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Why Didn’t God Save My Marriage?

Over and over again I pleaded with God to save my marriage. Why didn’t he?”

It seems logical. If marriage is designed by God as a life-time covenant and you pray wholeheartedly for God to save your marriage, why wouldn’t he? It may make it seem like God doesn’t really care.

God cares.

So, what gives?


Consider these five points:

God didn’t cause your divorce. When God doesn’t intervene and force your spouse to want to work out your marriage, it can seem like God deserted you. Divorce can seem like God’s fault because he failed to do what you asked. God never causes divorce so blaming God points the finger in the wrong direction. Divorce is caused by human choices.

God is close to the broken-hearted. That’s a promise of the Word in Psalms 34:18. It also says that the Lord also saves those who are crushed in spirit. Our pain can veil God’s presence but he is present.

God gives people free-will. God may not answer prayer if we ask him to override the free will he gives to people. Praying on behalf of another person is different than asking God to make a person do what we think they should. Free-will is a great gift from God because it allows us to choose to be in relationship with him. Otherwise, we would just be his pawns rather than his children.

God can take the mess humans create and redeem it. It is what God does. It is why Christ died.  The Lord redeems those who follow him. During the gut-wrenching pain of my divorce I found this scripture that seemed to fit how I felt and I prayed it several times a day.

Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.”

Psalm 51:10-12 (NIV)

He did. He will for you too. God is even working in you now if you are asking him to do so. Cling to this daily as he works in you to restore your spirit and relieve the pain of divorce.

God has a plan for you. “’For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future’” (Jeremiah 29:11). Seek God’s plan for you.

Christian Inspiration: “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.” 1 Peter 5:6

Talk with God

Reflect on this post and talk with God about your own situation.

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About the Author

Renee Smith Ettline, life after divorceRenee Smith Ettline, M.Ed. is founder of After Divorce Ministries, LLC, author of Peace after Divorce, and creator of the Peace after Divorce Workshop. Her Peace after Divorce Workshop group study is widely offered in churches and reaches across denominational lines.  She builds on her background as an educational counselor, her Christian faith, and her own divorce experience to light a path for those who need support for healing from divorce.




18 Comments on Why Didn’t God Save My Marriage?

    • Renee Ettline says:

      Jen, thanks for your comment. It’s so easy to wonder about this topic, but God never leaves us even when our marriage has failed. I’m glad this reminder helped! God bless.

  1. jennifer says:

    I believe God sees the bigger picture. I prayed for change for over 12 years being married to a drug addict and alcoholic who never changed and progressively got worse as the years. Each cycle I would feel abandoned by God when it would start again and my children and I suffered. Now I truly see he had free will and his indulgences and selfish behaviors was his choice not God. Also since I decided to file God has shown that the kids and I are important – even strangers have done things for us that have humbled me. I don’t know why my soon to be ex never got caught or had consequences but I do have a strong feeling that God has been waiting for the kids and I to be safely away from him.

    • Renee Ettline says:

      Thanks for your comment Jennifer. You and your children are indeed important to God! I’m glad you know that.

  2. thnka says:

    Thank you for the reminder!

  3. Tami Shahan says:

    I am a single mom of a 6 year old girl she’s my world my husband walked out on us and 2 years ago and he had been living with another woman I haven’t went out with anyone else because it’s not the right thing because we are not divorced and it daughter is the most important person in my life and I can’t afford to get a divorce but I have been asked it by someone that I a attracted to but I don’t know if it’s right in God’s eyes to go could you please help me pray for me and my daughter I know in my heart that God has blessed me in so many ways I am a true believer but I know that this isn’t the ideal situation please help

    • Renee Ettline says:

      Tami thank you for writing. I just prayed for you and your daughter. I trust that God will lead you on the right path and give you discernment to make good choices and to know his will. If you need legal assistance you might want to see if there is a legal aid office in your area. Bless you!

  4. Marcus Compton says:

    Please pray for me and my wife Ann. She has filed for divorce. I do not want a divorce.

    • Renee Ettline says:

      Marcus, I just prayed for you and Ann. It’s very hard when you don’t want the divorce but you are being divorced anyway. Keep your eyes on God. He will see you through whatever comes your way. I have two avenues through which you can get support. Join my peer support group on Facebook. It’s called the Separation & Divorce Christian Community. The other suggestion is to find a local Peace after Divorce group. If there isn’t one near you, you can take the Peace after Divorce Workshop online in the near future. If you’d like to be updated on start dates, you can sign up to be notified when you visit this page I will send workshop starting dates to you as soon as they are confirmed.

