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By Samuel M. Smith
© 1989 Up Way
P. O. Box 1015
Kailua, HI 96734 U. S.
retrieval by any means without the express permission of Samuel M.
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CAN A “MARRIAGE ON THE ROCKS”
DEFINITELY YES, but it will not be easy. Is it worth the effort?
Probably, but each case must rest on its own merits. In this chapter we
will deal with the situation that has become serious and there is talk
of divorce or separation, or even one in which a separation or divorce
has already taken place, but before either has remarried or begun to
as a common-law spouse with someone else. (If either has begun to live
with another person in a male/female relationship resembling marriage
could result in “common-law” marriage, see Chapter 8, May A Divorcee
In some cases, the marriage can be “preserved” or “saved” but
the price will be beatings, physical or verbal abuse and the “to death
us do part” has far too often been death at the hands of the abusive
or in self defense by the abused spouse or one of their children.2
Please analyze your situation carefully, if you have such a
situation. As unbelievable as it seems, there have been cases in which
the godly Christian spouse has endured the abuse and the abuser has
converted and become a beautiful Christian and the marriage has been
from a real disaster into a delight. I would like to tell you that this
happens often, but for every time that the patient and enduring spouse
wins and the marriage is really saved, there are probably two or three
in which one or the other spouse is actually killed by the mate, and
are probably more abusive parents killed by one of their children than
ever change and become good spouses and parents. In the vast majority
cases, the abusive person never makes any serious change in his or her
life and live with their problem until they die. So, unfortunately, I
cautiously say that it may be best to at least separate, especially if
you have children that are being abused, even if you do not go the
of a full divorce.
There have been a fair number of cases in which the shock of
losing the wife or husband or whole family through separation has
the abusive spouse to his or her senses and they have either sought
gotten right with God, or made a firm enough determination to
out their act” and the couple has been able to successfully reunite and
go on from that point to have a good, if not fully delightful marriage.
See page 59, paragraph 1.
MARRIAGE: Delight or Disaster
you need not give up hope. Even if you go the full route
and divorce, or you get a restraining order to prevent the abusive
from coming and attacking you in your new home, and all seems
you can still pray and believe God for a miracle. And a real miracle is
what this disaster requires! Please believe me when I say that this is
really a situation in which “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His
and all these things shall be added unto you,” (Matthew 6:33), is
the best advice that can be given. As you begin to walk in faith and
God, not leaning to your own understanding, but relying completely on
in faith believing, He will work on the errant one to bring conviction
and salvation and the resulting new life in Jesus Christ can completely
change that abusive spouse into a repentant, tender, loving one who is
a joy to be with. Your marriage can become a delight.
But even as God’s desire is that all men everywhere repent (See
2 PETER 3:9; Acts 17:30; Romans 2:4). He has given mankind the freedom
to choose either to do good or evil, and while He will answer your
and put all kinds of stumbling blocks and chances in the way of the
or drunkard or drug abusing or unfaithful spouse, He will never
overrule their own self-will. So, if after you have cried and prayed
God for the errant spouse, never get angry with God if the spouse does
not get right and come back. God did not fail you. He will provide some
other kind of relief for you. It may or may not be in the form of
person to replace the one lost. It might just be in caring for other
children or caring for sick or invalid or old persons or in a job you
enjoy, or it may just be in the form of an inner peace about your
after you have completely and wholeheartedly given control of your life
to the Lord.
We have dealt with the most serious situation first, but many
divorces and marriage disasters do not involve actual abuse and even
and Christian wives have problems which sometimes end in disaster if
don’t work at preserving the first love and delight they knew when they
first said, “I do.” In fact, ministers and doctors and others who deal
with trying to help other people often fall victim to marital disaster
because they get so caught up with trying to help people other than
own spouse is neglected. Often, they assume that their spouse
and is in wholehearted accord with what they are doing and don’t even
until they are faced with a note under the magnet on the refrigerator
saying, “Dear_____ , I'm sorry, but I couldn’t take it any more, and
gone_______. We just haven’t been making
|Can A Marriage "On The Rocks" Be
Love, ______ .” It may be back home or it may be to a new
love or just to a new apartment alone and away from the too busy
The answer here is to communicate. Don’t allow embarassment,
pride, shame, guilt,or anything else keep you from first communicating
your love for your spouse, and then anything that is causing or could
a problem between the two of you. whether it is his loud snoring, her
putting away the papers you needed to fill out and mail today so you
find them, a drug or alcohol or infidelity problem, or whatever.
