Read Matthew 5:31-32. At this point in Jewish history, there was a debate raging between Pharisees and other teachers of the law. It concerned a foundational issue from God's Law: marriage and divorce. You see, Deuteronomy 24:1 describes a certain situation in which a man divorces his wife because she becomes "displeasing to him" because "he finds something indecent about her."
One group of rabbis said that this "something indecent" was adultery and only adultery. Another group said that it could be anything that offended the husband—from burning the dinner to embarrassing him in public. In other words, this more liberal school of thought believed that a husband could divorce his wife for any reason at all. That sounds a lot like our culture today, doesn't it?
This is what God intended when He created marriage—that selfless love would be put on display for all the world to see.
Jesus, knowing that this discussion was in their minds, spoke with absolute authority on the subject. He said, "I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, makes her the victim of adultery" (Matthew 5:32).
On another occasion, Jesus described God's design for marriage this way: "Haven't you read . . . that at the beginning the Creator 'made them male and female,' and said, 'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh'?" (Matthew 19:4-5). One flesh is not easily broken. Marriage was intended to last a lifetime, but our self-centeredness makes this incredibly challenging. But there is a way to affair-proof your marriage.
The most important thing is to get over your narcissism. We are all narcissists to varying degrees. But if you want to overcome this dangerous form of self-centeredness, Jesus can show you the way. Discover your spouse's real needs and seek by God's grace to meet those needs. Make no mistake, you will need His supernatural help. You need God's power, strength, mercy, and grace to meet your spouse's needs. But it will be worth it.
This is what God intended when He created marriage—that selfless love would be put on display for all the world to see. It's a picture of God's love for sinners, of Christ's love for His church (see Ephesians 5:31-32). When both husband and wife are seeking God's best for one another, when each partner is more concerned with the other person's needs above his or her own, marriage is one of the most beautiful things to behold in our world.
Prayer: Lord, I ask that You would work in my heart to humble me so that I can love and serve my spouse sacrificially. May I follow Your example. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.
"But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, makes her the victim of adultery, and anyone who marries a divorced woman commits adultery" (Matthew 5:32).
Learn more in Dr. Michael Youssef's sermon series Appropriating the Happiness That Is in You: WATCH NOW | LISTEN NOW