Famed pastor John Piper made it clear in a recent podcast that “falling out of love” is no excuse for divorce and he delivered a powerful message about what marriage really means.
Piper made his comments while responding to a man whose son wants a divorce after just two years of marriage.
The man explained that his son is “no longer in love” with his wife and is unhappy, with the dad asking for Piper’s advice on how to explain to his son that falling out of love isn’t moral grounds for a divorce.
“We would be naïve, I think, to suppose that people, young or old — our own children or those of others — will act on the basis of reason and biblical truth when it comes to justifying divorce,” Piper said. “I would guess that 95 cases out of 100 people do what they want to do and then find reasons to do it. Those who claim to believe the Bible will find biblical reasons to do it.”
Piper said that Christians should pray for people who find themselves in such a circumstance. But he also spoke of finding a balance between truth and love when addressing divorce with friends and loved ones. Piper continued:
Having said that, I totally believe in speaking the truth in love because it’s God’s way. It’s God’s design that people should know the truth and the truth would set them free. And that context is free from sin, like leaving your wife.
I would hang my thoughts on three words: joy, significance, and ownership. I would try to make those three words as compelling and winsome as I can, but also as forceful as Jesus and the apostles did for the sake of staying married.
Piper went on to make an interesting point about couples who are married for decades, saying that he believes they fall in and out of love a number of times throughout their union.
He said that he finds it “ludicrous” to assume couples remain “in love” in the same way throughout 60 years of marriage or more, and that it’s immature to see staying in a marriage as hinging merely on being in a perpetual state of love.
In the end, Piper said it’s all about keeping a promise and a covenant. He lamented the modern selfishness that has overtaken so many and has, in turn, led to divorce and multiple marriages.
“In a relationship between two sinners forced to live as close as married couples live, it is naïve to think that every season will be one of warmth and sweetness and sexual romance,” he said. “That’s just contrary to almost the entire history of the world and contrary to every makeup of fallen human nature.”
Read and listen to everything Piper had to say about divorce and love here.