She stood looking at my wife and I tears running down her face and she asked a very common question, “Have I married the wrong person?” It was not a question that she ever thought she would ask but recent revelations into his character had revealed that he was not who he said he was. This was a very difficult moment in her life. Marriage was not something that she had misunderstood. She hadn’t jumped in and out of dozens of relationships. She knew that love was more than romance and feelings. It was a commitment that she had made before God. I knew the words that we said to her, just like the words of this article must be seasoned with truth and have a great deal of grace in them.
Maybe you have asked yourself that question. Maybe you are asking it now. You already know that marriage is more than a contract between two people. It is a covenant between three. It is between a woman, a man, and God. When you stand before a judge or a pastor and you take vows, God comes and enters that marriage and I believe something supernatural happens. Two become one. The scripture is plain in Mark 10:9 “Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.” Something amazing happens when you stand before God and get married and make that vow and consummate that marriage. God joins you together. It is something that is powerful and is not easy to tare apart. That is why this question is so serious. Have I married the wrong person is not a question one can answer lightly as God is involved in that marriage covenant.
This is what happens in marriage. There is the honeymoon phase. That can last a week or two or a month or two, or a year or two, or a decade or two. We get to know the real person. But eventually, how can I put it? Let me use a biblical metaphor today:
The fig leaves start falling off.
In the book of Genesis we have the account of the first marriage. Adam joyfully received his wife from God and they were enjoying their time in the garden of Eden. God would come down in the cool of the day and all was good. Genesis 2:25 “And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.” While I am certain that this refers to physical nakedness, I am even more certain that it refers to the fact that they each had nothing that they had to hide from the other. They were not ashamed of anything. No sin had touched them yet. They didn’t have to hide any part of themselves.
That is a picture of what God ultimately wants for marriages of today to be. A man knows his wife. A wife knows her husband. Not just the good side, but the negative side. Not just the “Hallelujah” side, but the “oh my” side. And the truth is that many married don’t really know each other completely like that. There usually isn’t enough transparency in conversation. There usually isn’t enough revealing of oneself to the other, because people, even married people have areas that need work. We are all imperfect. We all need grace. We all need forgiveness. None of us are 100 percent completely mature in each and every situation that arises.
Even Paul the apostle said in Philippians 3:12 “Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected…” So, the reality of every Christian marriage is that we are all married to people who are in the process of becoming like Christ. The truth in marriage is that we do exactly what Adam and Eve did. We cover up bits of ourselves so that we won’t be ashamed.
Do you remember Adam and Eve and what they did? Genesis 3:7 “Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings.” Adam and Eve tried to cover up. Marriages do that. We struggle to be vulnerable with each other. We hide certain aspects of our life from each other. The reason we do this is because being rejected is too painful. And no one wants to be hurt. So, we would rather hide behind our fig leave, and pretend that all is well. But as life goes on, guess what happens. We can’t maintain all the covering of certain aspects. The fig leave falls off. We find the real exposed. We find that real person becomes known.
And usually it is somewhere in that process that one spouse or the other asks themselves the question:
Have I married the wrong person?
Surely this couldn’t be the person God intended for me. Surely, I made a mistake, I chose wrong. I was deceived. I want a do over. I don’t want her anymore. I don’t want him anymore. Because now I see who they really are.
Don’t misunderstand me. God gives reasons for divorce. I don’t believe that everyone should stay in every single marriage. If someone is an adulterer. Especially a repeat adulterer. I don’t believe that biblicaly you need to stay in such a marriage. Because that is of the one reasons God gave for divorce. It hurts to be cheated on. Matthew 5:31-32 clearly says that “sexual immorality” is a grounds for divorce.
Nor does God approve of abuse. God doesn’t want anyone to be a punching bag. Malachi 2:15 NABRE says that God hates divorce and he also “the one who covers his garment with violence, says the Lord of hosts.” And there are probably some other things as well that are biblical reasons for separation or divorce. Abandonment. Hardness of Heart. All of those scriptures must be considered as you look at the question, have I married the wrong person?
But with all that being said, and all of that being understood. Maybe there is a different perspective. Perhaps God wants to do something truly amazing in your life. Is it possible that with understanding and repentance and forgiveness, God could pick up the pieces of a broken marriage and put them back together? This article in no means or way is attempting to shame or demean or hurt anyone who has been through divorce. God knows your pain. And God also knows that a marriage requires that two people work at it.
What do you do when the fig leave is off, and for the first time you see the real flawed sinful person? Maybe it was pornography. Maybe it was an affair. Maybe they lost the house payment gambling, again. Maybe they are lazy and won’t work. Maybe they have hurts, habits and hang-ups and they are driving you crazy. Everything within you will say, Have I married the wrong person?
