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How to Divorce-Proof Your Marriage: Reinforcing Relationships

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
February 14, 2022 3:00 am

How to Divorce-Proof Your Marriage: Reinforcing Relationships

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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February 14, 2022 3:00 am

Why is God so concerned about adultery? Because when a husband and wife stand and make commitments to each other, they’re also making a commitment to God. And the Lord takes our vows, our promises, very seriously. Today on A NEW BEGINNING, Pastor Greg Laurie explains how adultery unravels the very fabric of a marriage. But it doesn’t have to be end of the marriage. We’ll dig into God’s Word today in a message from Pastor Greg’s popular series, Home Sweet Home.

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A New Beginning is the daily half-hour program hosted by Greg Laurie, pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Southern California. For over 30 years, Pastor Greg and Harvest Ministries have endeavored to know God and make Him known through media and large-scale evangelism. This podcast is supported by the generosity of our Harvest Partners.

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You're listening to A New Beginning with Greg Laurie, a podcast made possible by Harvest Partners, helping people everywhere know God. Visit our website and learn more about Harvest Partners at

Don't forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel and click on the notification bell to be notified when new videos are available. Why is God so concerned about adultery? Because when a husband and wife stand and make commitments to each other, they're also making a commitment to God. And the Lord takes our vows, our promises, very seriously. Today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie explains how adultery unravels the very fabric of a marriage.

But it doesn't have to be the end of the marriage. We'll dig into God's Word today in a message from Pastor Greg's popular series, Home Sweet Home. This is the day, the day when life begins. And in the midst of this track of beautiful homes stood a home erect, almost in perfect condition, a little bit of smoke damage in the midst of all of these devastated, burned down homes. And so the press went out and thought, what on earth happened here? And they interviewed this man and they said, why did your house not burn down? His answer was, well, and I found this article fascinating. He says, we went beyond that which was required and made it even safer.

What did he do in particular? He had double pane windows, extra thick stucco walls, sealed eaves, concrete tile roof, and abundant insulation. So when the firefighters came they said, that's where we are going to make our stand. We are going to defend this house.

And it did stand. And I am going to ask everybody listening to this message right now, right at this moment, to make a stand for their marriage. And say, I am going to do everything I can to secure this marriage, to keep it strong, to keep it vibrant, to go the extra mile, not just give some token effort, but go the extra mile to keep my marriage thriving. And sadly every one of us listening to this message knows at least one couple, if not more, that have had their marriage devastated by adultery. Think of how many marriages would still be together today if this one sin was not committed. If America alone stopped committing this sin for a year it would change the face of our nation. How many families would still be together?

How many people would still be loving each other? And then this just gets passed on from generation to generation. And when you commit this sin it is going to catch up with you.

This is what people don't think about. I am going to be the exception and I am going to get away with it. And I will never be caught.

Not true. You will be caught. Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow. Maybe not five years from today. But ultimately the Bible says your sin will find you out.

It is going to catch up with you eventually. Why is it such a bad thing to go down this road? Well number one you do incredible damage to yourself. You damage yourself. The Bible even says that when you enter into a sexual union with a prostitute you effectively become one flesh with her. So when you say, well it was a one night stand and it didn't mean anything.

Actually it means a lot. Also you do incredible damage to your spouse. You damage that oneness. You damage that bond. It is a devastating sin.

Thirdly you do incredible damage to your children. They are going to find out. Maybe they are young and they don't know at first but later they will get it figured out.

Someone will tell them. And so often the sins of parents are repeated by children. The Bible speaks of the sins of the parents being visited on the children. That is not a description of some mystical generational curse.

Rather what that is saying is your kids will end up doing what you do. And we see this happening in the life of King David. Remember he fell into adultery with Bathsheba and his own children repeated his behavior. David's son Amnon raped his half-sister Tamar and Absalom murdered Amnon.

As the prophet Nathan said to David, the sword will never depart from your house. Here is another thing. When you commit the sin of adultery you do great damage to the church. The Scripture says when one member suffers the whole body suffers. We are all interconnected as believers. When one of us is exalted we are all exalted. When one of us falls we all are affected by it.

