Staying in a Miserable Marriage

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Couples whose marriage is in trouble and fight a lot are often counseled to get a divorce since it is better for children to be raised in a peaceful home rather than one filled with strife. I disagree. Children are better raised in a home with a mother and a father rather than just a mother or a father. This is the way God designed a family.

When children hear their parents arguing all the time it makes them very insecure. They go to bed crying often. They are usually not crying because their parents are arguing but for fear that their parents might break up. They want their parents to stay together. They want a mother and a father.

Sadly, very few children today have seen the pattern of living through differences. Learning to love through thick and thin is like riding a bicycle. It is much easier if learned and modeled as a child.

for the children and the health of society, I urge you to stay married. Stop arguing and pursue peace. Start serving your husband as if you were serving the Lord. Children need to be shown how relationships, especially marriage, work even when it is not easy.

My parents argued a LOT. They showed very little love between the two of them. I know what it is like to be raised in a home with a lot of conflict. However, I am so happy my parents stuck it out. My sisters and I have strong marriages with children walking in Truth. My parents have left a godly heritage with us, our children, and grandchildren.

The school for human relationships is the home and family.  Women and men are in danger of pulling the beautiful continuity of a family – generations of togetherness, reunions made up of a flow of generations, the most preciously fulfilling things of human life – down around their ears.  “It is not good that man should be alone “{Genesis 2:18} coupled with “till death do us part” speak of lasting togetherness, even though imperfect since the Fall. {Edith Schaeffer}

So for the children and the health of society, I urge you to stay married. Stop arguing and pursue peace. Start serving your husband as if you were serving the Lord. Children need to be shown how relationships, especially marriage, work even when it is not easy.

A wife is bound to her husband as long as he lives.

I Corinthians 7:39

Marriage Advice




  1. Janie Theren says:

    I was also raised in a family with a lot of conflict. In contrast to you, I was delighted when my parents finally divorced. It was the best thing that happened to either one of them!

    Thank goodness there is room for all viewpoints in this world. Blessings!

    1. The only reason the Bible gives for divorce, Janie, is if an unbelieving spouse leaves a believing spouse. If there is adultery, you can divorce but it isn’t a command. I write to Christian women who want to live according to the Bible and God’s ways. I have been mentoring women for over 10 years and have witnessed the restoration of many marriages.

  2. I have just read your article about staying in a miserable marriage. I agree that God has designed the family for a purpose and that it would be the best choice to have a mother and a father raising children together. However, this article struck a bit of a nerve with me…I am recently separated because my husband was verbally/emotionally/spiritually abusing myself and our children. I left so that our children would no longer have to stand and watch him cut me down, swear and yell at the top of his lungs at us. I felt like your article shamed women who HAD to walk away from their husbands (even if just for a period of separation), and no longer SERVE them so that their children would not have to witness how NOT to treat a woman/children. I just wanted to touch on the subject of abuse, because I feel very strongly that God hates abuse just as much as he hates divorce.

    1. I am very sorry you are having to deal with this, Allison. I would encourage you to find a godly, older woman to mentor you and give you wise advice through this difficult time. Maybe even go to the elders of your church. I have no problem with women separating from their husbands for a time. Sometimes, it takes this action to convict their husbands to change. His behavior isn’t a biblical reason to divorce him, however.

  3. Lori, I can understand how this advice might difficult for some readers in different circumstances, I truly appreciate your desire to encourage us. I live in an often difficult marriage as my husband suffers from PTSD and it affects our relationship. Sometimes the Enemy tries to convince me that it would be easier to give up, but I know God will help us overcome. And we have four children looking to us. Your advice may not be popular, but it’s exactly what some of us need to hear, I think. My parents struggled for many years, but they are in a sweet place now. I’m so grateful they chose to stick it out! 🙂

    1. P.S. I cannot emphasize enough how helpful good Christian counselling has been for us! It took a few tries to find the one we meet with now, but it’s worth it!

    2. Yes, yes, yes!! You are so right, Jen!!! Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts on this.

      My emails are blowing up with folks mad that we have shared this information. Some readers are shocked that any of us OBEY our husbands. One reader sent me a goodbye email telling me dogs obey. She believes that obedience in marriage is demeaning. These words devastate me. The enemy wants our marriages to fail!

      I wish more folks had faith (trusting and believing in HIM). God is in control- not us. I wish that more marriages believed in the power of prayer.

      We are blessed to have Lori’s input and insight.

      Thank you for being vulnerable and sharing your story.

      1. The idea of honoring and obeying our husbands is BIBLICAL. Though some people find it SHOCKING it is how we as Christians are to live.

        1. Yes, Alyssa, older women are commanded by God to teach young women to be obedient to their husbands in Titus 2:3,4 and women are commanded to be subject to their husband several places and then in I Peter 3:6, “Even as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughter you are…”

  4. I know that this is a very touchy subject. I grew up in a Christian home with parents who remained married and are still remain married to this day. However, I do have family members who are divorced. I have seen the side effects. I believe there are some EXTREME circumstances where divorce is the only option. Otherwise, I believe it is best to strive to stay married.

