Broken Marriage Vows

Pastor Chris,

I have broken my marriage vows. I have seduced a younger man who is single. I love my husband and our children but do not know if I want to stay married. I have contacted a lawyer. Do you have any advice for me?

– Jane Doe


Dear Jane,
You are on a dark, destructive path. The following points are given to you in no particular order.

• Count the cost (Luke 14:25-35). Whatever decision you make has an impact on many people, including your children. That impact will last a long, long time.
• Ask yourself: What would Jesus do?
• Read Psalm 51 multiple times. Let its words wash over you. King David wrote this after his adultery with Bathsheba and the murder of her husband was exposed.
• Read John 8:1-11. Pay special attention to verse 11. You can stop sinning if you choose to do so.
• Review 1 John 1:9.
• Think about what your actions are doing to the man who is not your husband (Proverbs 6:32; 7:21-27).
• You cannot continue in sin and be happy. Happiness is a by-product of a right relationship with Jesus. You can choose to be happy in Jesus. Read Matthew 5:3-12 putting the word “happy” in place of “blessed.” (The Greek word can be translated both ways.)
• Sin blinds, binds, and then grinds. That is what happened to Samson (Judges 13-16).
• Remember, this life is less than a millisecond when you compare it to eternity. Abundant life is found in Jesus alone, not other people (John 10:10).
• The devil is your enemy. He is a liar and a deceiver (John 8:44). You can be sure that the devil is lying to you and has deceived you. That is what the devil does. The devil offers cheap thrills. R.G. Lee said in his memorable sermon Payday Someday, “The devil will give you corn and then choke you with the cob. The devil’s pearls are paste pearls.”
• Put on spiritual armor (Ephesians 6:10-18).
• It is always best to return to the Lord (Joel 2:13; Zechariah 1:3).

May your heart be filled and renewed with the love of Christ!

Pastor Chris

The House of Virtue: Enter Here

– By Jonathan Conner July 2012

People today enter marriage for many reasons, among which are love, finding one’s “soul mate,” fulfillment, and companionship. Disturbingly, “growing in virtue” never makes the list. For generations marriage was viewed as a house of virtue in which males and females matured. In his book The Meaning of Marriage, Tim Keller writes, “Older cultures taught their members to find meaning in duty, by embracing their assigned social roles and carrying them out faithfully” (p. 28). This is no longer the case. Today, as Keller explains, “Instead of finding meaning through self-denial, through giving up one’s freedoms, and binding oneself to the duties of marriage and family, marriage [has been] redefined as finding emotional and sexual fulfillment and self-actualization” (p. 28).

Marriage and relationships have, in essence, become a substitute for God. Keller writes that we live with “the illusion that if we find our one true soul mate, everything wrong with us will be healed,” but, as Keller points out, “that makes the lover into God, and no human being can live up to that” (p. 42). Instead of seeing marriage as a sacred institution given by God for 1) the development of character through the conquering of vices and honing of virtues, 2) the procreation of children, 3) the reflecting of God’s nature, and 4) the betterment of society, couples marrying today view marriage as a private arrangement for personal gratification (p. 28).

As a result, they no longer see marriage as an entrance to a house of virtue, but as a continuation of their personal field of freedom. When marriage limits their freedoms or fails to fulfill their personal desires, they divorce. And they are scarcely shaken by the immensity of the act. In their mind their needs simply weren’t being met, so they leave in hopes of something better, scarcely considering the witness they’re making to marriage’s “profound mystery” of which St. Paul speaks in Ephesians 5.

This is made worse by the widespread practice of cohabitation. Hoping to move men closer to marriage, women often welcome the arrangement, but as Keller details, “Cohabitation gives men regular access to the domestic and sexual ministrations of a girlfriend while allowing them… to lead a more independent life and continue to look around for a better partner” (p. 31). Some believe marriage stifles masculinity. True masculinity, however, isn’t demonstrated through independence and self-assertion; true masculinity is learned through interdependence and self-mastery. Keller cites an op-ed piece in the New York Times, which rightly explains, “For most of Western history, the primary and most valued characteristic of manhood was self-mastery. … A man who indulged in excessive eating, drinking, sleeping, or sex—who failed to ‘rule himself’—was considered unfit to rule his household …” (p. 32).

At heart men’s true need is respect (women need self-sacrificial love). Wives who readily respect and admire their husbands through their speech and body language greatly assist their husbands in their mission of self-mastery and loving sacrifice. Husbands who practice the virtue of loving sacrifice greatly assist wives in their virtuous loving submission. At bottom this requires godliness in husbands and wives, the very thing marriage is designed to produce. Gary Thomas, author of Sacred Marriage, explains, “Godliness is selflessness, and when a man and a woman marry, they are pledging to stop viewing themselves as individuals and start viewing themselves as a unit, as a couple. In marriage, I am no longer free to pursue whatever I want; I am no longer a single man. I am part of a team, and my ambitions, dreams, and energies need to take that into account” (p. 77). Ultimately, Thomas writes, “We must not enter marriage predominately to be fulfilled, emotionally satisfied, or romantically charged, but rather to become more like Jesus Christ” (p. 96). And surely this is a house of virtue every married Christian couple wants to enter.


Pastor Jonathan Conner of Zion Lutheran Church in Manning, Iowa, serves as Vice President of The Hausvater Project.