Before you answer that, let me give you four things you need to consider
- Remember the vow you took before God.
This is not just anybody. This is your covenant partner. This is the one you fell in love with. This is the one you gave yourself to. Didn’t you say, for better or for worse? Today it seems like it is just for worse. But isn’t it possible God is up to something?
In no way do I diminish the hurt and pain anyone feels when asking this most painful question of have I married the wrong person. You are not flippantly asking that. It is coming out of pain. I am certain of that. I am not diminishing your pain or trying to control what you do. I simply want you to consider what God can do.
Here is what I am asking. What if you stayed? What if you held on to the courage to confront the issues.
I am not saying that any marriage should stick their head in the sand. I don’t think Christian marriages especially should do that. We are to speak the truth in love. So, what if you went ahead and confronted this head on? What if you prayed and believed? What if you stopped staying silent? What if you allowed the consequences instead of covering them up? What if you went to Celebrate Recovery? What is you tried counseling? What if you put their need for freedom ahead of yours?
Maybe you are the one that has broken your spouses heart. You feel guilt. You feel in bondage. I have good news for you. God is able to set you free. God is able to forgive. Why not work on yourself under God’s guidance until trust is rebuilt and God gets the glory?
Neither of you are the only ones who have walked this path. Seek out others. Talk to a pastor. Seek out a Christian mentor. Read some books. Do what you have to do. Don’t just lay down and give up on what could be good. Stand up and fight.
- Remember that God wants us to be holy before he wants us to be happy.
If God’s value was only happy, in the sovereignty of God he would have allowed that fig leaf to be left on. But God allowed it to be removed. It is not that he wants to expose our shame. It is that he wants us to get free of our shame, and get our sins properly covered and under the shed blood of Jesus.
I know, some of you are thinking. I would rather not have known. I wish I could just go back before it all hit the proverbial fan. May I remind you that this may just be a season in your life? Whether you are seeking to learn how to live free over addictions or whether you are seeking to live free from the effects of the one who is addicted. This may just be a season. It hurts to be sinned against. It hurts to face the fact that our lives are unmanageable.
But what if this season as difficult as it is, could become the greatest testimony in your life. What if you went after God and found his comfort? Is it not possible, that sometime in the future, some broken hurting person who is so much like you used to be will wander into your life? And guess what? You will know the way. You will know what to say, how to comfort, and have words of wisdom.
All of that would not happen, if God didn’t put us in this process of sanctifying us, setting us apart for Him and His service. Maybe the joy of those moments, or even the joy of knowing you did all you could, will outweigh the ongoing pain that you currently feel. Trust Him.
- Remember the fact that you too have sinned against a holy God.
You have to forgive because God has forgiven you! Besides, if you don’t you are chaining yourself to that offense forever. And all the enemy of your soul has to do is yank that chain and the pain will be there. Listen, God forgave you. You can’t be that one that says, I refuse to forgive. Forgiveness for believers isn’t optional.
When I say forgive, I don’t mean that you place yourself back in harm’s way. I don’t mean that you pretend like nothing ever happened to you. It is one thing to forgive someone, another to trust that person. Trust has to be earned. Study what the Word says about forgiveness.
Have I married the wrong person may not even be the right question to even ask. Maybe you need to ask, Am I willing to forgive the wrong the person has done toward me.
- Consider that you are in a perfect place to really minister to your spouse.
Have I married the wrong person? Look at it this way, maybe this is one of your assignments in life. To help her get free. To help him break lose. To be there to encourage your covenant partner. There is a strong chance that no one else will ever be in the place you are today. You can forgive. You can confront. You can help them repent. You can hold them accountable.
There is something beautiful that happened for Adam and Eve. God killed an animal and he clothed them. Genesis 3:21 “The Lord God made for the man and his wife garments of skin, with which he clothed them.” That animals blood foreshadowed the most precious blood ever spilt on planet earth. The shed blood of Jesus Christ.
I know that some think that all Adam and Eve had after being kicked out of the garden was pain. Adam working by the sweat of his brow. Eve having pain in childbirth. But I see something different in Adam and Eve. As they looked at one another in that first marriage. Both knew the other wasn’t perfect. They knew what they had done. Where they once felt shame, they didn’t anymore. Why? They were covered. They never had to worry about the fig leaf coming off. It was under the blood.
I know marriages that have survived horrendous spiritual storms. Fig leaves went flying. Everything was exposed, but the blood of the perfect lamb provided a covering. And after the tears, and after the repentance and after the pain, they found perfect hope.
Have I married the wrong person? I won’t attempt to answer that question for you. I will tell you that God can take a “wrong” person and a “wronged” person, and change their hearts.