Some thoughts on ending a marriage


Yesterday morning, as I scrolled through Facebook, something quite unexpected popped up. Lysa TerKeurst, famous speaker and author, announced that she is divorcing her husband. I don’t know about you, but these things rock my world. She has been teaching women to love and serve Christ for many years now and has even written a book on marriage. While I do not actually condone all that she writes and she has some extremely troubling associations (read more here), I would not wish her experience on anyone. How incredibly humiliating and awful to have to announce you are getting a divorce after you have spent much of your life encouraging women to be “Proverbs 31 women”.

This whole thing has got me thinking quite a bit. I thought I’d share a few of my thoughts regarding Lysa and this announcement. They are all kind of disconnected, so hopefully you will bear with me as I meander through a few different responses to this news. And, let me add here, none of this is in criticism of Lysa regarding her decision. I do not know her personally and have no insight whatsoever into her marriage or her home. My responses are for two reasons only –to remind us to pray for her and others suffering through similar, tragic circumstances and to get us thinking about our own marriages. I hope this post will accomplish these two things.

First, I would like to say that my heart goes out to Lysa and I am praying for her and her husband. Broken marriages are a painful, terrible thing. I can’t imagine having to go through it with the whole “Christian” world watching. Not agreeing with her biblical stand and ungodly associations does not mean I shouldn’t pray for this woman and her family. And, honestly, perhaps we should pray that God would use this situation to draw her back to scriptural truth. We serve an amazing God with limitless power. He can change any heart and perhaps He will use this to change Lysa’s.

Second, one of the first thoughts I had as I read that post was this: “If that can happen to her–an author who writes about marriage and godly living–well then, this could happen to me, too!” I played with this thought for a few moments–thinking about my marriage and about my husband. And I realized that any marriage is in danger of disintegrating without proper love and care. We can never stop working on our marriages. And I can see how this does happen when two people allow themselves to get too busy and they stop communicating. Even Christian couples are in danger when life gets in the way and they lose touch with one another. My husband and I have worked and continue to work very hard at making sure we have time to talk. We do not have many date nights or special getaways, but, instead, keep our hearts in tune to one another through talks on the porch, in the car, or on the sofa at night. This has been our method since the beginning of our marriage and when we don’t have time for these, we suffer. Of course, these times have been much easier to find since the kids have grown up! We really had to search for them early on.

Third, one has to wonder about the dynamics in the TerKeurst household regarding Lysa’s career. Even I, as a tiny, insignificant blogger can frustrate my husband if I spend too much time working on it. There is also the dynamic of her husband living in her famous shadow. Most men do not care for that. I am not sure what a famous woman can do about this dynamic, but it is certainly something to consider in a rise to fame. We women–whether we are finding fame in the Christian world, like Lysa, or we are finding success in a career outside the home–must remember to keep focusing and working on our marriages. And we must respect our husbands. While I am certainly not privy to what went on in Lysa’s home, I do see an awful lot of successful women who have lost respect for their husbands or treat them like one of their children. Oh, what a sad thing! And this reminds me of Titus 2:4-5 where we read that women are to be submissive to their husbands. There is no caveat on this. It does not say “unless they earn more money than their husband”. We also read there that women are to be working at home. It is hard to do this if our time and attention is continually drawn to something outside the home. I know it is politically incorrect, even among Christians, to suggest that women should not work outside the home and I also realize there are many reasons why women may be forced to do so, but the pattern set up for us in scripture does help us to avoid a lot of issues in our marriages and families if we choose to follow it.

Fourth, and finally, one has to wonder what Lysa will do now regarding her ministry? History has shown that western Christians have very short memories. Sandi Patty, Amy Grant, Charles Stanley–all divorced and all still embraced by the Christian community. It doesn’t really seem to matter anymore. Her ministry will most likely not suffer, given the current status of our Christian culture. And that is quite an indictment on just how far Christianity has come. It used to be a big deal if the President of the United States was divorced. As relativism and post-modernism took over, that became unimportant to an American culture obsessed with money and progress. But now, we even continue to embrace Christian authors and speakers who have failed marriages. While I don’t wish their situations on anyone, I find myself doubtful that I, personally, could continue ministering in the same way. While I believe there are many other ways I could minister (even to women who are suffering through divorce and being single again), I think that I would perhaps choose to step down from being the head of a ministry. This is a personal opinion and not necessarily something I can find in scripture, as celebrity status and public ministry was never really addressed in scripture, aside from the qualifications for elders (Titus 1). What are your thoughts?

Thank you for sticking around for my thoughts on this matter. These kinds of situations–so common anymore–still give us pause to think, don’t they? And they remind us that we must continue to work on our own marriages so they don’t travel down the same heart-breaking road that the TerKeursts are on.  If you take anything at all from this disconnected, rambling post, I hope it will be that.

And, please, would you just take a moment right now and pray for this family? Satan is busy and active, trying to ruin the reputation of anyone who represents Jesus Christ. Ask the Lord to turn hearts back to Him and to heal this marriage.


DISCLAIMER: A few hours after posting this, I was dismayed to realize that people were not reading this post with the objective intention with which it was written but instead were viewing it as an unkind assessment of a painful time for Lysa. Please know that I am not implying anything about Lysa, her reason for her divorce, OR her spiritual status (aside from what we can clearly see that has been public knowledge for years). May I repeat: I DO NOT KNOW HER. I view her decision to divorce her husband with the greatest sorrow and completely without judgement.

