Marriage is a wonderful gift from God but as with all the best things in life it is not always easy. Marriage is a beautiful picture of the love that Christ has for his church but since it also involves two imperfect human beings marriages often run into trouble and can sadly end in divorce.
There are several things a husband and wife can do to safeguard their marriage but today I am going to focus on, if not the key then still a very important reason that creates strong, long-lasting marriages – burning ships!
The idea of burning ships comes from the exploits of Hernán Cortés, Spanish conquistador and governor of New Spain (Mexico). He is famous for leading an expedition that caused the fall of the Aztec empire.
He feared that his men would escape back to Cuba rather than fight the Aztecs. So, to prevent this, he burnt (or otherwise destroyed) the ships that they had come to Mexico on, stranding not only his army but also himself in Mexico with the Aztecs.
When we commit to marry someone, we – like Cortés, need to be prepared to go all in.
Marriage is a serious commitment and should always be entered into with much thought and wisdom but the time for reconsidering marrying someone is before the marriage not after.
An old pastor of mine once wisely said that there should be no contingency plans in marriage, no suggestion of getting a divorce floating at the back of our minds. Having the suggestion of divorce in a marriage undermines the security of the union.
When there is the option of leaving when things get tough, then there isn’t the motivation to continue working together to overcome problems that arise.
The commitment to staying together is not an excuse for allowing abuse in marriage but divorce does not need to be the solution for this, although tragically in some circumstances it may still happen.
It would be wise for the endangered spouse to move out and go somewhere else if they need to for their safety.They should also talk to their pastor or women’s ministry worker for support and advice.
Also what is very importantis that the church, especially the pastor or leaders, should come alongside the person who is doing the abusing to let them know that their behaviour is unacceptable and to try to support and encourage them to change their behaviour so it is in line with God’s requirements for how spouses are to love each other.
The emphasis should be on safety and reconciliation. Divorce is not the solution to abusive relationships because it does not solve the problem but staying in the same place together while attempting to work things out is not always wise and not required.
When Jesus is asked about divorce, he outlines what marriage was designed for by referring to how things were set up in the beginning. In Matthew chapter 19, verses 4-6 he says,
“At the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’ So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”
Marriage is such a serious thing because it not only is meant to reflect the love Christ has for his people but it also melds two individuals together and creates a permanent bondwhich if broken, leaves a lot of damage.
Husbands and wives are not like two pieces of Lego that are just clicked together but are like a pair of glass salt and pepper shakers that are superglued together.
Marriage is a wonderful gift from God and even though it is not always easy, it is worth it. Let’s burn the ships, set our eyes on Jesus and throw ourselves all in to loving our spouses for better or worse, through sickness & health, for richer or poorer as long as we both shall live.
Jessica McPherson lives with her best friend and husband, Eoin and their family of rescue animals in Christchurch. She loves reading, writing, photography and scrap-booking but most of all sharing God’s love and truth with a hurting world. Jessica is particularly passionate about encouraging children and building them up in gospel truth.