And a lot of times people don't think about this. But there is your testimony to a lost world. You have told them all about your faith in Christ and how much you love your spouse and then you go and commit this sin. And lastly you do great damage to the cause of Christ. After David fell into sin with Bathsheba the prophet Nathan said, Because you have done this you have given great opportunity for nonbelievers to blaspheme. Let's not give nonbelievers more ammo to use against us. And of course the worst thing of all is you sin against the Lord Himself.

Ok. So that brings us to our text. Matthew 19. And this is the most serious threat against the marriage today.

And that is divorce. Matthew 19 starting at verse 7. They said to Jesus, Why did Moses command to give a certificate of divorce and to put her away? He said to them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts permitted you. Notice the word permit.

They use the word command. He uses the word permit. He permitted you to divorce your wife from the beginning.

It was not so. And I say to you whoever divorces his wife except for sexual immorality and marries another commits adultery. And whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery.

We will stop there. Note again that they said commanded. Why did Moses command us to get a divorce? And Jesus said, Excuse me.

He never commanded. He permitted because of the hardness or the callousness of your heart. You see to protect a woman from the hardship of endeavoring to carry on in a home where she was unloved and unwanted because the man didn't understand the high ideal of marriage a clause was given. A release clause.

And what is the release clause? I think there are two reasons in Scripture that you can use to say we may have cause for divorce. Most divorces I have seen could have been avoided. Most marriages that are having conflicts that I have seen could have been restored.

But because of selfishness, a lack of communication, an unwillingness to commit themselves they were unwilling to go through with it and make the hard choices. But there are these two options in the Bible. Number one would be when immorality takes place. Back to verse 9 of Matthew 19. Anyone who divorces his wife except for sexual immorality and marries another commits adultery. That is not to say if adultery is committed divorce is mandatory or even recommended. Every effort should be made even if adultery has taken place to restore the marriage and examine the steps that led to the sin and apply some preventative measures. Because immorality is not only grounds for divorce. It is also grounds for forgiveness.

So there can be forgiveness. And I have seen marriages survive this. But there are some guys and sometimes girls too. Usually guys. I have to be honest.

Who are serial adulterers. I mean they just go from one thing to another thing to another thing. And there comes a point where a wife says, I can't take it anymore. And far be it for me to say, no you have to keep forgiving him forever. Now there can come a point where you can say, you know what you do have these grounds.

Pray about it. I would love to see restoration in your marriage somehow. But you actually do have a release clause given to you by Christ Himself. Now here is the second reason for divorce or second legitimate point that you can make and that is desertion.

Desertion. 1 Corinthians 7 13 says, if a Christian woman has a husband who is an unbeliever and he is willing to continue living with her she must not leave him. So first of all this addresses the idea of being married to a nonbeliever.

And many people find themselves in this situation. Maybe because they became a Christian after they were married. So now you are married to this nonbelieving guy or maybe a nonbelieving girl. Sometimes unfortunately Christians will go out and intentionally marry a nonbeliever and say, well I will lead him to Christ. Well maybe you will. And there is a good chance you won't. And then after you have been married for a year or so you are saying, wow I really made a mistake. And I just met this really cute Christian guy at church and the Lord spoke to my heart and He said to me, dump your heathen husband and marry the cute Christian guy.

No. God didn't say that. Well how do you know God didn't say it?

Because God said this. 1 Corinthians 7 13. If a Christian woman has a husband who is an unbeliever and he is willing to continue living with her she must not leave him. But then it goes on in 1 Corinthians 7 15. If the husband or wife who isn't a Christian insists on leaving let them go. In such cases the Christian husband or wife is not required to stay with them for God wants His children to live in peace. Ok.

So here is how this works. Let's say you are married to some person. We will take a guy as an example. And he just says, I am leaving you. And he walks away. He moves out of the house. He is living in another house. He is even living with another woman in another house.

But you are technically married still. So you are waiting. And a month goes by. And five months go by. And a year goes by. And you are waiting.

And you are being patient. And then you say, are you ever going to come back? He says, no I am never going to come back. So some well-meaning Christian might say, well just keep praying. No.

Here is what the Bible says. You have a release clause. Now you may want to keep praying.

And you may want to hang in there. And I have seen situations where that person came to their senses. And by the way in the King James it says, if the non-believing departs, I don't think this is really about if they claim to be a Christian or not. Because any man that walks out on his wife effectively to me is behaving as a non-believer.

