Waste of Divorce

Joe PoteToday we are excited to have fellow blogger, Joe Pote of Redeemed as our guest and host of Wedded Wednesday! Joe writes on all sorts of spiritual and biblical topics but often fleshes out biblical insights that are sometimes confusing or unclear surrounding divorce.

Joe also has a new book, So You are a Believer … Who has been through Divorce … Check it out at the link as well as below! Joe is generously giving away three copies of his book and all you have to do to enter is comment on this post by Thursday, Jan. 16th before midnight (CST).

Waste of DivorceI {Joe} frequently hear people express the post-divorce regret of waste. Wasted years, wasted love, wasted effort, wasted prayers, wasted emotional investment…seemingly, all for naught.

Prior to divorce, many people invest several years in their marriage relationship. As they encounter issues, they work harder, pray more fervently, and seek counsel, all with the goal of healing and improving their marriage relationship.

If all the hard work results in a healthy marriage relationship, it’s counted a wise investment. But when it doesn’t work out…when we invest that much of ourselves into a relationship, over several years, and it all ends in divorce…it seems SUCH A WASTE!

In a recent blog comment, one lady said:

You have no idea–well, maybe you do–to feel guilty about loving someone because that someone you loved did what they did and completely rejected and threw away the best you had to give–to sum up a significant portion of your life with the words “bad choice”…

Another lady in a recent e-mail said:

I grieve for the godly marriage that I never had, for the cruelty, adultery, rejection and wasted years I endured in my marriage … I grieve for the loss of my house and having to start again in mid-life.

I completely understand!

I’ve been there…seventeen years in an abusive marriage … seventeen years of loving, praying, hoping, caring, believing … of giving all my heart and soul … all to end in divorce.

“God,” I cried, “Why?  What was the use?  Why did you give me such a strong vision for a godly marriage and a united family?  Why did you let me relentlessly pursue that vision for so many years, if it was just going to end in divorce?”

But, you see, that’s where I was mistaken. The divorce was not the end. Yes, it was the end of that marriage and of that relationship, but it was far from the end of the story!

In Matthew 25:40, Jesus, speaking of the coming judgment, says to the true believers,

“Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.”

God calls us to love people; to love deeply; to love sacrificially; to lay down our lives for one another.

Jesus promises that, when His children love sacrificially, He accepts all that we do as being done for Him!

Think about it! As believers in Christ, our greatest and deepest covenant is with God. Our most enduring covenant partner says that all the love we lavish on others, all the work, all the prayers, all the effort, He accepts as being given to Him!

For the believer in Christ, there is no such thing as wasted love or wasted effort.

Every gift you gave to your former spouse, Christ accepts as a gift given to Him. Every time you chose to set aside your own pride, or your own needs, for the sake of your marriage partner, Jesus accepts as you having made a sacrificial decision for Him. Every tear you shed, Jesus has stored in a bottle (Psalm 56:8). Every prayer you prayed, Jesus accepts as your heart being poured out to Him, in love. And He promises to lavishly pour out His love on you, for all eternity!

All that effort in your previous marriage was not wasted at all. It was a heartfelt offering to your eternal covenant partner, Jesus Christ!

What a Redeemer!

 

What event in your life has left you grieving the wasted effort?

 

THUMBNAIL_IMAGEEven though Messy Marriage is a blog about marriage, very often divorce is unavoidable. Also, many of you who’ve divorced and remarried, may find this book to be a great help in sorting out any fears, regrets or misunderstandings you may have about that painful choice. Joe’s book will help clear out the clutter for you and give you biblical “handles” for dealing with the lingering doubts you may have.

As I mentioned earlier, Joe’s book will be given away to three winners who comment on this guest post. Even if you’re not divorced, you might want to give this as a gift to a friend who is, so be sure to enter to win today! Deadline for commenting and entering is Thursday, Jan. 16th at midnight (CST).

 

**********************

Congratulations to the winners – Brandee Shafer, Rick Dawson, and Kim Adams Morgan! Thanks to all of you for participating and encouraging Joe while he’s been our guest and host this Wedded Wednesday!

Joining with  Works for Me Wednesday, To Love Honor and Vacuum, Whimsical Wednesday and Wholehearted Wednesday

 

Now it’s time  for Wedded Wednesday!

