“I’m not living this way anymore! I have had it!”

These words are often the last ones spoken just before the door slams in the midst of “another” heated argument between spouses in a crisis marriage.

At some point, however, the couple usually makes up and returns to their normal, “unhealthy” ways: honeymoon stage, stuffing true feelings, bickering, disrespect, and blowing up again. At least the couple avoids separation or divorce, you might be thinking. True, but avoiding separation does not always lead to having a marriage that honors the Lord. Nor does avoiding separation always model a good marriage to our children and others.

So, what if a spouse, in an unhealthy marriage, says those same words, but does not scream them and slam the door on their way out? What if that spouse, after much prayer and spending time with the Lord, says the same words for the purpose of making healthy changes? And, what if this good change does in fact, result in a separation? Sometimes, separation is the result of making good choices. Here are 3 common examples that we have either experienced or witnessed in this ministry:

  1. One or both spouses have an addiction. Sometimes the person with the addiction is the one who realizes that he or she can no longer live life either high or hung over. Other times it is the exhausted enabler who makes the change and stops the cycle.
  2. Ongoing adultery. While some may argue that not confronting an adulterous spouse can save a marriage, even Jesus agreed that it was an acceptable reason for divorce. Most people are unable and unwilling to share their spouse with someone else, and instead gives an ultimatum to the adulterer.
  3. Verbal, sexual, or physical abuse. More often than not, the abused person or the one witnessing abuse (in the case of children), ends up crying out for help–or is reported for not doing so. Most of us in ministry or law enforcement agrees that this is the most difficult of all situations. For one, domestic violence happens behind closed doors, and it requires the abused person to stand up for righteousness in the face of fear. With proper help and much prayer, a decision to stop this unhealthy cycle in a crisis marriage is the right thing to do.

Do you have a choice to make in your marriage that might lead to your spouse leaving rather than changing? God cares about you and wants the best for you (Jeremiah 29:11). He also wants you to fear Him more than man (Hebrews 13:6), and He will give you wisdom if you ask (James 1:5). It’s never too late to have harmony in your home and hope in your marriage, when you speak the truth in love and put God first.

Contact us for prayer, a ministry near you, or resources to help you make good changes in your marriage. We provide help and hope for marriages in crisis–even with an unwilling spouse.