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Let’s retire the phrase: “failed marriage” – Divorce Minister

David Derksen

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Let’s retire the awful phrase:

I find this phrase obnoxious for several reasons. In general, my objection to its use is how it communicates things that ought to have no place among God’s people.

Let me explain…

First, what do we mean by “failed marriage?”

This implies there are successful and unsuccessful marriages. Obviously, the phrase is a euphemism for marriages that end in divorce. So, that means all other marriages are successful marriages. Is that true? 

Is it true one is successful at marriage simply by staying married? I would say the answer is, “No.”

One could cheat and abuse but still not be labelled with a “failed marriage” as long as the chump they married stays married to them. That is a problem. I would not consider such marriages successful. More importantly, I would consider such marriages ungodly.

Marriages ended via infidelity did not fail. They were destroyed by the adulterous sins of one party.

Using the “failed marriage” label obscures this important moral fact. It shifts blame for the marriage ending across both parties. That is unjust and cruel to the victim of the adulterous behavior.

This “failed marriage” language creates a divorce-shaming culture where the goal is no longer godliness but staying together at all costs (including tolerating horrific sins like abuse and adultery).

The phrase “failed marriage” unjustly shifts blame to adultery victims, adds to unbiblical divorce shame, and enables sin to continue as long as the parties stay married. Its use has no place among God’s people!

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Republished with permission from www.divorceminister.com.

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