Don’t Even Say It
By Jennifer Waddle
“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
The way we speak to our spouses matters. It’s not only what we say, but how we say it. Many deep wounds are caused by angry words, spoken in the heat of an argument, or careless words spoken in jest. And there is one word, in particular, that continues to sting, long after it is mentioned. Not only does it hurt, it leaves a wounding impression on both the mind and the heart. The word is divorce.
Unfortunately, divorce has become a byword, thrown around in everyday conversations and talked about almost constantly in our society. But it is a word that is far more divisive and destructive than couples realize.
You see, once divorce is mentioned, it opens an unwanted door that may be hard to close. It’s as if saying it aloud gives couples permission to start entertaining the thought. And eventually, the thought may become an irreversible action.
There is a difference between discussing serious issues—ones that could lead to separation—and instantly concluding that divorce is the answer. In Malachi 2:16, the Lord has some outspoken words about divorce. He likens it to violence and hate.
While there are Biblical reasons for divorce, our humanistic reasons are often shallow excuses to escape a relationship in which we no longer want to be committed.
My encouragement to married couples, who have mentioned divorce openly, is to make a pact to stop using the word immediately. Seek wise counsel, by finding an older married couple who can mentor you, pray with you, and hopefully lead you towards healing and restoration.
Instead of carelessly tossing around the idea of divorce, discuss your real-life issues in light of God’s Word, and in deep respect of God’s view marriage. Commit to finding solutions for your problems instead of seeking ways to avoid them. Resolve to let your words be a healing balm instead of a slow-dripping poison.
Our words matter. What we say can either wound or mend. Determine to build up your spouse with life-giving affirmations and leave the word divorce out of your discussions altogether.
Gracious God, today I thank You for my spouse. I ask for forgiveness for the words and thoughts that have not been affirming. I pray for healing words to come out of my mouth—words that build up and do not tear down. Please protect my marriage from the pull of the world. Help us to look to You for guidance and keep our commitment to each other without wavering. I ask that You will walk us through every trial with wisdom and grace.
In Jesus’ name, I pray,
Jennifer Waddle considers herself a Kansas girl, married to a Colorado hunk, with a heart to encourage women everywhere. She is the author of several books, including Prayer WORRIER: Turning Every Worry into Powerful Prayer, and is a regular contributor for LifeWay, Crosswalk, Abide, and Christians Care International. Jennifer’s online ministry is EncouragementMama.com where you can find her books and sign up for her weekly post, Discouragement Doesn’t Win. She resides with her family near the foothills of the Rocky Mountains—her favorite place on earth.
Originally published Monday, 25 September 2023.