My marriage is in bad shape. I have dug pretty thoroughly and do not believe there has been any actual sexual activity by my wife with anyone else. However, I have discovered other things that cause me to seriously doubt whether this marriage can ever rise to the level of mediocre. I now see her with eyes of contempt mixed with love (still). It's a weird/unpleasant combination.Keeping in mind that I am no expert on the subject and my preference for the abstract probably renders me a sub-optimal choice of agony aunt, I will say that X appears to have the correct attitude for a Christian man in an ugly situation. He has made his bed, he is lying in it, and he is not going to get out of it if he cannot do so without it being in accordance with God's Word. So, let's look at what it says in the definitive word on the subject in Matthew 19:3-11
I would greatly appreciate your views on what are biblically solid grounds for divorce. I have come to the edge where I am about to prefer divorce over trying to rebuild/game up/man up/whatever. However, my preference does not matter if it violates God's commands. I would rather suffer in obedience to God than seek pleasure in rebellion.
Some Pharisees came to him to test him. They asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?”It doesn't get much more clear than that. A lousy marriage and a bad relationship are not an excuse for divorce. Mental and physical abuse are not an excuse for divorce. Concern that the children will be maltreated are not an excuse for divorce.
“Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’[a] and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’[b]? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”
“Why then,” they asked, “did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away?”
Jesus replied, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.”
The disciples said to him, “If this is the situation between a husband and wife, it is better not to marry.” Jesus replied, “Not everyone can accept this word, but only those to whom it has been given. For there are eunuchs who were born that way, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by others—and there are those who choose to live like eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. The one who can accept this should accept it.”
However, Jesus describes divorce and then remarriage as adultery. So, this doesn't mean that divorce is completely off the table, only that one is condemning himself to a life of post-divorce celibacy. For there are is one other relevant command that would appear to permit divorce, although not subsequent remarriage.
2 Corinthians 6:14 Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common?
This appears to indicate that one should not marry or remain married to an unbeliever. However, as per Matthew 19, remarriage is not permitted. So, I am left to conclude that in the absence of any sexual activity on his wife's part with anyone else or her overt and explicit rejection of Jesus Christ, X cannot divorce her.
So, I recommend this verse from Colossians to him. Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them. I have read that the word "harsh" here can also mean "bitter". X very may well have reason to be bitter, but it is important for him to avoid taking out that bitterness on his wife, as it can serve no positive purpose. On the practical side, reading Athol Kay may be of some assistance, but X is simply going to have to accept that some things cannot be fixed, they can only be endured.
At the end of the day, no one forced X to make a life commitment to the woman concerned. He chose to do so, and now he has to make the best of it. The Army doesn't let you out when you belatedly realize that volunteering to let people with guns try to shoot you was a bad idea either. My thought is that it is time for him to begin focusing on the other aspects of his life that do not depend upon his wife while doing what he can to improve his marital relationship even in the knowledge that improvement may not be possible. The silver lining is that if there is even a modicum of love remaining, there is still hope that the marriage can heal and transform into a positive, mutually beneficial relationship.
One of the problems men in unhappy marriages face is that they let their marital unhappiness dominate all aspects of their lives. But that's simply not necessary, and a man should maintain his mission and his code regardless of whether his marriage is idyllic or horrific, and indeed, regardless of whether he is married or not.
Marriage is not to be entered into lightly. Christian men should not be encouraged to marry if they are not fully ready to embrace the serious commitment it entails. If a man has any doubts, any doubts at all, about the woman with whom he is contemplating marriage, then he should not marry her.