“Why me?,” was the question I posed to my brother when I broke the news to him about my impending divorce. I was not a perfect spouse, but I was completely committed to my marriage–for life. I really tried so hard to be a loving and faithful spouse. So, why did my marriage end up in the trash heap? Where did I go wrong? What could I have done differently? Where the heck was God in all of this mess?
I wrestled mightily with those, and many other questions, as my divorce moved toward its fateful conclusion. I kept replaying my marriage over and over in my mind searching for answers, trying to identify that one domino that caused the rest to fall. I kept going in circles, getting nowhere. I brought my struggle to my counselor, and she helped me understand the concept of free will. She explained that God gives each of us free will as a gift. It is what makes us fully human. Without it, we are simply puppets on God’s string, never fully accountable for our actions. God loves us so much that He sets us free to make our own choices. He lovingly hopes that we use this free will to choose to love Him in return. Sometimes we do, and too often we don’t.
Our spouses have free will as well, and sometimes they use it in ways that are very hurtful to us and our marriage. Try as we might, we can’t control them. So, while we each play a part in the success or failure of our marriage, we can’t control how our spouse chooses to use their free will. They very well could have been the one to push the first domino down, and there was nothing we could have done to stop it. Free will can be used for great good, or for great harm–even the destruction of a marriage. Remember that. Divorce hurts God’s heart more than it does ours. Yet, He will usually not step in and violate our free will, even if it means saving the marriage. All we can ever do is use our free will to love God and others well, and pray that other people do the same. One day we will all be held accountable for how wisely we used our free will. Choose well!
His master said to him, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. Since you were faithful in small matters, I will give you great responsibilities. Come, share your master’s joy.’ – Matthew 25:21