I desperately need your help because of the danger of divorce. How can I help a married couple that is on its way to divorce court? The couple is recently married and they are already thinking about a divorce. I know that this is terrible in the eyes of God. The wife is also pregnant. How can I counsel them spiritually in this situation? Thank you for your anticipated help.
The first and most important thing that you can do for this couple is to pray for them and their marriage. Also, if you are able, set aside a day of fasting for their situation. There are few more things that can be done to help reconcile this terrible situation.
1. Be sure that you are able to counsel them correctly
In order to advise the couple correctly, helping them avoid the disastrous decision to divorce, you need to have more than just a strong desire. You need to have a deep knowledge of the teachings of the Bible and the wisdom to apply those teachings correctly. The epistle to the Galatians advises the following:
Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. (Galatians 6:1)
People who want to get a divorce (it is evident that they have been caught up in one sin or another), need someone who is spiritual to restore them. Therefore, be sure that you can help instead of make the situation worse. If you are not spiritual enough to do it then . . .
2. Invite a minister to help resolve this delicate situation
I am not sure how open this couple would be to receiving help from a third party, such as a minister, but if they are, then invite a pastor to another minister whom you know to help resolve this problem.
3. Visit the couple
Seeing things from a distance will not help you resolve the problem. It would be good to visit them, especially if they are close friends of yours so that you can understand the situation better. A visit from you may help to eliminate some of the tension in their family. Do all that you can to help them by visiting and spending quality time with them.
4. Listen carefully before giving advice
Usually, in situations such as this, a person who intervenes to help ends up taking one side or the other without really listening to both sides of the story. Do not be quick to take sides in the situation. Instead, listen carefully to both partners. Be patient so that you can discover the root of the problems in the marriage which is leading this couple to divorce court. If you begin to take sides and defend one side or the other then you may end up having the other partner ignore you, or worse, hate you and then he/she will not want to take any advice from you.
5. Discuss with the husband individually and the wife individually
Look for a chance to have a discussion with each partner, separately. This confidential discussion will help you see things clearly from both sides and this way they may be more willing to speak openly. You will be able to advise each one so that they can work out their problems.
6. Begin studying the Bible together (with them)
The Word of God is the only thing that can give the necessary wisdom to this couple so that they can make the right decisions and save their marriage by living according to God’s will and treating each other properly. I advise you to study the Bible study manual written by Kay Arthur called “Marriage without Regrets”. This is an exceptional Bible study which addresses all of the major aspects of a happy marriage. It would be great if you could encourage them to study this course together with you. If studied and applied, this course will radically transform their marriage.
7. Do not give up
If you start seeing positive changes in the couple’s marriage and they are restored, do not think that you are finished and all is well. They can still fall into temptation, sin, and ultimately find themselves on the brink of divorce once again. Seek to maintain a good, close relationship with this couple so that when the need arises, you will be able to advise and help.
Translation by: Erik Brewer