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Contributor:
Chad Roberts

One of the greatest joys I have as a pastor is having a front row seat to God’s ability to restore marriages. For the last couple of years, I have conducted numerous counseling sessions with the lion’s share of those sessions dealing with marriage and divorce. I am very thankful to say that I see God bring healing and restoration far greater than I see couples divorce. If you are someone whose marriage is on the brink of divorce, it should encourage you that the success rate for marriage counseling is incredibly high. There is hope for your marriage!

However, there is one story that sticks out in my mind. It is a true and personal account. Oddly enough, it is also a Biblical account. It is a scenario that plays out in many marriages today. Perhaps you are reading this and your own marriage is in trouble. I encourage you to read this carefully, pray fiercely and seek counseling immediately.

Hardened Hearts
There is one story I will never forget. A couple came to me brokenhearted because their marriage was over. They expressed interest in pastoral counseling. Then all of a sudden, she changed her mind. He tearfully asked her to not end the marriage and to pursue counseling with me. She refused.

Months passed…perhaps 6 maybe 8 and her heart began to change. All of a sudden she was contacting me asking if I would do marriage counseling to save their marriage. But there was a huge problem, by this time, his heart had hardened. He once was tearful, repentant and ready for healing but she wasn’t .Now that she was tearful, repentant and pleading for restoration, he would not hear of it.

Life went on…now he is with another person and so is she. Their children have grown up and life is very different today. I always wonder to myself what could have been? What was the Lord’s will for their lives and for their family?

See, Jesus told us why families divorce. The Pharisees approached Christ in Matthew 19 with the purpose of confusing Jesus and embarrassing him publicly, So they asked him this very difficult question in verse 7, “Why then did Moses command one to give a certificate of divorce and to send her away?” Jesus’ response is as relevant today as it was 2,000 years ago! Read verse 8 carefully, “Because of your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so.”

When I see divorce papers that read, “Irreconcilable difference” I often think they should read, “Because of the Hardness of Heart.”

A Tragic Love Story (Song of Solomon)
Song of Solomon is a fascinating book of the Bible. In chapter 5, we see a fight take place between the two lover’s. Their story is a common one among marriages. Verse 2 sets the scene for us. Apparently she was waiting for her husband to come home from work, but like usual, he was late, apparently very late because she had already gone to bed. Notice it says, “I slept, but my heart was awake.”

When her husband knocks, and says, “Open to me my love” she refuses. He says that his hair is wet with dew from the night so apparently he is coming home extremely late. In verse 3 she reasons with herself that she has already got ready for bed why should she let him in? After some time passes, she opens the door to find that beloved is gone. He was willing, but she was not.

According to verse 6, she says, “ I opened to my beloved, but my beloved had turned and gone. My soul failed me when he spoke. I sought him, but found him not; I called him, but he gave no answer.” Do you see the tragedy of missed timing in this Biblical story? He was willing to ask for forgiveness, but by the time she willing to forgive, he had left. This happens over and over in today’s marriages.

Don’t Walk Away
Whether you have been the one wronged or you are the one who has committed the offense, don’t walk away! In most cases, I do not recommend a separation. Sometimes families feel that if they separate for a while (not divorce, but just separate) that things will get better. Do you know why I do not think this is a good idea? Because you give a foothold to Satan in your marriage. You run the risk of mistiming.

What you should do is commit that you will both attend pastoral counseling. This past week something broke on my car. I think it was the radiator but I am not a mechanic so I am not sure what is wrong. I had my car towed to a mechanic and I am waiting for him to diagnose the problem and I am trusting that he can fix it.

In a similar way, when your marriage has problems you need to come to a counselor. I do not know how to replace a radiator. You most likely do not know how to fix your marriage. That is why you need someone to work with you, pray with you, counsel and guide you through this difficult and painful season. Do not try to do life alone.

Some of the greatest experiences I have had as a pastor is sitting with a couple in the midst of deep hurt and painful experiences. There are times I genuinely do not know what to do. We will pray, humble ourselves, ask the Lord to show us and ask for His grace and His help, and you know what…I have found Him faithful each time! There are countless situations where we did not have the answer but we would pray and all of a sudden, God would begin to show us the answer and both parties would walk away feeling better, feeling God’s grace and wanting restoration.

Few marriages truly want it to be over. Most marriages simply do not know what to do. It is okay because a Christian counseling will know what to do. If you need pastoral counseling, I would love for you to contact me. I am not a licensed professional and I do not pretend to be. I am a Shepherd, a pastor. I know how to pray. I know how to listen. I know how to fight off the enemy and trust me…your marriage is worth fighting for.

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