In fact the Bible even says, if you don't provide for your family you are worse than a non-believer. So he may or she may to the point, and we are seeing this happen with women today now even, walking out on their husbands and even their children. And this is mind-blowing to me. Why Greg? We are all sinners.

I don't know. I just can't believe a mom would walk out on her children. We know guys are dogs and they have been doing it for years. But a mother who bore the children to walk out on them. That is just so shocking. But that is the time we are living in now. And we hear this thing happening.

There comes a point where you could say they are not coming back. And that verse says, God has called us to peace. And so you have grounds for divorce. You have biblical grounds. I never encourage divorce. I think as I said most divorces can be avoided.

But there are times when these release clauses can be utilized. Pastor Greg Laurie will have the second half of his message in just a moment. Emails, phone calls, and even text messages from listeners are so encouraging to us.

And they let us know the effectiveness of these studies. Hi Pastor Greg. I have listened to you for a decade now and have grown closer to God because of the way He speaks through you. I also listen to your podcasts in my free time and while driving. And your teaching through God's word has given me hope to work through my abusive childhood that carried me into adulthood. I am now married and my husband and I will listen together.

He serves in the army while I am in nursing school. It is a little silly but we sometimes spend quality time laying on the floor with our dog and listening to your messages. As a grown woman and wife, I also thoroughly enjoy listening to your wife Kathy speak. I can just see her love for God and others and I want to thank you both for providing such amazing resources for every stage of my life. We're so grateful to hear of the changed lives through Harvest Ministries. And if you have a story to tell of how these studies have touched your life, email Pastor Greg. Greg at Harvest dot org. That's Greg at Harvest dot org. Well Pastor Greg continues now with his presentation called How to Divorce Proof Your Marriage.

You can get a replay of the full study at Harvest dot org. Even when divorces happen that is not the end. I received a letter from one of our listeners to our radio broadcast A New Beginning.

She says, Dear Greg, I have been listening to your program for 15 years. I was struggling with a marriage that wasn't going very well. I have been married for 25 years but my husband and I got a divorce. However, I was listening to your marriage series and I was able to grow and be changed. And she writes, I learned to love my husband in a way I never knew possible and now we are married again for the past five years. So here was a family broken.

They got a divorce and they got remarried again. We need to divorce proof our marriages. So periodically you have got to step back and ask yourself the hard questions like husbands. Am I loving my wife as Christ loves the church? And wives am I respecting my husband and submitting to his servant leadership? And for both am I denying myself and putting the needs of my mate above my own? Sort of asking the question are there any flammable materials you have lying around in your relationship? You make your stand there. You stop and ask yourself is there any activity I am engaged in that is putting distance between my mate and myself?

Is there any relationship I have with any other person that is hurting this marriage? Why is this important? Because one day you are going to be old like me and before you know it life is going to be coming to an end. And you are going to be sitting in that rocking chair or in that retirement home or maybe on your death bed and you are going to reflect back on your life.

And I will tell you this much. When you look back across your life the big accomplishments are not going to be how much money you made or how well known you were. Those big accomplishments you are going to find are going to be your faith and your family. And you are going to think about your children and perhaps your grandchildren and even great-grandchildren.

And if you know on that day that you have been faithful to your spouse and you have had a marriage that has lasted a lifetime you are going to be one happy person. Because the regrets always come when we have neglected these areas. So let's take some preventative steps to keep our family strong. Here is a few closing points and then we are done.

Number one. Walk with God. This is the greatest thing you can do. Even above keeping your marriage strong just walk with God. If you are walking closely with the Lord you will have this relationship with Him and the resources you need to do what God has called you to do. Because there is no way I can love my wife as Christ loves the church without the help and filling of the Holy Spirit on a regular basis. And there is definitely no way that Kathy can submit to my leadership without the help of the Holy Spirit. So we need God's help.

We need to walk closely in His presence. You know David of course fell into sin with Bathsheba and I have mentioned him. It all started when there was a breakdown in his fellowship with the Lord. You know David was known for his closeness to God. His intimacy with God.

But that was neglected and then other things began to crowd into his life. So walk with God. Point number one.

Point number two. Walk with your spouse. Walk with your spouse. I mean literally walk with your spouse. Take walks together. Long leisurely walks. But even more spend time developing friendship and romance. Don't grow complacent. Enjoy each other's company. Spend time together.

