What to Do if You Are in an Unhappy Marriage?


In our previous blog we said that the purpose of marriage is not to make us happy but holy.  Marriage is a tool God uses to stretch and mature us to make us more like Jesus.  But what about marriages that are more than just unhappy but are actually toxic, dysfunctional and destructive?  What about when unrepentant adultery, physical abuse or abandonment are present?  Those aren’t the kind of unhappy marriages we are talking about.  God does allow for the dissolvement of these relationships for protection and safety against the unrepentant offender.

But what if you aren’t facing abuse, abandonment or adultery, but you aren’t happy in your marriage?  Is divorce an option for marriages which are struggling or seemingly hopeless?  Marriage is designed to be a lifelong commitment, and we vow to make it so when we marry.  Malachi 2:15-16 says: “Has not the one God made you? You belong to him in body and spirit. And what does the one God seek? Godly offspring. So be on your guard, and do not be unfaithful to the wife of your youth. ‘The man who hates and divorces his wife,’ says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘does violence to the one he should protect,’ says the Lord Almighty. So be on your guard, and do not be unfaithful.”

Ephesians 5 describes marriage as a metaphor for our relationship with God. He is not capricious in His affections toward us, nor does His love depend on favorable circumstances. His relationship with us is solely based on His covenant with us. God remains faithful to us even when we break our vows and hurt Him.  Therefore, God wants us to remain faithful to our vows, too, because He knows broken hearts, broken marriages, and broken homes can be redeemed for His ultimate glory.

Does this mean that God wants us to remain in an unhappy marriage? No. What He wants is for each of us to use our pain, our sorrow and disappointment, our loneliness and anger, as an invitation to pursue His healing. He wants us to understand what health looks like in our marriage—healthy expectations, communication, boundaries, and conflict resolution— so that we can experience transformation right where we are, rather than waiting to discover it in a new relationship.

God does not want us to remain in an unhappy marriage.  He wants us to work through our issues so we can turn that marriage into a happy, growing relationship based on Him. Divorcing and trying again is not His solution.  Many people, though, aren’t willing to pay the price to improve their marriage.  It takes hard work, lots of forgiveness, taking our hurts to Jesus, giving when it seems we don’t get and putting everything into meeting our mate’s needs even if they ignore ours.  It takes pain, sweat and tears to make a good marriage.  But ask anyone who has put in the work to make their marriage what it should be and they’ll tell you it’s more than worth it.

An unhappy marriage should be an indicator that there are things God wants to address in our lives and in our marriages, so that we can pursue healing and wholeness in every area of our lives. God wants us to recognize issues within our marriage as they arise, be willing to address them, and work together towards personal and relational growth. If we do, we will continue growing together allowing us to develop greater connection, strength, and intimacy in our marriage.

In the next blog we’ll look at some specific steps that can be taken to change an unhappy marriage into a growing, healthy relationship.  (August 28, 2023  Doylestown, PA)

Ephesians 5:21-33   Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.  Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. … Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her. …  In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. … Each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

On a scale of 1 to 10, how hard would God say you are working to make your marriage what it should be?

What can you do today to better put your mate first and focus on their need before your own?

Pray and ask God to help you do that, even if you are the only one trying to improve your marriage.


Christian Training Organization 



(India Outreach, Spiritual Warfare, Family Ministries, Counseling, World View)

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