Lysa TerKeurst: The Female Response
How many of you were as shocked as I was by Lysa TerKeurst’s blog post last week? I can raise my hand high. I was more than shocked. But not because she announced she was divorcing her husband of almost twenty-five years because of repeated infidelity and substance abuse. But because what she wrote was so full of hurt, devastation, numbness, and the rigid control we (as women) strive to have when our lives are spiraling out of our control. I recognized her. And I wept openly for her. I understood every emotion she was able to convey through the written word.
My husband wrote a response to Lysa’s announcement in a blog post earlier in the week titled Lysa TerKeurst: The Male Response. One of the main reasons he wrote the post was because after her announcement, the internet was flooded with posts from other women and bloggers, supporting her and praying for her. But there was an underlying panic in almost every post I read. If this could happen to Lysa TerKeurst’s marriage, what hope do I have for mine?
This is called FEAR. And Satan Loves It.
Scott wrote his post because he has a passion for men’s ministry, and he wanted to know: Where are the men in all of this, and do they worry and wonder about their marriages on the same level that women do? I encourage you to check out his post if you haven’t already. It’s very insightful, and I’m incredibly proud of him.
I want to address Lysa’s post from a female perspective, and I also want to address some of the other posts I’ve read in response to her blog. I’m going to ask a hard question. If your first response to Lysa’s blog post was fear for your own marriage…If you immediately had the thought, “If this can happen to her, it can surely happen to me,” what you need to ask yourself is where your fear is coming from.
We’ll get back to that in a minute.
I’ve written several posts about infidelity, protecting your marriage, and the role of sex inside marriage (and what happens when it occurs outside of marriage). You can read those posts here.
I’m sensitive to the topic of infidelity. I was watching an episode of Sherlock the other night, and Dr. Watson was texting with a woman he met by chance on the bus that he was attracted to. The entire time I was watching, my gut was clenched in a tight ball. She’d text him, and you could see the struggle on his face while he decided if he was going to respond. He was tempted and he was flattered. And he faltered. He texted her back. And then he kept doing it. Hiding it from his wife the whole time. As much as I love this show, it struck such a chord with me that I almost had to turn it off.
The truth is this: Infidelity is a huge problem in our society. It’s in the movies and television, it’s in the books we read, it’s the every day life of some of the celebrities we follow, and it could be happening with our neighbors down the street or a couple from our small group at church.
We don’t live in a culture where marriage and family are cherished. We live in a culture of instant gratification, where everything we could ever want is at our fingertips. And when we don’t get it “right now,” we become impatient and start looking for the next bigger, better thing. That’s how people treat their relationships as well. People have become disposable commodities. Spouses have become disposable commodities.
Where is Christ in All of This?
He’s right where He’s always been. Right beside us.
I had the privilege of hearing Lysa TerKeurst speak at the Pink Impact Women’s Conference a couple of months ago. I’ve read her books, watched her YouTube videos, followed Proverbs 31 Ministries for years, and I read her blog. She’s an incredible woman of faith, and her making the decision to divorce her husband was incredibly brave, especially considering how public her life is. I support her, and I’ll continue to pray for her.
But what does God say about marriage?
“That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.” Genesis 2:24
Marriage is a covenant between a husband, wife, and God. Covenants are different than contracts or promises.
Contracts generally have a term limit
Most contracts have specific actions that must be taken to be fulfilled
Contracts are designed as a way for both parties to “get” something
Contracts deal with an “if…then” mentality.
A covenant is a binding obligation between you, your spouse, and God. It’s not meant to be broken. It’s not meant to dissolve because you fell out of love with your spouse. It’s not meant to be broken because things got too hard. Covenant marriage is an unselfish marriage, where you want the best for your spouse. It’s based on unconditional love, and Christ is the first priority, followed by each other. Covenant marriages require confrontation, confession, and forgiveness.
Before you think I’m coming down on Lysa, I’m not. I’ve been divorced. Scott has been divorced. We’ll never cast judgment from this site, and I can tell you with complete honesty I understand Lysa’s decision to file for divorce. Just like I understood her decision to stay with her husband when she found out about the infidelity the first time.
Lysa has every right to make the decision to divorce. Not because our divorce-happy society gives the approval. But because of God’s Word.
“I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.” Matthew 19:9
Her husband broke his covenant with her and God (repeatedly), and from what she wrote in her post, he has no intention of changing his ways at this moment. That’s not to say God won’t change his heart and their marriage won’t be saved in the future. But at this point in time, her husband has made the choice to continue sinning against God and his wife. God gave us free will. He also gives us forgiveness and mercy. But we have to confess and ask for it.
God still performs miracles. I’ve seen them in my own marriage.
Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral. Hebrews 13:4
Let’s talk about the response from women all across the globe at Lysa’s news.
Fear of our own marriages failing. Fear of getting the devastating news of our spouse’s infidelity. Fear of be married to your best friend for decades, only to have the bottom drop out from underneath you. After all, if it can happen to a Godly woman like Lysa TerKeurst, then the rest of us don’t have a chance.
First of all, if you have a fear or insecurity like this about your marriage, you need to address it. Where is the seed of fear coming from? Do you suspect your spouse of being unfaithful? Statistics show that 85% of women who have a gut feeling that their spouse is cheating are correct in their assumptions. In my post Security in Marriage, Security in Christ I give tips on how to affair-proof your marriage.
Another reason for fear might be because of issues from your past. If there are issues from your past that are making you insecure in your marriage, it’s time to have open communication with your spouse. There should be nothing in this world that you can’t share with your spouse–that includes fears, insecurities, hopes, dreams, worries, and gut feelings.
God designed marriage to mirror His image. Just like WE are designed to mirror His image. We should glorify God in everything we do. Especially in our marriage. And people should be able to see glimpses of God within our marriage.
God also gave us marriage so we could have companionship. We talk about the Hebrew word ezer in several blog posts, but it literally means “helper.” Another reason God created marriage was to multiply a Godly legacy.
Look how incredibly important and wonderful marriage is. It’s a huge responsibility, but also a huge honor that God has given us. But it’s an equal partnership. Both spouses need to put Christ first. If they do that, their marriage is going to prosper.
God is a God of forgiveness and mercy. We’ve all sinned. All of us. And by His blood we are redeemed. The bible is an excellent marriage manual. It tells us everything we need to know. Divorce is not an unforgivable sin. And in Lysa’s case, God has given the provisions to release her from a marriage where the covenant has been broken.
“I am brokenhearted beyond what I can express. But I am more committed than ever to trusting God, His promises, and His plans, whatever they are from here.” ~Lysa TerKeurst
She’s an amazing example of a Proverbs 31 Woman. God is in control, and we continue to lift Lysa and her family up in prayer.
Love and Blessings,
A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life. She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands. She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar. She gets up while it is still night; she provides food for her family and portions for her female servants. She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard. She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks. She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night. In her hand she holds the distaff and grasps the spindle with her fingers. She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy. When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet. She makes coverings for her bed; she is clothed in fine linen and purple. Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land. She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes. She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: “Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.” Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.