Break away from your schedule and do that. I was talking with Kathy recently in this series. Remember we talked together. And she said one of the things I did early on in our marriage that she didn't like at the time was I said we need to just take a little time off. Just you and me.

Because she didn't want to leave the kids. But I said no we need to do this. Now she looks back on it and says I am glad we did it. And I would just periodically say we need a little break. Just you and me. Let's go somewhere. Let's do something. Even if it is for a day. Let's just you and me go. Let's put the stinking cell phones away and let's have conversations together and talk together and be together. And it doesn't even have to be an exotic or nice place. Just maybe a different place than you are normally in away from the pressures and demands if possible of your life. And just enjoy each other's company.

Number three. Don't walk in the counsel of the ungodly. So walk with God.

Walk with your spouse. Don't walk in the counsel of the ungodly. The wise person of someone it says of him or her.

Blessed is the man that walks not in the counsel of the ungodly or stands in the way of sinners or sits in the seat of the scornful but his delight is in the law of the Lord and in it does he meditate day and night. Don't walk in ungodly counsel. So needless to say this would speak of any kind of relationship with a member of the opposite sex especially if it has gotten a little bit flirty you know. Here is a little word of advice. Don't ever go to a member of the opposite sex for marital counseling you know.

A girl you work with. I am having problems with my marriage. Can you counsel me? What are you an idiot? That is almost like an invitation. Hey let's see what happens.

Now if it is your mother it is ok. You can talk to your mother. But you get my point. Don't walk in the counsel of the ungodly. If you know people that sort of encourage unfaithfulness or encourage illicit activity don't hang out with people like that. And finally count the cost. Remember some of the warnings we brought up. Those along with an intense love for God and your spouse will see you through the rough waters of sexual temptation.

Pay attention. There is a cost. You cross these lines and your marriage falls apart.

That is a heavy cost to pay. You don't want to go down that road. Now someone might say, well Greg I have gone down that road. Actually I have committed adultery or I am divorced. What about me?

Is life just over? No it isn't because we serve a God who gives second chances. You think of the story of that woman caught in the act of adultery. She was brought before a crowd of people who wanted to stone her. Jesus looked around and said, well let him that is without sin cast the first stone. And the Bible says, he wrote on the ground. Oh man I have always wanted to know what did he write on the ground. Do you think he was just doodling down there or something. No I think he was writing names.

Because it says, he looks at him and says, let him that is without sin cast the first stone. Then he wrote on the ground. And then he stood up and they started leaving from the oldest to the youngest. I think he probably put names. Caleb. Maybe commandment number three that he broke.

Or four, five, and six. Or maybe the word or something that that guy had done. And they left and all that was left was this woman. He says, woman where are your accusers? She says, I have to. He says, neither do I condemn thee. Go and sin no more.

But here is the key. He says, woman where are your accusers? She said, Lord I have none. She used the word Lord. So that woman who had been caught in adultery. Who had sinned.

At that moment recognized Jesus Christ as Lord and he forgave her. So if I will come to God and say, Lord I failed. I failed in this marriage. I failed in this choice. I failed in this other thing. And if you will turn from that sin he will forgive you of that.

And here is your marching orders now. Go and sin no more. Don't go and do it again.

No you can't change the past any more than you can unscramble an egg. But you can start today to say I am going to do the right thing from this moment forward. And some of you listening to this message right now may not have a relationship with God. Maybe you have never asked Jesus Christ to come into your life to be your Savior and Lord. And there are others of you that have known the Lord for years but you have had a lapse.

You have made a big mistake. You have sinned against God and you need to get rid of that sin and get right with the Lord. It was David after he sinned who said in Psalm 51, Against thee and thee only have I sinned and done this iniquity.

And then David said, Restore to me the joy of my salvation. God wants to forgive you. But you like that woman caught in the act of adultery need to acknowledge your sin and you need to acknowledge him as Lord. And you can be forgiven of everything you have done that is wrong and sinful before God.

And if you have never asked Christ to come into your life to be your Savior and Lord or if you need to make a recommitment to him you can do it right now. Let's all bow our heads and pray. Father I pray for any here that do not know you.

Help them to come to you and believe in you and find your forgiveness. In Jesus name I pray. Amen. Pastor Greg Laurie with an important prayer. And if you'd like to make a change in your relationship with the Lord today, Pastor Greg will help you do that in just a moment before today's edition of A New Beginning concludes.