I have no underlying motives for this post. Broken marriages happen. They have happened to people I love dearly. I am not judging anyone. I was simply trying to process some of the questions and fears that arise when situations like this happen. I feel like those of you who are my regular readers understand this about me. Those who have just happened to land on this post and do not regularly read this blog will not. I process and I share what I am processing and learning because many of you have expressed that this is a blessing to you. But perhaps this is one time I should not have processed “out loud”. I am still uncertain, as I sit here typing.

I cannot control what you think about me. It is one of the hardest things about blogging that there is–this judgement of me and my motives that is drawn from only one or two posts. But I can confidently tell you this post is only meant to help us to process all of the thoughts swirling around in our heads regarding this situation and to draw people to the Word as we mourn with a couple going through a very public divorce.

18 thoughts on “Some thoughts on ending a marriage”

  1. Before committing myself to Christ I, too, was divorced. At that time, without Christ in my life, it was an easy thing to do… I wasn’t happy and I moved on. Ashamed to say that now but then it was no big deal. Now, even though my husband is not a Christian, I have committed myself to the marriage and to him; praying for him always and praying for Christs’ love for him to be in my heart. It is difficult to imagine what shame I would bear in front of my Heavenly Father if I broke this vow I have made to HIM.
    Indeed we should pray for the TerKeursts, divorce is a difficult road to travel even in this day and age.

    1. Right, but you can only control you, not your spouse. She stayed and tried to work things out for years, but he was continually unfaithful to her. That is a Biblically sound reason for her to be free. So she did not break her vow. She’s not just divorcing him because they don’t get along or something.

      I feel like the “pray for her” comes across as insincere; a way to feel okay with posting this about Lysa during a hard time in her life. Kind of looking at the splinter in her eye kind of thing. But that’s all I’m going to say because I don’t want to come across the same way.

      1. Hmmm… I was so very afraid that people would think that. And I gave grave consideration to this post, even removing a paragraph that I felt was truly unnecessary. I read and re-read it, asking myself if I would be offended if this was about ME. I thought I made it abundantly clear that I know nothing about Lysa’s situation and this is in no way an indictment against her. But these situations bring up big questions in our hearts. Is it wrong to address them?

  2. I totally agree with everything you have written.. I did not see any judgement here..I wish more Christian women would blog on this very subject..This happens way too much in our church “culture”. Thank you.

  3. I saw no insincerity in what you wrote. Actually, I appreciate your balanced and compassionate approach to this matter. A lot of discernment bloggers will probably use this to celebrate, but you’ve made it clear that this isn’t a time for self-righteousness or glee. Thanks for a godly perspective.

  4. Just a quick reply, specifically in response to your paragraph regarding the relationship Lisa had with her husband since she was so famous & no doubt, put in many hours working & with travel. I found myself in the same situation as Lisa about 30 years ago when my husband chose to continue in a relationship with my best friend rather than remaining in our marriage & with God’s help, making it a reconciled success story. I was a stay at home mom of a 10 & 11 year old who had just gone back to work part time when the news broke of his decision. I pleaded with him and asked him what I could do to change. His response only was “change your personality and you can’t do that, so nothing.”
    My heart breaks for Lisa ~ I have forgiven but I don’t think one ever forgets the pain.

    1. Oh, wow. That’s incredibly sad. I know that you are not alone. I’ve heard of so many similar stories. I can’t imagine how painful that must have been!! Thank you so much for sharing your story.

  5. Thank you for your kind words, Leslie. I must add that although the hurt & pain was incredible, even effecting many people outside of our immediate family ~ just like the story of Joseph, God used bad decisions to work His purposes. God is always faithful!

  6. I know the time you poured into this and the hesitation you had before you clicked “publish.” I shared something similar a few days ago to my blog page on facebook and got quite the lashing. Speak truth, share truth, many don’t want to hear it, but it’s needed. “The truth shall set you free.”

  7. Leslie, I thought your post was written with the utmost consideration and grace, not to mention compassion and kindness. One of the things I really appreciate about your posts, is your thoughtfulness and grace-filled words towards others. You steer away from writing post with a note of condemnation, nor do you write as one coming from a highier position. In fact, I often sense within your writings a genuine humility, not often found with other writers. I did not see anything insincere within your post. The fact that you mentioned, we should pray is the correct biblical attitude for those in Christ Jesus. So thank you for being a watchmen(women) helping us to discern biblical truths. Thank you for taking a bold stand for Gods word and his unbending truth.

  8. This is a good post Leslie. I don’t know you at all but compassion and love and grace and mercy absolutely are evident in everything I have read from you so far! I am thankful that you are brave enough to say the truth even knowing that some people will misinterpret or misunderstand your heart on some matters. You made good points on how we should reflect on the health of our own marriages and to be praying for our marriages as well as for other married couples. Thank you for being willing to face some backlash at times. Keep doing what you are doing, you are helping people, like me ❤️

    1. Thank you, dear Hannah. I am so very glad if anything I have written has encouraged you as you seek to walk with God and do what’s right. I am praying for you!!

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