Suggested citation: Conner, Jonathan. “The House of Virtue: Enter Here (Marriage).” The Hausvater Project, July 2012.

I'm Not Sure What My Wife Wants Anymore…


Here is my situation. My wife had a hysterectomy almost two years ago. I think October is two years. Here lately she is telling me she doesn’t love me anymore. I am not what she wants anymore. She doesn’t want this life anymore. Says she doesn’t desire me sexually anymore but then there are days she does but says it means nothing. Says she is planning to leave me she has a lawyer. Is this normal? Anyone else relate to that? Just wish someone could tell me what is going on and that it will be okay and how long this will last. Also our finances are a wreck with student loans and credit card debt any financial assistance out there by chance? She is wanting a new house that I would love to provide but know we can’t afford.. I am praying and believing God for a miracle. Anyone care to stand with me? Any words of wisdom?
Scripture? Anyone hearing from God on this and have something from him to tell me? Sorry to dump all this on y’all but I need help.
Sending this out to lots of people and hoping for a lot of replies. Please understand if you do respond it may take me a few days to get back to you because I work six days a week.


Tim, let me urge you to speak with your pastor face-to-face. There are many complexities to your situation and you need someone to walk with you as you go through it. Be assured that God knows what is going on and that nothing is too hard for Him (Genesis 18:14). Keep seeking the Lord. He knows the way and will help you find it.

Your wife has had a lot of trauma to contend with concerning her surgery. Surgeries can wreck havoc on the emotions even after the physical healing is complete. Be patient with her, pray, and make an appointment to see your pastor together.

Pastor Chris

Is It Right for a Pastor to Divorce His Wife?

Good day sir, pastor I thank you for this wonderful opportunity. Pastor my question is ‘is it right for a pastor to divorce his wife’.

~ Empress



God has spoken clearly on the matter of divorce. He hates it (Malachi 2:16).

~ Pastor Chris

I married a man who is already married. Is this right?

I married a man who was already married. I have been living as his wife. What does the bible say about this and is it right?






The biblical plan is one man and one woman united in marriage for life. God initiated this when He placed Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. God did not create Adam and then give him multiple wives (Genesis 2:18-25). God created Adam and then gave him one woman to be his wife.


You were married under false pretenses and are therefore free to have the marriage legally annulled. You have not sinned. You married him in good faith. You can leave this false marriage with a clean conscience. Please consult a Christian attorney to work with you to settle the legal aspects of your situation.


~ Pastor Chris

When it was biblically ok to give up on a marriage if ever?

Pastor Chris,
I wanted to know when it was biblically ok to give up on a marriage if ever.

– Marguerite

The Bible is clear that God hates divorce (Malachi 2:16). His ideal has always been that marriage would consist of one man and one woman for life (Genesis 2:24).

That being said, God’s ideal and sinful man’s reality often clash. Therefore, God calls us to strive for the ideal; but, when two people cannot meet the ideal God regulates their separation through the process we call divorce (Deuteronomy 24:1-4; Matthew 19:8).

The question then is when is divorce permitted? Obviously, divorce is permitted in cases of adultery (Matthew 19:9). The word translated “marital unfaithfulness” is the Greek word porneia. Porneia actually includes a wide range of behaviors that mean a person who is out of control and is compulsively preoccupied with self-gratification.

Another difficult case is that of abandonment. What if a wife finds herself abandoned? Can such a woman seek divorce? Yes, she can. What else is she to do? The wives referred to in Malachi 2:16 were being “put away” (lit. “abandoned”).

Another situation is that of a believer being married to an unbeliever. I Corinthians 7:12-16 tells us that if the unbeliever wants to remain married to the believer, then the believer must not divorce the unbeliever. However, if the unbeliever wants to leave (seek a divorce) then the believer is not bound in such a case.

There are other situations that are difficult, too. These situations include such things as cruelty, indecency, incest, law breaking, insanity, various mental health issues, and other sordid behaviors that can make a marriage unbearable and divorce necessary.

Even though a person has biblical rights to divorce, it does not mean that they have to get the divorce. I know cases where a person has chosen to forgive the offender and the marriage has remained intact. This presupposes repentance and a commitment to mature on the part of the offender. Often this requires professional Christian counseling in order to build new behaviors in the offender’s life.

So, for a person wondering if he or she is at a point of “giving up” on his or her marriage he or she would do well to consider these thoughts:
•    Is my own heart right with God?
•    Am I seeking God’s glory and not my own comfort?
•    Am I ready to pay the price, emotionally speaking?
•    Am I ready to exchange one set of problems for another set of problems?
•    Do I have biblical reason?
•    Can I forgive my spouse?
•    Can I forgive myself?
•    What is best for the children?
•    Have I truly tried to make this marriage work?
•    Have I taken the time to really think this action through?
•    Have I prayed until I have received God’s peace about this action?
•    Have I counseled with wise Christians who have nothing to gain by my decision?

A person needs to be careful not to seek divorce on a whim or for flimsy reasons (burning the toast, lusting after another person, he’s messy, she talks too much, etc.). Many marriages will improve if the partners will start working together and begin seeking Christ together. When that is not realistic, God regulates divorce and extends His hand of forgiveness and compassion. ~ Pastor Chris