 

WW rules:

Write in any way you feel inspired about marriage, parenthood or anything that is spiritually encouraging.

  1. Enter in a permalink directly to your blog post and not the main URL to your blog.
  2. Be sure to include a link to Wedded Wednesday or add the WW button (code is in MM’s footer) to your current blog post and/or sidebar.
  3. Visit and comment on at least one other person’s blog that’s linked up here.
  4. Please no offensive or inappropriate content or sexually explicit images!

Optional but encouraged:

  1. Consider setting up your Gravatar profile and Disqus Profile with a link to your blog … it makes it so much easier for all of us to find those of you who blog!
  2. If you have the time, visit those who visit your blog and comment at their place as well … sort of a “Say it forward.”

Come join our Wednesday Link-up!

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  • Andrew Budek-Schmeisser

    We went through divorce – initiated by me. When I realized what I had done I chose to enter intensive therapy, and a year later, we remarried.

    Much was lost, at least at first, though. We had to rebuild the sense of joy and innocence with which we started our life together, and though it seemed as if that could never be regained – it was.

    We had to choose the fresh start, and to say no to the concept of waste.

    In recent years my academic career was destroyed (under circumstances I can’t discuss, as my employer settled out of court), and I was tempted to consider the whole PhD thing as a waste. I don’t do any of that work any more.

    But it positioned Barbara to embark on a good job which is turning into a great career.

    It positioned us to save Bella the Wheelchair Dog from drowning, broken-backed, in a ditch.

    It positioned me to write a blog that seems to be touching people’s hearts, something I never thought possible.

    Not a waste. A dislocation, a mid-course correction, wind shear…but not a waste.

    http://blessed-are-the-pure-of-heart.blogspot.com/

    • JosephPote

      “Not a waste. A dislocation, a mid-course correction, wind shear…but not a waste.”
      I love it, Andrew!
      Yes, life seldom goes the direction we expect,but God doesn’t waste any of our experiences along the way. If we are His, then they are all used to further His purpose in our lives.
      Thanks for sharing!

  • I love this, love is never a waste. I enjoy this perspective and I know this book will bless the many grieving hearts that have been through divorce and free them to begin living purposefully again. Thanks Joseph, and thanks Beth for sharing this with us. Have a super blessed day!

    • JosephPote

      “I love this, love is never a waste.”
      I cannot express how much that blessed me the day God poured it into my heart! To sense my Savior thanking ME for my love expressed in what I had considered a waste…WOW!
      Thank you, Ugochi! Love your words!

  • Andrew Budek-Schmeisser

    Beth – I linked my blog for today, “Vaccine for Infidelity”, to Wedded Wednesday. Didn’t know how to use the code so I pasted in the image-thingy and made it a link. Seems to work…

    And here’s the link to the specific post –

    http://blessed-are-the-pure-of-heart.blogspot.com/2014/01/a-vaccine-for-infidelity.html

  • Nan

    I love the comment that love is never a waste. Amen! God redeems the time! Thanks for hosting today.

    • JosephPote

      Yes, in God’s economy, love is always treasured…ALWAYS!
      Thank you, Nan!

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  • Jamie Gunning

    In the past year I have been divorced. It was initiated by me, but after 4 weeks I asked to turn it around and see if we couldn’t mend the situation. He said no. 15 year relationship gone in just one month and the divorce moved forward. We have 5 children together. I am at the stage of extreme guilt as this all started by my poor choices and I was too late to hear warnings. I struggle the most with how short of a time he brushed our marriage under the rug and moved on to someone else. That is where I see my efforts as a waste. Your article is provoking new thoughts on that. I see your point, but it is a hard concept to grasp. More time in prayer and meditating on these verses would definitely be required on my part. Maybe there hasn’t been enough time to pass to process it all just yet. Thank you for your contribution to this sticking subject. I imagine there are many people that struggle with this in silence.

