By Meg Bucher ,Writer and Author, Crosswalk.com
This is not a rally cry for divorce, but it could be a wake up call for your marriage. Many of us start down this road with visions of fairy tales in our heads, and echoes of Mark 10:9, “Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate,” that ring fresh in our ears. God allows us to make mistakes, and it’s possible to marry the wrong person.
To determine whether we are enduring the difficult reality of married life, or the consequences of bad decision-making skills when it comes to choosing a spouse, we must seek God’s counsel. Beyond daily prayer and study of the Word, professional counsel should be considered whenever a question regarding the stability of a marriage arises. Christian counselors are people put in place as the healing hands of Jesus here on earth. Let’s look at 10 signs your may have married the wrong person.
God doesn’t bless a relationship that starts out this way. That doesn’t mean that the marriage can’t last until death do them part, but it sure does make it a lot harder than God intended it to be.
“Give honor to marriage, and remain faithful to one another in marriage. God will surely judge people who are immoral and those who commit adultery” (Hebrews 13:4).
Even marriage that goes the way God intended it to be is hard! Starting a relationship off with adultery is a sure sign you married the wrong person. However, we serve a God of restoration and healing, even in the most undeserved and sinful of circumstances.
There is something that is stolen from marriage when sex comes first. In our society, it’s widely acceptable. Giving in to someone that can’t wait is a sure sign that we couldn’t wait for what we deserved. It’s hard to believe that God has someone set aside for us, especially when the wait has been decades long. When we settle for the “now,” we blindly give up the best-case scenario.
1 Corinthians 6:18-20 warns, “Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.”
Many of us don’t understand how valuable we are to God. “Flee,” the Bible says. We may not understand at the time, but everyone who has chosen to marry based upon the decision to have sex first, has most likely chosen out of the wrong motivations.
3. Moved In
Living together before marriage steals the opportunity to gain independence before we’re linked for life. It’s important for individuals to be OK with who they are before becoming one with another.
“Watch out for people who try to dazzle you with big words and intellectual double-talk. They want to drag you off into endless arguments that never amount to anything. They spread their ideas through the empty traditions of human beings and the empty superstitions of spirit beings. But that’s not the way of Christ. Everything of God gets expressed in him, so you can see and hear him clearly. You don’t need a telescope, a microscope, or a horoscope to realize the fullness of Christ, and the emptiness of the universe without him. When you come to him, that fullness comes together for you, too. His power extends over everything” (Colossians 2:8-10).
No other person can ever complete us. Christ is the only one that is capable of filling our hearts. Looking for that completion in another person sets us up to pick the wrong soulmate.
4. Financially Dependent
Making the decision to marry based on someone’s income is not smart. No income is guaranteed to last forever, and we are promised that money is not the key to happiness.
Being spoiled with gifts and taken on spontaneous vacations is romantic, and fun! If we are blessed with people who care about us in that way, it’s not a bad thing. John 10:10 assures us that Jesus died so that we may live life to the fullest; however, that’s not accomplished through financial gain, and shouldn’t be a requirement for who we are going to marry.
5. Unresolved Conflict
Saying yes to marriage simply because we can’t say no is not a good excuse to walk down the aisle. If there is conflict in a relationship before marriage, it will remain after the honeymoon. Counting on marriage to heal all wounds will only make them worse.
“Hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers over all wrongs.” Proverbs 10:12 can be misunderstood to assume that human love symbolized by a wedding ring and vows can overcome any hatred, but it’s the love of God that has the power to overcome all hate. When two people are seeking God first, it’s His love that binds them together. If we’ve taken God’s Word out of context to fit our heart’s desire, instead of doing the work on our hearts with God, we have chosen incorrectly.
6. Addiction and Abuse
“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32).
God’s choice is never for us to be abused by our spouse. Sadly, many are caught in this cycle before the wedding day and beyond. We picked wrong if we thought that was the person God had intended for us, but the beauty of our Savior is that anyone can be restored. Find the professional help that is needed, and leave an unsafe environment.
7. Set Up
If parents are completely uninvolved in their kin’s search for marital bliss, they are forgoing a huge sphere of influence that can protect their babies from serious heartache. On the other hand, advice that squeezes the life right our of our children’s choices will most likely strangle their marriages. If we have chosen our spouse based on what our parents say or do not say, we’ve most likely chosen wrong.
Ephesians 6:1 says, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right,” but if we study the context of this verse carefully, the NIV notes clarify, “In fellowship with the Lord and in obedience to him.”
Though the decision shouldn’t be based solely on parental guidance, their counsel must be taken into consideration and then aligned with God’s Word. God puts us in our families for reasons we don’t always understand, but there is a reason, and if we seek His will we will end up choosing wisely.
8. A Wandering Heart
Living out Christian life is hard when we’re surrounded by our Jesus-people. When we choose to share the most intimate spaces of our lives with someone who is on the opposite end of the spectrum, whether we aim to “change” them or not, we are complicating our life. That is not how God intends life to be for us.
Although Paul was referring to the physical building of structures, he also used verses like 1 Thessalonians 5:11 to encourage Christians to make each other stronger in their faith. “ Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”
We cannot look up and blame God for something He specifically warned us about, but we can pray for a miracle … and it might just happen. He is the God of miracles, and makes good of all things.
Society breeds workaholics in our have-to-have-it-all society. Marriage and family take time, and we wrongly assume that a person who puts their career first is going to appropriate their time to raise one.
“God provides for His own. It is pointless to get up early, work hard, and go to bed late anxiously laboring for food to eat; for God provides for those He loves, even while they are sleeping” (Psalm 127:2).
God’s provision shouldn’t be confused with laziness, for living out the purpose that God has planned for our lives is hard work. Our marriages are a part of that plan, and will require a work ethic unique to that relationship.
10. Spiritual Leadership
When husband and wife are seeking God, they will find each other. Many marriages do not begin this way. If yours did, you picked right! If it didn’t, and if any of the other reasons on this list point to the fact that you made the wrong choice, get help. Talk to a pastor or a marriage counselor. All hope is not lost, and it’s never too late to seek God first.
God does not abandon us for making the wrong choices. We complicate life for ourselves when we operate outside of His will, but He promises never to leave us.
Deuteronomy 31:6 promises, “I will never leave you; I will always be by your side”, and it is true of Jesus today.