Well, we're making available a unique book called Divine Disruption by Dr. Tony Evans. Many people are familiar with that name. And many also know that he has four adult children who are also all involved in ministry. And they co-authored this book along with him. The Evans family has suffered some terrible tragedies.

Eight family members passed away over the course of the last two years. Now, you know, we all experience some rain in our lives, problems and worries and crises. Sometimes it's even a downpour.

And sometimes it's a flood. And Pastor Greg, this new book Divine Disruption is from a family that survived a flood and grew through it. Isn't that right?

Yes, it is right. And you know, probably the most profound loss for Tony and his children was his wife going to be with the Lord, Lois. She was sick for quite a long time. And her faith was strong throughout her suffering and her sickness. But then she was called home to heaven. There's one quote in this book which says, We have one goal in this one short life we have on planet earth, do not lose focus, serve the purposes of God. Lois Evans did that. The rest of the Evans family is doing that.

Are you doing that? That's what we all should be doing, serving the purposes of God. You know, let me be honest, and I think you know this already, it's not a matter of if you're going to die, it's a matter of when. Death will come, but death is not the end for a Christian.

It's not the end of the road. The road continues on into the presence of God. Jesus said, I am the resurrection and the life, and he that believes in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live. And whosoever lives and believes in me shall never die.

Then he asked this question, do you believe this? I mean, really, if we believe life is short, we're going to want to live it well. We're going to want to live it for the glory of God. We don't want to waste our life. We don't want to waste our months and our weeks and our days.

We want to invest our life into honoring and serving God. So here's a book now that I want to offer you called Divine Disruption, written by Tony and his two sons and his two daughters, telling you how they dealt with losing their mother and other members of the family, how they dealt with it in faith. But it's also an honest book. It's candid.

They talk about the pain and the heartache that comes with losing someone that you love so much. So this is going to be a helpful book. It's going to be a hopeful book, and it's going to be an instructive book for many of you. And I want to send you a copy of Divine Disruption by Tony Evans and his family for your gift of any size. Whatever you send will be used to help us continue to preach the gospel and teach the word of God. So if you believe in what we're doing, please respond to this offer, and we'll rush you your copy of Divine Disruption.

Thanks in advance. Yeah, it's powerful encouragement for those times of serious challenge and heartache, and we hope you'll let us send this your way. Thank you for your generosity as you request this thank you gift, Divine Disruption by Dr. Tony Evans and his family. You can call us right now at 1-800-821-3300.

That's 1-800-821-3300. And you can make your donation and request online at And then, Pastor Greg, would you like to speak to those who would like to make a change today in their relationship with the Lord?

I would. You know, I received so many letters, Dave, from people from every walk of life, from successful businessmen to those who are incarcerated, to mothers struggling as they're trying to raise their children, to young boys and girls writing and saying they've made a commitment or a recommitment to Jesus, and maybe you need to make that commitment to Him right now. Let me lead you in a word of prayer.

Yes, you can meet God right now, and I would just ask you to pray this prayer out loud after me. And this is where you are asking Christ to come into your life. Pray with me now, if you would.

Lord Jesus, I know that I'm a sinner. I know that I've broken your commandments and I've fallen short of your standards, but I thank you that you have loved me and you have called me to yourself. So I turn from my sin right now, and I choose to believe in and follow you. Be my Savior, be my Lord, and be my God from this moment forward.

Thank you for calling me and loving me and accepting me. In Jesus' name I pray, amen. Hey, let me just say, God bless you, you've made the right decision, and welcome to the family of God. And we want to follow up with you by sending something called our New Believers Growth Packet to help you get started living as a Christian. We'll send it without charge if you prayed for the first time today to receive Christ. Just ask for the New Believers Growth Packet when you call 1-800-821-3300.

We are here to speak with you 24-7, and again that number 1-800-821-3300. Or go online to and click Know God. Well next time, Pastor Greg has the final message in this popular series called Home Sweet Home. More marriage advice straight from God's Word. Join us here on A New Beginning with pastor and Bible teacher, Greg Laurie. This is the day, the day when life begins. Hey everybody, thanks for listening to A New Beginning. This is a podcast made possible by Harvest Partners. So for more content that can help you know God and equip you to make Him known to others or to learn more about how you can become a Harvest Partner, just go to
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-06-05 02:13:55 / 2023-06-05 02:25:30 / 12

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