    • JosephPote

      Jamie – That is such a hard place to be! That first year after divorce, I remember feeling so off-balance and unsure of myself, in so many areas!
      And, yes, having grace for ourselves is sometimes the hardest. Somehow, it’s easier to have grace for someone else’s mistakes, but we tend to second-guess our own decisions over and over.
      For myself, I have learned to make The Serenity Prayer a constant companion…praying always that God will grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the Courage to change the things I can, and (most especially) the Wisdom to know the difference.
      Praying for you, this morning, that God will fill you with wisdom, grace and love, along with an extra measure of His inexplicable peace!

  • JViola79

    Beautiful post! Nothing is ever wasted. God Himself will use everything that occurs in our lives for His purposes – in our lives & in the lives of others. Thank you for sharing.

    • JosephPote

      “God Himself will use everything that occurs in our lives for His purposes – in our lives & in the lives of others.”
      Yes! Whatever we give to Him, He uses…no matter how riddled with mistakes…
      Thank you!

  • Kim Adams Morgan

    Joe, beautiful thoughts here. It is unfortunate that divorce often comes with marriage sometimes. But I also agree that love is never a waste. If we give ourselves freely, God can do miracles with it. We are the vehicle! Blessings to you and to Beth.

    • JosephPote

      Yes, divorce is about as far off track as one can get from our visions and goals going into a marriage. And, having experienced it, I can honestly say I would not wish the pain of a failed marriage on even my worst enemy.
      And yet…I can also honestly say that what God taught me thru that experience, I would not trade for anything. I learned more of His love and faithfulness…more of His grace…more of His heart…through that experience than I could have ever learned if life had followed my expectations.
      We truly can trust Him to work all things to the good of those who love Him…who are called according to His purpose!
      Blessings to you, Kim!

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  • Anna Owens

    Wow…what a timely post. My husband of 16 (almost 17) years is moving out of our home as we speak. He has decided we have too many problems and wants to separate. I love my husband dearly & don’t want this, but it’s in God’s hands. I don’t know what’s going to happen. I pray we can reconcile. I believe that is God’s will. But, again – it’s out of my hands.

    • JosephPote

      Oh, Anna! That is such a hard place to be! My heart goes out to you.
      I’ve experienced separation, reconciliation, and divorce. Each one will wring you inside out! Anyone who says divorce is the easy out hasn’t lived it. They’re all hard!
      But God is faithful! He will walk with you every step of the way. Lean into Him, call on Him, listen to Him, and trust His love for you. And, in the end, He will turn your mourning into dancing…and bless you in ways you never expected!
      I’m praying for you, this morning. Blessings to you in this journey!

    • Dear Anna…my heart goes out to you as I remember what that feels like. And it was awful! Keep trusting God and being obedient. God will make a way through the darkness. Praying with you that both your and your husband’s hearts will reunite as one to serve the One who created marriage. Be open to all that God will teach you during this season and never forget He is the lover of your soul and your Maker is your husband. Blessings of peace and love with hugs…

  • Michelle

    This is such a timely post. God knew I needed to read this today. Oftentimes, we find ourselves doubting our decision of divorce and truly thinking…’did I do enough’. I was married for 13years, it started with issues but we forged on, it increased with emotional and abusive behavior but we forged on because we were both Christians and what would the church think if I decided to call it quits! I went through divorce care after I chose to end the marriage because the last straw was yet another episode of physical violence this time in front of my children. Asking for forgiveness was not enough because God finally removed the lies the enemy had told me for so long. Today, I’m Re-married to a godly man, I have a higher understanding of a biblical marriage yet the enemy attacks my thoughts as if I learned nothing. What can I do going forward and as Christians? how do we realize that although that marriage ended there is still life after divorce and joy comes from knowing that you are covered by the alghmighity?! Thank you for this post it truly honed in my heart today.

    • Oh Michelle…I so hear your heart and can relate. And the enemy of our souls loves to taunt us with reminders bringing guilt yet God has said there is no condemnation. I too am remarried to a very godly man — an unexpected gift from God — and when lies swirl or in our case when someone from our past hurls accusations ugly — what we do is remind ourselves that God has said FORGET the former things, behold I make all things new. Nothing will ever change one minute of my past or my Michael’s and our pasts include our own sinfulness and poor choices. But we have a choice to live intentionally in these precious moments of now, thankful for the loving marriage we share and choosing to be a blessing to all by honoring God greatly with thankful hearts. I hope my humble thoughts add perspective to your heart’s dilemma, bringing peace and a new freedom to joy in what God has given you in the now. Blessings…

      • Michelle

        TThank you for your worss Sheila! I heard your heart through your reply! Thank you for your encouragement and I pray continued blessings to uou aswell.