In the Bible, infidelity was taken as a very serious matter
worthy of death, (although usually enforced more against the woman than
the man, simply because she was much more likely to get caught!). Our
in general, no longer sees adultery as anywhere near that serious, and
in fact, experimentation, unfaithfulness and promiscuity are openly
on many television movies in our own homes today! Many mistakenly use
argument that Jesus forgave the woman taken in the act of adultery (John
8:4-11) as an indication that God no longer views sexual sins as
as He did in the Old Testament. But this is not true. He was simply
to the hypocritical way it was being enforced in the case before Him.
told the woman that because her accusers were gone, He did not condemn
her, but for her to “...go and sin no more.” There are many good
and scientific reasons why it is better for one man and one woman to
sex only with each other in a marriage bond, but apart from being a
of discontent or an inability to overcome temptation, or the errant
catching a sexually transmitted disease or the wife becoming pregnant
the person she commits adultery with, the actual act of intercourse
not alter the genital organs of the guilty person nor their ability to
return to being a faithful spouse if the innocent spouse is willing to
forgive and forget to save the remains of the marriage.
Volumes and volumes have been written on the subject of
to go about saving a marriage on the rocks, yet the fact is that this
be the shortest chapter in this book. For centuries, men have tried to
rationalize and explain away their marital difficulties. the blame is
everywhere but where it should be: YOU!
You could get chilled or overheated a thousand times and never
catch a cold if it weren’t for the cold virus. The temperature of your
body as affected by your environment is not the real cause of the
but only an environmental hazard. Likewise,
MARRIAGE: Delight or Disaster
ill temper and alcoholism or drug abuse or any of the
other things that enter into the downfall of a marriage are only
Like the cold virus is the only real cause of colds, so also there is
one real cause of the disease of Divorce -- SIN! It spells gloom and
in a marriage. In fact, it spells gloom in life -- period!
All sicknesses and diseases are caused by germs of one kind
or other. Some are caused by bacteria (plant organisms), some by fungi,
some by protozoa (animal organisms), some by viruses and some by
combinations working together. Divorce, too, is a disease. Spreading
an epidemic, it is now even undermining the hopes for successful
of many who are not yet married. By providing an socially accepted
it tends to encourage young people to enter into alliance with a mate
would probably have eliminated in courtship if they knew they would
to spend the rest of their lives to-gether. “Oh, well, if we don’t hit
it off, we’ll just get a divorce and try again,” is the attitude of
of today’s young people. Often their parents are divorced, and on the
or third try find an ideal and happy marriage. “Well, if that’s the
why shouldn’t I approach it that way too?” Why not? I suggest that you
get them aside and ask them in confidence whether they would follow the
same path if they could roll back the clock and have the chance to
their lives. Nine out of ten will tell you they would never repeat the
mistakes nor marry the person they are divorced from if only they could
go back. The years of unhappiness, the bitter memories, the pain they
their children go through could have been avoided if only -- ! If only
they had waited and chosen the right mate in the first place. Most of
will also admit that even with the poor choice they did make, the
could have been a whole lot happier if both of them had determined that
each was going to do everything possible to be the best husband or wife
they could be. Tracked to its root, it was that old Self Interest
heart that was where the problem started.
Who can deny that selfishness is the underlying cause of
Of adultery? Of nagging? Of neglecting to live up to the duties and
of marriage? Of lying to the spouse? of being temperamental? You name
problem and then stop a minute and think about it. Can it not be safely
said that self-centeredness is the real basis for that problem?
