Discussing
Did you marry the wrong person?

Tim Challies

Christian Bell
October 13, 2011

I understand the author’s point here, but we need to be extremely careful with the “embrace your spouse’s faults” rhetoric.<br><br>Particularly for women, this line of rhetoric has been used time and time again to shame them into accepting verbally, emotionally, and physically abusive relationships.Growing around the minor domestic differences is fine and part of a normal and healthy marriage. Abuse, violence, and addictions, on the other hand, are NEVER things to “embrace” or “thank God for”.

Rickd
October 13, 2011

Life is complicated. Usually when someone says they married the wrong person, they are affirming that there was a plan A and they opted for plan B. It may have nothing to do with a mate being too dissimilar. They are in effect acknowledging that soul mates exist as a concept, God had a spouse in mind and they defied or ignored his choice. That is a much more difficult concept to deal with and is not mollified by pat answers. Perhaps plans A and B are false constructs...perhaps when any choice is submitted to God, he can turn a plan D into a plan A or B. I just know that God puts a high premium on covenant keeping and that love is a choice that has to be learned over time. I also think we put too much emphasis on marriage in the Christian life, as if that is the highest issue God is concerned with. In some cases I believe that certain circles of the church have devolved into marriage cults. I know, strong words, but when week after week the primary subject is marriage, family and child raising it begins to resemble the Mormon obsession with the nuclear family. As a divorced person, I have no easy answers and after 10 years I am still stunned. All I know is that now my focus is on my Friend Jesus.

Kalyn Comings
October 13, 2011

All of us have a tendency to say "what if..." and think about what life would be like if we had chosen a different mate. The reality is, you have the person you committed to, and it is now your job as a spouse and as a child of God to make the marriage work, no matter what. So easy to say, and yet at times, it can be very difficult.

Pcg
October 13, 2011

Well said, Rickd. Put another way, the answer to the question, “Did I marry the wrong person?” is simply “Mu.” That is, “It is impossible to answer your question because it depends on incorrect assumptions”, namely, that assumption that says there is one person out there for you, and that if you don't find that person you have somehow SCREWED UP THE COSMIC FABRIC OF YOUR LIFE.<br><br>Nice article.

Keri
October 13, 2011

AMEN Christian!  We all certainly have our faults, but many also struggle with addiction, mental illness and other wounds that are severe problems in a marriage.  God can and does heal and reconcile such things in a relationship.  And, wishing that those things weren't so isn't the same thing as wishing a spouse was more like.  It's a desire for health and wellness.

Keri
October 13, 2011

There is another reason people consider they have married the wrong person: you are still emotionally attached to a former significant other.  I believe that many in Christian cirlces make a big deal out of premarital sex and how damaging it can be to a marriage, particulrly if there were mulitple sexual partners.  What we don't talk about is the fact that many Christians have given their hearts away to people other than their spouse.  I believe that negatively impacts a marriage, especially in areas of emotional intimacy.

Guest
October 14, 2011

I appreciate Tim’s example of “Divine Sovereignty” in marriage. I also appreciate the comments that real relationships too often include divorce, abuse, addiction, disabilities, etc. Sovereignty in these situations is complicated.<br><br>My own soul searching on sovereignty has led me to the following conclusions (for Me):<br><br>Sovereignty means God, not me, is the author of my existence - ALL of it, every page, from cover to cover! (that was hard to accept) <br><br>As the author of my existence, God knows what experiences I need to make me strong enough for what he has planned later on. He knows what part my pain plays in my life and that how I deal with it, will impact those who come into and out of the chapters of my life. He orchestrates the critical events that must happen to force me to change, to act, to grow.<br><br>Maybe it seems insane but I now thank God for the pain and trials that made me who I am today. I wouldn’t wish my story on anyone else, but I thank God for every page and paper cut along the way.<br><br>I’m not excusing people who do evil things. They have their own stories and their own pain. Justice, atonement, forgiveness and healing are important parts of those stories.<br><br>I would never suggest a woman stay in an abusive relationship either. However, with time she may recognize that the learning she gains from finding the strength to act, to leave, to talk, may save someone else further pain. These are the gifts that bookmark God’s hand in our lives.<br><br>So Tim... Am I wrong?

Phyllis Tarbox
October 15, 2011

Love this....I get asked this question many times a week in counseling people.  Blessings, Phyllis

Jansparrow2011
October 15, 2011

Um...so only physical abuse is wrong?  Not verbal and emotional?  Or sexual abuse of the children or the spouse?  Oh, you better watch out saying that only physical abuse merits attention.  God bless you.

Chris Gagner
October 19, 2011

When I first read the headline of this article, I was not expecting it to go that way! That's a very interesting take on the topic :) We all married the wrong person!

Chris Gagner
October 19, 2011

I have a friend that is going through something similar at the moment. He has been emotionally and physically abused by his wife. She has cheated on him multiple times. He filed for a divorce and she said she wanted it too. Now, she says she wants him to forgive her and take him back, and she tells him that if he doesn't, he's not being a Christian. I tried to explain to him that forgiveness doesn't mean that she doesn't have to live with the consequences of her sin. He can forgive her, and still move on with his life.

Drintimacy
October 25, 2011

Awesome topic and great comments. I have to chime in on this one because I have personal experience with this. I did "marry the wrong person". By wrong person I am not murmuring about incompatibilities or physical unpleasantries. I am talking about being in a marriage that was so subtly emotionally abusive that I turned to suicide attempts  as a welcomed relief to living within what some would call "God's sovereignty". The church's obsession with remaining married --no matter what because God hates divorce so much-- is by observation probably one of the greatest causes of failure to fulfill purpose in the lives of Believers more than any other instrument of satan.<br><br>Let's make comparison to some other long-term commitments. The Bible says that we ought to pay off our debts quickly. Yet often times people take out long-term mortgage loans on homes that fail to provide the necessary safe-haven that we need to live in peace. There could be problems with the architecture, the neighborhood, or just a bad decision to buy a house we cannot afford. We  make decisions to go to college and get degrees that have nothing to do with the direction God's perfect will for our lives is taking us. People start messy ministries out of bitterness toward former leaders that didn't give them the attention or position they thought they were entitled to. <br><br>My point is this... we make all types of long-term commitments for the wrong reasons. God wants us all to let our yeah be yeah and nay be nay, people of integrity that always keep our word, our commitments and pay off our debts. However I think sometimes we use "God's sovereignty" as an excuse to evade our responsibility to correct bad decisions. If the house is not safe we need to move; if the degree is not a part of our future, we need to drop out of college and cut our losses; if the ministry wasn't built on God's will, it needs to be shut down! <br><br>God clearly attempted to warn me not to marry my ex-husband. I went against His advice and married him anyway and suffered the consequences. Now should I use God's sovereignty as justification to remain in a marriage that He warned me against to begin with? I could go on and on but I just know that for me getting divorced was the only way to correct my bad decision. This is to say nothing remotely negative of my ex-husband. He has value as a human being and I am sure he will make some woman a great husband one day... but that woman is not me. <br><br>You can not be in God's permissible will and his perfect will at the same time. You will be in one or the other. I don't believe God ever takes a plan D and makes it a plan A as one commenter suggested. He may give you the grace to live out a plan D, but a plan D will always be just that. What I am saying is that his permissible will won't ever become his perfect will and his perfect will wont ever become his permissible will.<br><br>If you stay married to someone that is interfering with the fulfillment of your divine purpose, you will never live in peace. "Toughin it out" will never correct that and the longer you remain in it, the more complicated leaving will get and the more lives will be negatively affected!<br><br>

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