    • JosephPote

      Michelle – It is so easy to let the enemy condemn us…and so easy to run in circles second-guessing ourselves with what-if’s…

      There are several ways the Holy Spirit has ministered to me in this area. One is in helping me to have grace for myself. To realize that it’s okay that I’m not perfect…that’s God’s plan for my life does not rely on my perfection.

      Another is the realization that with God there is no Plan B. He has only one plan for my life, and the divorce did not throw off His plan. He knew how and when that marriage would end, even before the vows were said. The divorce did not catch Him by surprise. For all who are believers in Christ, actively seeking to follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we can be assured that our lives are on course for His plan. More on this, here: http://josephjpote.com/2012/08/missed-gods-plan/

      I’m praying God’s blessing over your life, that the Holy Spirit will comfort you and envelope you in His love.

      • Michelle

        Joseph thank you for your guidelines and encouragement. I needes to be reminded of that aswell. Thank you amd may God continue to be a great blessing to you.

  • Hello Joe…what a nice surprise to see you here this morning at Beth’s. After years of standing in faith for my first marriage to be healed — as the divorce papers were signed my biggest grief, or perhaps complaint, was WHY GOD? Your spin on the time we invest to save our marriages is so positive and I had never looked at as a way of giving good things to Christ. Another blessed result from all that “wasted time and effort” is through it all our great God who hates divorce was teaching us about love and shaping our character to be more like Jesus.Thanks for sharing!

    • JosephPote

      Yes, that WHY can be so hard to get past, can’t it?

      Yet God is so clear, both in His word and in my experience…He works ALL things to our good!

  • bluecottonmemory

    This can be applied to so many many relationships right now. I have been praying for God to show me how to love and let go of the repetitive hurt – and this just kind of opens a door wide open: ” all the love we lavish on others, all the work, all the prayers, all the effort, He accepts as being given to Him!”. Thanks Joe for sharing your perspective!!!!

    • JosephPote

      Smiling with you, here! 🙂
      Yes, it applies to so many relaitonships and to so many ministry opportunities. I can truly put my whole heart into loving someone else, because I know Jesus accepts it all as being done for Him!
      It doesn’t matter if my love is rejected by others…because it is accepted by the One who matters most!

  • Sometimes I feel like my years with my first husband are “wasted memories” because I either (a) don’t want to recall them–even the good ones, or (b) I feel it’d be disrespectful to my wonderful second husband to ever bring them up. So I block them out. Never quite figured that one out…

    Joe has always been a great encourager to me that God redeems divorce just like he can redeem any other pain in our life. It’s always nice to hear that our first marriages were not a waste! Love this post. Thanks, Beth, for hosting Joe here today.

    • JosephPote

      I always so enjoy your wise words of encouragement, Lisa! 🙂
      Yes, I have a similar struggle in recalling memories from my first marriage. There were so many lies! Yes, there were lots of fun times and good memories…but then there is the later realization of the lies…and that the joy was based on a lie. It is hard to think of those times without a sense of pain and loss.
      But then, I don’t want to cut myself off from memories of my sweet children growing up. So, I’ve begun learning to press thru to remembering in a positive light…yes with a sense of the associated sorrow…but also with a sense of His love and redemption.
      Thank you, Lisa!

  • Joe, my first marriage lasted almost 23 years, and not one moment of that time was wasted. My attitude towards that time – where both of us made mistakes, both were unfaithful – is that we were both broken, but I was not listening to God (or man) about what to do, what to change.

    I’ve been remarried to a wonder-full woman now for 15 years. My ex and I are better friends now than we were during the time we were married – and my present wife and my ex get along nicely. Our three sons? Couldn’t have asked for better (of course, I might be a *little* biased there… 🙂 )

    If I am willing to look hard, there are things to learn about how God redeems and restores, and that is never a waste.

    • JosephPote

      “If I am willing to look hard, there are things to learn about how God redeems and restores, and that is never a waste.”
      Absolutely!
      Thanks for sharing this perspective, Rick!