Maybe you aren’t the one who is selfish. Maybe YOU are a true
born-again Christian whose life is dedicated to the will of the Lord
it is your mate who is selfish. Once you recognize this
|Can A Marriage "On The Rocks" Be
|fact, you have a valuable
key to HELP your mate to adjust. Now it becomes
your Christian responsibility to point out prayerfully, thoughtfully,
tactfully, in words and actions properly timed and directed of the Holy
Spirit, giving all consideration to your mate’s feelings, the ways in
he or she could improve the marriage relationship -- a POSITIVE
Never imply that you are complaining about a fault, but that this is
that could improve the marriage. (Surprise! Bet it was YOUR selfishness
that was causing the trouble, to hear your mate’s side of the story!)
you begin improving the lines of communication with your mate, keep
ears attuned to hear your own faults bared, and your heart tender to
in love to correct any of your own faults you discover. In this way,
will accomplish much improvement in your marriage relationship.
Now let’s look as the possibility of salvaging Tom and Cathy’s
Let’s say that after
the first couple of days, Cathy seeks out her pastor, Sunday School
or other Christian counsellor and seeks their advice. After a little
the counsellor discovers the breakfast table incident and takes Cathy
task. Seeing that by her lack of concern for Tom, and her own
she is driving him away from her, she goes home and prepares the steak
dinner he loves so much and awaits him at the door that evening.
“Hi, Sweetheart, I’m glad you’re home so I can let you know
I’ve come to realize what a heel I’ve been the last few days,” she
cheerily, giving him a kiss. She takes his briefcase and topcoat and
them away to their proper place. Then she leads the way to the dinner
where all is the peak of readiness. After they have been eating for a
moments, she again broaches the subject of their recent argument.
“Tom, I’ve been giving a lot of thought to the way I’ve been
acting the last few days, and I see how very self centered I’ve
I wasn’t trying very hard to understand you and the problems you were
through. I can see now that I haven’t been quirte the ideal wife or as
loving as I should have been for some time now. But Tom, dear, I
DO love you, and I’m sorry for the way I’ve been acting. Will you
Now Cathy has put the shoe on Tom’s foot, and if his marriage
and Karen mean anything at all to him, he will have to forgive and the
little thing with Shirley will vanish. But if Tom is too selfish to
Cathy, the fault lies with him. If the matter is resolved by this
on Cathy’s part, she will be wise never to
5, page 36.
MARRIAGE: Delight or Disaster
|mention her trip to the
counsellor, since Tom may resent having the
problem aired. But if he refuses to forgive in a few days, it may be
for Cathy to urge Tom to see the counsellor himself.
There are many advantages in good counselling, but there are
also pitfalls. One must always remember that any counsellor comes into
the problem as a relative stranger to the inner self of either the
or the wife and so can speak only within the realm of his or her own
and training. For this reason, I urge both husband and wife to make a
effort to UNDERSTAND the other and to avoid discussing their
with anyone but the Lord. Only when one or the other finds the mate to
be beyond their own ability to understand, should they discuss the
with someone with the qualifications for giving wise counsel. Do NOT go
to your next door neighbor or just anyone who happens to be handy to
on. Go only to someone whose good judgement you know you can trust. If
you have doubts about your counsellor’s qualifications (not necessarily
diplomas from universities), STOP! Be he (or she) a minister, doctor,
or your best friend, if his (or her) own life does not demonstrate his
(or her) counsel, watch out! But while the advice of a qualified
may well prove very helpful, there is a Counsellor whose advice has
been wrong, and whose abiding presence in a person’s life can guide
person through every thought, word and action. That Counsellor is --
Lord Jesus Christ. While every marriage may not be saved by turning to
Christ, a true love for Him and your surrender of self-will to His will
offers the best possible chance. The problem here is when only one
partner takes Christ into his (or her) heart and the other refuses
When this happens, the problem really comes into focus, and will either
result in the non-Christian becoming ashamed of his way of living and
the example of his (or her) mate, or else become angered by seeing how
far from an ideal life he’s been living. In this case, conditions may
worsen for a while, but “All things work together for good to them that
love God, to them that are the called according to His purpose.” (Romans
8:28). Either the erring mate will turn from his (or her)
to Christ or at least to his (or her) mate or else the break will
clear and final. I will not try to say that in every case the marriage
will be spared by one of the partners taking Christ as Savior and Lord,
but if BOTH put Christ ahead of self, there is little likelihood that
will have any big problem with learning to love and understand
other. Why don’t you let Him have a chance in your life? Will it work?
