Overview: This is Myth 15 of 27 Myths about divorce that aren't likely to be true of committed Christians who love God and take their faith seriously. These messages make us worry if we're pleasing God. They make us second-guess ourselves when we try to get ourselves and our children to safety. Many of us have heard these messages all our lives and wanted to avoid them.  So although these myths may be true for people who are selfish or immature, they aren't true for a person who invested their heart and soul into the relationship, even when the other person didn't.  See all the myths on one page. See the next myth.

MYTH: This myth says God will heal your marriage if you pray enough.

TRUTH: God does not promise to heal all marriages in answer to our prayers. Sometimes, he answers our prayers by helping us get out of a marriage when it turns dangerous.


Many women have been influenced by a Christian book called Lies Women Believe,[1] in which the author makes this comment: “There is no marriage God cannot heal. There is no person God cannot change.”[2]

The author’s statement is partially true: God can do anything! Nothing is too big for God. God is a powerful God. But that’s not the message she is giving.

Her real message is that if you are hurt by your spouse and justify your decision to divorce, you have a hard heart and you’ve “fallen into the Deceiver’s trap and have been ensnared by his deception.”  (If you don’t believe me, see it in context.)

nancy leigh demoss wolgumuth excerpt p 159
This clearly doesn’t apply to the woman who are being abused or cheated on. A woman who stays, prays, and tries harder has already proven her dedication to her marriage over and over. Wives who have tried for a long time, in the face of constant betrayal, do not have a hard heart. Their husbands do. These wives did not fall into the Deceiver’s trap. Their husbands did. (See this story as an example.)

Does God heal some marriages? 

Of course! We see some marriages improve. Some spouses do get better at communicating and working in tandem. But anyone who has been in ministry for years know how rare it is for a serial adulterer to change.

If you are like me, you believe in a God of miracles. I’ve seen miracles. My own mother had a miraculous healing when I was a teenager.

But the implication that God will heal every time if you are faithful enough is wrong.

    • God can—but does not—heal all cancer.
    • God can—but does not—heal all car accident injuries.
    • God can—but does not—heal all childhood birth defects.
    • God can—but does not—keep everyone from dying.

Will God Magically Fix My Marriage?

My parents had elderly friends at our church who were an amazing, born-again Christian couple. They were loving and volunteered for everything at church. They were loving believers and were devoted to prayer. They were wonderful models of Christian living and sacrificed their time and effort for others. They had no children, so they gave all their money to Christian causes.

The husband got very ill, and the church gathered to pray for him. The pastor and elders laid hands on him. The couple traveled to a revival where a faith healer invited people to come forward for healing.

Many people claimed to be cured, but our elderly friend wasn’t. They were told they didn’t have enough faith, that there must be hidden sin, and they hadn’t given enough money.

They were devastated and wondered what they did wrong.

They prayed, examined their lives, and went over and over to the revival meetings, but he still wasn’t healed. It was painful to watch this devout couple beating themselves up.

This story shows a toxic misunderstanding of God and his power, and it’s a shame these dear saints suffered from this false teaching.

In John 9, Jesus corrected this lie. His disciples asked him why a certain man had been born blind. Was it because of the man’s sin, or his parents’ sin? Jesus said, “Neither.”

Some troubles that afflict us and some challenges that we face are not punishments for our sin that God will remove and heal as soon as we repent. The entire book of Job also addresses this question. Job was accused by his friends of having some secret sin, but he maintained his innocence. In the end of the book, God tells Job’s judgmental buddies that they were wrong (Job 42:7-9).

The Prosperity Gospel and Marriage

In the story above, I showed the difference between Jesus’ teachings and the prosperity gospel mindset.

The False Logic of the Prosperity Gospel:

  • God blesses all people who are good.
  • God curses all people who are bad.
  • God’s sign of blessing is a loving marriage, money, and health.
  • If you do not have a good marriage, money, and health, you must be a bad person (even if you think you are good).

Jesus rejected this false belief. He taught that bad things happened to good people. The Bible says that God “sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous” (Matthew 5:45, NIV). Sure, there is a principle of reaping and sowing, but that doesn’t mean only good people get rich, and only bad, lazy people get poor. We all know godly people who are poor and evil people who are rich.

Just because some people say they were healed doesn’t mean all people will be healed. Don’t be like the false faith healers who say you’re doing something wrong if God doesn’t heal your marriage right now.

SUMMARY

  1. God doesn’t bless every righteous person with a loving marriage, good health, much wealth.
  2. Jesus said, “Rain falls on the righteous and the unrighteous.” (Mt 5:45).
  3. Your bad marriage may not be evidence of your lack of faith or your sin.
  4. Bad things happen. And Jesus didn’t connect the blind man’s condition to his or his parents’ sin in John 9.
  5. We are not to stay in danger and demand that God save us. Remember the Temptation of Christ in the wilderness? Satan wanted Jesus to jump off the pinnacle of the Temple. Jesus said, no, that demanding miracles is tempting the Lord our God, and is prohibited (Mt 4:5-7).
  6. We can walk away from a destructive marriage to save our life and sanity. It is not sin. It is not evidence of “falling into the Deceiver’s trap.” It is listening to our God-given sense of self-preservation.

 

Unanswered prayers may not mean you don’t have faith in God. You just don’t have the answers yet. Pray for clarity rather than the outcome you wish. Sometimes we pray for something good and godly (like the restoration of our marriage) but God doesn't give it. God will not force your spouse to become loving, safe, and responsible. The Lord has been calling your spouse every day for a long time to turn from sin and follow him. It may be that the Lord is calling you to a new path, and is building in you the strength and ability to walk it.

 


Footnotes:

[1] Nancy Leigh DeMoss, Lies Women Believe (Chicago: Moody Publishers, 2001).

[2] Ibid., 159.


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