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Preventing Divorce

Paul Rogers was a special man and a special preacher. He was the long-time preacher for the Centerville congregation right here in Middle Tennessee (Hickman County). And when I say “long-time,” I really mean long-time. He began preaching at Centerville in 1957, the year after he graduated from college, and finished his work there when the Lord took him home in 2005. Allow me to do the math for you – that’s a whopping 48 years.

Recently one of his old bulletin articles on marriage came across my desk. As I read it, I thought, “Wow, this article may be old, but the counsel he gives is as relevant today as ever. I’m gonna share this.” - Dan Chambers

by the late, great Paul Rogers
Again and again across the years, someone has said to me, “But I don’t want a divorce.” Then I would say to you, “Don’t have one!”

If you do not want a divorce, put your mate first. I shudder when I hear a parent say, “Oh, I put my children ahead of everything!” You should put your spouse first, knowing that the greatest gift you can ever bestow upon your son or daughter is the security which comes from knowing that mother and daddy love each other. Growing up in a house with that kind of security is better than living at Windsor Castle any day!

If you do not want a divorce, then learn to express your love to your mate. Love is never out of style or out of date. There is no taboo on tenderness in any culture. A man needs to be loved at 50 no less than on his wedding night.

If you do not want a divorce, then learn to live within your means. It is a fine thing to do with, but it is even better to be able to do without successfully! Refuse to live beyond your income or to become a compulsive buyer. Piling up debts has a way of breaking down a marriage.

If you do not want a divorce then learn to build, not blast, the self-esteem of your partner. Practically all of us, from time to time, wonder about our worth. In those moments, nothing is so damaging as the discovery that the one person who ought to know and love us best is the very person who puts us down!

If you do not want a divorce, then do not marry a mate with the idea of reforming him or her. It has been my studied conclusion that very few people are ever changed by the simple action of walking down a marriage aisle.

If you do not want a divorce then learn to compromise with each other. Never forget that the sweetest words ever to fall from human lips are “I’m sorry, please forgive me.”

If you do not want a divorce, then seek and find common goals and directions. We are living in a day when each does “his own thing,” the wife going in one direction, the husband another, with rarely the twain meeting. Look for projects which can be pursued together.

If you do not want a divorce, then reject interference from in-laws and relatives. You have left your parents and must “cleave to your wife.”

If you do not want a divorce, then learn to communicate to your mate that which is in your heart. Find a way to say what you think and why. The surest road I know leading to the divorce court is the one which passes through a hall of silence.

If you do not want a divorce, then determine today that your marriage is a gift from God, set apart by God, designed to last as long as you or your spouse live and is pleasing in God’s sight. The greatest thing that can happen to a person’s marriage is to get right with the Lord! I know that is what a preacher is expected to say – but it is true – everlastingly true! When a husband gives his life to God and begins to live according to the Bible it does make a difference at home. When a wife begins to love God with all her heart, soul, and strength, it does make a difference. The children will be able to sense it, the neighbors will notice it, and the church will rejoice over it.