    1. My Bible study leader’s husband was having an ongoing affair. She decided she was going to do everything she could to win him back and keep her family together. She won him without a word by clinging to the Lord and showing her husband kindness and forgiveness. He eventually came home and apologized. Later on, they mentored couples and had a powerful ministry in the church. He thanked her for staying with him during his foolishness and she is so glad that she did. I have mentored women in all types of situations {except for physical abuse} and they have all stayed married and they are all glad they fought to keep their familiy together.

  5. In a world where quitting on marriage is so frequent it is vital that at times this message is given, especially to Christians, that God desires a marriage to be between one man and one woman for a lifetime together. What at times seems difficult or impossible almost always results in wonderful blessings that only God can give when we stick it out and move to the next decade with God mightily at work in our spouse’s life as He changes us first from the inside out.

    To the commenters who are offended by this truth, don’t be. Each person will stand before the Lord and give an account some day of how we have lived, and thank goodness, many of us know we are covered by the blood of Christ for all of our sins. The writer does not know you, and if your life and choices do not condemn or shame you, how can the truth of a message that God’s desire is that married couples stay together offend or shame? God and you know if you have an exception to His general rule or not. For the rest of us we cannot live by the exceptions but seek to fulfill what the scriptures teach. If God allows in our lives a marriage with abuse or exceptions we must deal with it at that time, but to not teach a general biblical principle because an exception may exist is to not teach any truth at all.

    Far too many are short-sighted and unwilling to get godly counsel and wisdom concerning our difficult marriages, or more unfortunately, we are given advice that has no biblical foundation, but is grounded in worldly thinking and psychology. God’s ways are not man’s ways, so lets be sure to cover all we do based on His Word and will for our lives, no matter how hard at times it seems to us. Where would we be if Abraham gave up on God’s promises and was not willing to go to the point of obedience to sacrifice his only son? Where would we be if Christ got to the cross and decided that His faith was not worth His sacrifice? We choose our spouse, so let us walk in faithfulness, and let’s be clear and unashamed if and when we become convinced that God has something different for our lives than what He clearly desires for the life of most believers. Let’s not ask those who teach the truth to water it down just because we cannot match our lives up with it in every area of life and godliness. We are covered by the cross, even if we may miss out on some of God’s best for our lives.

  6. I read your article and I have to thank you for bodly standing up for the truth. It takes a strong woman to go against the world and stand up for the word. Please be encouraged in The Lord! Keep posted and sharing what God tells you and not what man says.
    My husband and I had a difficult time in our marriage and it was godly advice that I listend to. More woman need to hear this. Thanks again. Biblical woman are hard to come by in this day.

    1. You’re welcome, Diana. I love mentoring women and I know the Lord has given me this ministry. I also wish more older women would begin teaching young women to love and obey their husbands as the Bible commands. The Christian church needs this ministry desparately.

  7. Susan Robinson says:

    I agree with you about staying in a conflicted marriage. For years my husband and I had just the marriage you described. Much fighting and disagreements. But one day when my children were young and I was thinking of leaving, I looked into their faces and knew I had one option that I had never tried before. I had never turned it all over to God. I began praying for him, not for him to change but just for him to live the life that God had planned for him. And I began praying for me. For me to become the wife and mother that God intended for me to be. It was then that I also began praying for me to love my husband with the love of Christ. That’s when the difference began in our marriage. I changed, and as a result of my changes, my husband began to change. Then our marriage changed and our children began to change also. So here we are, coming up on 28 years of marriage and I am so glad that we were able to make it through that long and difficult/challenging time in our lives. I want to encourage all who can to seek God’s guidance in your marriage and know that change can happen, I have seen it many times in my lifetime. You won’t regret sticking around for the changes. ( But if you are truly being abused, especially physically, don’t stay. My advice is for those whose lives aren’t in danger. God does supply for us all when we turn to Him for our answers.)

    1. What a beautiful testimony, Susan! God is a God who makes all things new; who brings beauty out of ashes. He desires that all marriages stay together “Let no man put asunder.” I have seen too many bad marriages restored to beautiful ones to not believe Him and His promises!

  8. Louise Jane says:

    This article really hits home to me, my Husband and I have been married for almost 19 years (together for 20) and we currently have hit a very low point where we argue almost every day.

    I read your post this morning and feel more confident that I myself can make changes and really try to make my marriage work.

    Also glad that I stumbled across your blog through a Facebook post on Club31 Women.


    1. Louise Jane, I am so glad you found this article today!! I am grateful hat Club 31 Women shared this post today so you could read it.

      Lisa (from Club 31 Women) has tons of excellent content on her site. My friend Lori, who wrote this post and is the author of Always Learning, has some excellent marriage content on her site as well. She has also written some amazing posts about marriage here on my site over the last few months. Dig. Read. Pray. Work on you. Pray for him. He answers prayers!

  9. Bless you for having the courage to write this! I have been through a long season of misery and am just coming out of it. I praise God for the examples my parents set that you never give up. I am continuously amazed at the changes God has made on my husband’s heart! Thank God I never gave up bc I would have missed out on so much.

    1. Bless you, Cheri! God’s ways are not usually the easy way but they are the good and right way.

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