Should Christians Separate: Part 2 of 3
What NOT to do
(0:00) This is the second part in our series of: “Should Christians Separate?” In the first section, we covered one of the reasons behind the question of: “Should a Christian separate?” One of the reasons is: a person is looking for a reason to separate. They’re looking in the Bible, or Scripture, or for another person to approve reasons they’ve already made up in their mind supporting: “I should separate.” (For more on that, be sure to see section one.)
This section focuses on reasons not to separate:
“My husband or my wife is wanting to leave, they’re wanting out of the marriage, and I don’t want them to leave, so I’m looking for reasons Christians should not separate so that I can share that with my husband or my wife to get them to stay…We’re both Christians, and maybe if I can appeal to my spouse in the sense of our religion and our beliefs, then it will convict them so much that they won’t want to leave, that they would feel too guilty to leave because they don’t want to live in sin, therefore I can get them to stay.”
First of all, if you start looking for Scriptures, or “Googling” all of the reasons God says to not separate, and shove those reasons in your spouse’s face, saying, “See, these are all the reasons God’s going to be mad/unhappy with you. Here’s all the reasons you’re going to be sinning if you leave me.”
How do you really think that’s going to play out? Do you think that all of a sudden they’re going to look at this information, and say, “You know what? You’re right. I shouldn’t, I can’t. I’m just going to stay.” Probably not..
More than anything, they’re probably going say, “I feel like you’re even trying to pressure me more, therefore, this is just more reason for me to leave.”
Or, in the small chance that they do look at that and they say, “You know what? You’re right. God doesn’t want me to do that,” then they are probably going to stay, but they don’t really want to. They’re going to stay and resent it. They’re going to stay, but your marriage is still going to be miserable.
Again, it’s never a good idea to take verses and try to shove them down your spouse’s throat and get them to do what you want them to do.
How to “Reach Out” to Your Spouse
Connect With Someone Trustworthy & Familiar
(2:52) You might be thinking, “Well, what am I supposed to do? Am I just hopeless here? Should I just allow myself my spouse to leave and for us to be separated? Is that what you’re saying to do?”
Not at all. I think there’s a better way to handle this, though.
Here’s my recommendation: reach out to someone who is either a good friend to your spouse, a pastor your spouse respects, or a mentor your spouse respects, likes, and has a relationship with.
Hear me out- it’s not someone that you have a relationship with. It’s someone your spouse has a relationship with.
Share Enough, but Not Too Much
Here is where it can become difficult. You want to make sure you don’t share too much with that person about your situation, so that your spouse gets angry with the fact that you’re talking about your marriage, separation, or things going on that they believe are private, but you also want to share enough with someone you trust so they understand what’s going on.
For example, I had a friend, and this was their situation:
His wife left, wanting to separate, and he did not want that to happen. He reached out to my husband, actually, because my husband was a trusted mentor and friend to him, but my husband didn’t know that man’s wife. I did. I was best friends with his wife, actually. We lived together in the same area when we traveled with my husband in the military. We were stationed together many times.
When he reached out to my husband and said, “Here’s what’s going on. I don’t want her to leave. I don’t want us to separate. What can I do? Will you reach out to her?”
The answer from my husband was, “No, I’m not going to reach out to her because I don’t have any influence over her. I don’t have any positive influence, I don’t have a relationship with her really. I want your marriage to be saved, but I don’t think I’m the right person.”
Instead, he contacted me and said, “Would you mind reaching out to her, seeing how’s she doing?”
Since I’m in this industry and I understand it, I knew not to share with her the things I heard about their relationship from her husband.
That was going to turn her off. Number one, she would become more angry with him. Number two, she would become defensive toward me (it would not make anything better).
As a Friend: How to Bring up the Conversation
I knew to start the conversation with just, “How’s life? How are you doing? Tell me about what is going on? How can I be there for you?” Then, when she organically brought up marriage troubles in conversation, I knew to NOT take sides. I did not let her convince me that he was evil or anything like that.
Being unbiased is hard because she’s a friend and he’s a friend, but the ultimate goal was the marriage.
As the Person in Need: How to Choose Who Talks to Your Spouse
(5:55) You might be saying, “Well, how can I make sure the marriage is the goal with whoever I talk to about talking to my spouse?”
You want to choose someone who’s wise, who has dealt with this “stuff” before, someone you trust.
Here’s how you ask them. It’s something as simple as:
“Hey, my husband and I are going through a difficult time right now, and there’s been some talks about possible separation, and I just want to know if you would be able to reach out to him, but don’t mention that I told you this. I would appreciate if you would keep what I’m telling you confidential, but if you would reach out to him and see if he might open up to you about it, and if you could encourage him to for us to work this out.”
Some Final Thoughts
You need to find someone who’s going to help you save the marriage, who believes that the marriage should be saved. That’s my recommendation. If you’re looking for reasons for your spouse to not leave, then I wouldn’t recommend picking a bunch of Scriptures and showing them in order to get them to stay.
Instead, I recommend that either you start by:
- Talking to your spouse
And, if that doesn’t work…
- Go to a trusted person to intervene on your behalf. In some circumstances, an actual intervention may be required. If there’s an addiction going on, if there’s something like that, then you may need an intervention.
(7:37) If you want more information on that, you can go to MarriageHelper.com and search the word intervention. We have resources for you on understanding what that is, and how to do one correctly and pull it off. If that’s something you need, we have that available for you.
If there’s anything we can do to help, contact us at MarriageHelper.com, or give us a call at 866-903-0990. Otherwise, check out section three for the third part of: “Should Christians Separate?” (Coming soon)