, but the Lord): A wife must not separate from her husband” (1 Corinthians 7:10).
Continuing with, “But if she does, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband. And a husband must not divorce his wife” (1 Corinthians 7:11).
Also, “To the rest I say this (I, not the Lord): If any brother has a wife who is not a believer and she is willing to live with him, he must not divorce her” (1 Corinthians 7:12).
Along with 1 Corinthians 7:13, “And if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him.”
What if couples don’t see divorce as a practical choice to solving marital issues? If instead of looking for reasons to divorce, they look for ways to restore their marriage? What if husbands and wives believe making every effort to reconcile with their spouse is the better option than marrying someone else? How might couples reconsider pursuing divorce?
Lynette Kittle is married with four daughters. She enjoys writing about faith, marriage, parenting, relationships, and life. Her writing has been published by Focus on the Family, Decision, Today’s Christian Woman, iBelieve.com, kirkcameron.com, Ungrind.org, and more. She has an M.A. in Communication from Regent University and serves as associate producer for Soul Check TV.
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Originally published Friday, 22 October 2021.