What have you to lose by trying?
|Can A Marriage "On The Rocks" Be
| Satan knows that
the most sure way to keep YOU on his side is
to keep you asserting your rights, demanding everything YOU want, and
because you don’t have more than you do. He will do all he can to make
you proud of yourself and your own accomplishments and your
If you will take note, you will see that pride is a form of
self-indulgence and has caused more fights and wars than anything else.
It is also the cause of a great many of our heartaches and divorces.
to be free? Try asking Jesus Christ to run your life hereafter.
You say the example of Tom and Cathy wasn’t a serious
case of a marriage on the rocks? Perhaps not, but no matter how bitter
and long the arguments and fighting have been going on, and how much
has been generated, the most sure and secure method of finding a
happiness is to turn to Him who is Happiness Personified -- Jesus
So you took Christ as your Savior and Guide, and now your
husband is accusing you of an affair. You know you are not guilty. You
begin to get a panicky feeling. But if you have prayed and placed
so that the Holy Spirit can guide you, you will have the best chance
to always say and do the right thing to overcome. Then, if there is any
spark of real love, any possibility of reconciliation, you may be able
to get him (or her) to kneel with you in reverence before God to ask
guidance in your marriage from now on.
If the guilt is equal, or you now recognize that the problem
was largely caused by your own self-indulgence and selfishness,
whether you are going to be able tyo change yourself into a selfless
When you have tried and failed, kindly allow me to refer you to Him who
is UNselfishness Personified. He’s the Lord Jesus Christ. Though you
see Him with your natural eyes, He wants to walk with you and talk with
you and guide you through every one of life’s problems. As you talk to
Him in prayer, as though talking on a face to face basis with your
and best friend (who will never tell your secrets!), He will lead you
safe, sure paths.
The ONLY REAL WAY to a lasting reconciliation and a happy,
marriage is a Christ-centered life. Best of all, it’s free! All you
to do is believe the message of salvation and let the Holy Spirit
and convince you of your sin, then, “Repent, and be baptized every one
of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins and ye
receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” (Acts 2:38).
MARRIAGE: Delight or Disaster
| What if you
discover your spouse is practicing homosexuality?
First of all, do not be misled by the propaganda put out by their
that some people “were born that way.” If you ask the question so they
don’t suspect what you are getting at, you will not find a single
homosexual anywhere who is not that way because someone recruited him
her and used any slight difference, such as a nearly hairless man or a
hairy woman or a man with a high pitched voice or a woman with a deep
as a tool to convince him or her that really they should have been the
other sex. This is nothing but a phony argument from the pit of hell.
believe it for a minute! Homosexuality is a combination of a learned
sex appetite and, if practiced, soon leads to demon possession which
cannot be corrected by any doctor or psychiatrist, psychologist or
It can then ONLY be broken by the power of Almighty God.
Because of the likelihood of the homosexual contracting AIDS
or some other STD (Sexually Transmitted Disease), the spouse is
justified in that case to immediately halt marital relations with the
and to begin earnest prayer and to seek the guidance of a Godly
or marital counsellor. God still works miracles if we will believe Him
for them, but short of a miracle, that marriage is already dead and may
as well be buried.
© 1989 Up Way Publications
P. O. Box 1015
Kailua, HI 96734 U. S. A.
Copying, storage or retrieval by any means without the
of Samuel M. Smith or Up Way Publications is expressly forbidden,
for brief quotations in critical reviews.
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