    • Rosie says:

      Whats the reason ?

  5. E T Greene says:

    My wife wants out if our marriage. After 15 years and 6 children. I am heart broken, I can’t eat, sleep, it’s hard to work. I give up on God helping, then fill bad about that choice. Please pray for her and me. It is a hardening of the heart issue. Please please pray tha God steps in somehow.

    • Renee Ettline says:

      ET that is very heart breaking. I know you would just like God to swoop in and make everything right. That’s not how God works. Know that God is working for the good even though you may not see it. God gives us the beautiful gift of free will and I pray that you and your wife will both be inspired to save your marriage. If she does not use her free will that way, it doesn’t mean God has abandoned you. Seek him with all your heart for he is close to the broken-hearted. He saves those who are crushed in spirit. I pray that God’s good and perfect will be done in your life.

  6. Reuben says:

    My wife and our children traveled abroad for a greener pasture in 2005 with the hope that I would join them so that we would all live happily together. I have been making efforts to get visa to travel to join them but all my applications were refused. I was granted visa in 2011 but was refused entry and was also banned from entering the country because of misrepresentation. My wife and children remained illegal alien after 13 years. I begged my wife to return so that we can live together as a family. She refused to return and vowed that she would never return to our country again and that I should go and remarry. I can’t visit her and the children as I have been banned and she has refused to return. I am a Christian, I have endured for 13 years and she has asked me to go and do anything I like that she won’t return to our country again. Please, what should I do? Should I remain like this forever?

    • Renee Ettline says:

      Reuben, You have many things to deal with that are beyond the scope of this ministry as we do not deal with the international and immigrant issues. It sounds like she has decided to abandon your marriage and that is very hard. I have faith that God will direct you in this issue if you seek him with all your heart. I’m sorry I cannot be of more assistance.

  7. BassPlayer 22 says:

    I made a TON of terrible choices in my new marriage, which lead to my ex-wife’s feelings of not being loved. We eventually decided that a divorce would be better for her / us since she declared that there was nothing I could do to help her feel comfortable at our new out of state home. The biggest problem I had was lashing back at her whenever she hurt my feelings in any way instead of leading with love. I probably followed too many women on IG to look at their pictures instead of treasuring the wife I had. Around a thirty days after our separation, I asked if she was willing to see a counselor and she refused… a month later, she told me she wanted to meet in person to talk but we only had an hour because I needed to go to church to help with my pain (she cancelled the day before because she had to work). Fast forward, I felt the undeniable urge to pursue reconciliation, and I felt like this was nothing but God pushing me to do so. I went to great lengths to read books, dive into prayer and work on all the things I did wrong. I even flew out to her city, had a church friend help to get her to a location just so I could talk to her, and follow up on a lengthy letter I sent apologizing for all my mistakes. Immediately after, she changed her number, and replied to my last email stating that there was no hope for reconciliation because she doesn’t want to, that she’s not comfortable with me anymore and that she doesn’t feel the same. I know that with God anything is possible, and a book I recently read called “I Do, Again” told of a story where a husband and wife divorced because of his wife’s infidelity, and they reconciled. My question… do I stand on God’s word that with Him, anything is possible, or do I take her for her very direct and clear words and move on? Sorry for the long message, but your prayers and time are greatly appreciated!

    • BassPlayer 22 says:

      She also kept saying that I was “settling” by being with her, and that we weren’t compatible due to the difference in educational background, family dynamics and financial standing. Those words couldn’t be further from the truth. I pursued her because of her heart for God, her knowledge of the Word, her athleticism, her sweet personality and beautiful eyes, hair and smile. At the end of the day, I guess if I treated her as a queen from the very beginning, I wouldn’t be in this situation. Thank you again.

      • Renee Ettline says:

        BassPlayer 22, I hear remorse in your words. I’m sorry for your pain. Now is a good time to ask yourself what God would have you learn from this experience. Write down your reflections so you can pray about them and reflect. God is with you as you work your way through this.

    • Renee Ettline says:

      That’s a tough question that requires a lot of prayer, faith, and patience. God certainly can do more than we ask or imagine. He also gives each of us free will. Please click over to this post, Why Doesn’t God Answer My Prayers? and see if it helps. God bless, Renee

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