  • I dont regret a single moment I had, Even though my wife walked away in a Prodigal huff, I still look back on those years as blessed, I got to spend years working toward something that honored God — and for most of those years, we did. It was not a waste, and altho it ended poorly, its not THE end,

    • JosephPote

      That’s a good way of looking at it, David.

      What is considered waste and what is considered precious is quite different viewed from a perspective of faith and eternity, rather than from a temporal perspective.

      Thank you!

  • Joe, I just want to thank you for hosting and sharing your wise and biblical thoughts with us on this painful and often confusing subject. There are so many who carry a burden of guilt and regret after a divorce and it’s a great reminder that everything we do in Jesus’ name is not forgotten or for nothing. I just read today in Luke about how God knows how many hairs we have on our head–similar to your “tears” verse that reminds us God is in the details, whether we realize it or not! Oh, and don’t include me in the giveaway! I just wanted to thank you for being our guest and host!

    • JosephPote

      Thank YOU, Beth, for sharing your blog community with me. It’s been a pleasure interacting with such a great group!
      Yes, God really is in the details…often in ways we can only see in hindsight, but He is there!

  • Mia

    Dear Joe and Beth
    Oh, delighted to find you at the place of the gracious Beth! I was in an abusive marriage for about 24 years. My husband verbally abused me and neglected me physically and emotionally. But then we both met Jesus and I honored to say that we have never been happier. We are celebrating our 28th anniversary this year. I have found that the greatest mistake I made in my marriage was to look to my husband to give me what only God can give.
    Blessings XX
    Mia

    • JosephPote

      What an amazing testimony of God’s saving grace, Mia! It is uncommon for an abusive relationship to be turned around to become a healthy relationship.
      Thank you, for sharing your story!
      Blessings to you!

  • I am walking along side my niece who is going through a brutal divorce ….well aren’t they all…it is so hard right now for her to see anything redemptive…I know time will help her vision and heal her heart…If I win the book…I am passing it on to her…Beth thanks for having Joe here…and thanks Joe for letting God teach you through those dark years. blessing and grace to you both

    • JosephPote

      I am so thankful God was with me and teaching me during that time. I’m not sure how I’d have coped, otherwise. He is such a faithful friend!
      I’m praying for your niece, this evening, that God will encourage and strengthen her, and that He will use this experience to bring about His plan for her life that He has predestined for her from before the foundation of the world (reference Ephesians 1:3-6).

  • smoothstones

    What a beautiful perspective, Joe. I appreciate these words so much and agree: trying matters even when the marriage fails.

    • JosephPote

      “trying matters even when the marriage fails.”
      That’s a good way of putting it…it really does matter…greatly! Love always matters!
      Thank you, for that perspective, Brandee!

  • Mary

    I loved this post today! It resonated so deeply with me being a divorced woman. I have not thought of my 21 years of marriage as being a waste. I have two amazing sons as a result of the marriage and I actually am still learning so much about marriage even after being divorced. The beauty is all that God has taught me. Your words stating that our deepest and greatest covenant is with God are so true and such a great reminder who is our center. Thank you for these wonderful words! Blessings, Mary!

    • JosephPote

      “The beauty is all that God has taught me.”
      Yes! He is so faithful to use everything to teach us more of His heart of love toward us.
      Thank you for sharing that, Mary!

  • What a great perspective Joe. And i think it has deep lessons even for marrieds because when we understand Who we are serving, who our lives are being poured out for (God), it will take our marriages to a different level. Thank you for sharing, it has blessed me.

    • JosephPote

      “… it has deep lessons even for marrieds because when we understand Who we are serving, who our lives are being poured out for (God), it will take our marriages to a different level.”
      That’s a very good point, Ngina, and I completely agree. Anytime we are in a position to serve others, whether within a marriage, as part of a ministry, or simply being a good friend, if we do it with the view that we are serving Christ it makes all the difference. The response (or lack thereof) of the person we are seeking to serve becomes less relevant, because we know that Jesus loves us and appreciates our service to Him.
      And, in making us less reliant on the other person’s reponse, we also become less dependent on the relationship. That also allows for a healthier relationship with more opportunity for transparent conflict resolution.
      Excellent point! Thanks for sharing it.

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