Divorce – What Do You Think?

Matthew 19:3-5 ““Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any reason at all?” And He answered and said, “Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning MADE THEM MALE AND FEMALE, and said, ‘FOR THIS REASON A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER AND BE JOINED TO HIS WIFE, AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH’?

 “Are you saying that God is against divorce? What are your beliefs on divorce? I go back and forth on that issue.” (Heather)

I would say uncategorically God is not in favor of divorce – it’s a path that one needs to ‘harden their hearts’ to entertain – and this happens a lot in this day in age. Nowhere in scripture is a person of faith ever taught to ‘divorce’ – but rather the opposite seems to be a focal point for scripture (ie: do not break what God has put together, etc).

The ideal state of marriage is to stay married – to work through the problems as a couple – and to find peace within that structure. We both know this isn’t always the case – but I find people are better quitters than survivors now a days. My wife and I are quite different – which is normal I think – and we have been together for 8 years (married for 4) and we have to deal with issues from time to time. What we do not do is ‘give up’ on one another in this relationship – we made that vow to one another…all things can be worked out. I find this is lacking in the marriage idea these days (for many people).

My view of marriage is that if it is at all possible – both sides need to humble themselves and reconcile. I find it strange that Trent, who clams to serve God, is even considering this path – I am beyond understanding on how he can justify such an action? I questioned him on Gracehead concering this – guess who got the boot? I think he knows where he sits on this issue – and I am guessing he thinks it is at the right hand of God – maybe he should ask Timothy and see what he says (if Timothy is truly a prophet – breaking marriage is not something he can advocate).

***On a side note – Timothy (at Gracehead) does not advocate divorce (for what that is worth)

What are your thoughts on ‘divorce’?

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13 thoughts on “Divorce – What Do You Think?

  1. let’s think of Matt in context. back in Jesus’ day, all one had to do to divorse his wife was to walk to the market and drop his sandle and announce “I divorce my wife Karen.” that was it.

    Let’s also think to whom Jesus would have been talking to… some women yes, but MOSTLY men! He’s saying “Hey you jerks, stick it out.” After all, Israel is supposed to protect the widow, orphan, and poor. So i think divorce is sometimes needed, but it should be the last resort.

  2. Divorce stinks. It is a terrible thing that shoulld be avoided if at all possible.

    That said, there are instances where there’s no other way, but to divorce.

    If a married couple can work things out, tough it out, do all in their power to not divorce…it is worth the effort.

  3. My partner in crime, Miz Pink, posted on divorce a long while back on my blog and I tend to agree with her views. (A two-part post, at http://holyhell.wordpress.com/2008/03/13/splitsville-by-miz-pink/ and http://holyhell.wordpress.com/2008/03/14/splitsville-2-by-miz-pink/ for anyone who cares).

    There is too much of a rush to divorce, I admit…but the biggest problem seems to be the rush to bad or ill advised marriages.

    I don’t think that all marriages are automatically sanctioned under God because so many of them are just stupid.

    But we need to approach marriage with more respect to begin with, and work hard at it…if we do that, divorce will decline markedly I am certain.

  4. I think I agree with Luke and theoldadam. Divorce is very undesirable. I believe in what you say about being better quiters. However, just surviving is not all that desirable or noble either. Thriving is the goal we ought to be seeking. My wife and I have been married for 15 years and together for 18 years and are committed to keep it going till we are dead. I think the problem is when people get married too soon before all that in love headiness is worn off. Then when it does, they think there is a problem, that they are not in love anymore and so jump ship. People shouldn’t get married, in my opinion, unless they have been in a relationship for a couple of years. Like so much else in life and health, prevention is where we need to focus our more of our efforts. That being said, divorce at times is the best option when all other avenues have been exhausted. I would never condemn someone for taking this path, but I think it needs to be pursued very carefully.

  5. I think one (among many) of the reasons divorce has become so prevalent is because our concept of Love has been so distorted. It has been completely twisted around to be about self. That kills relationships before they are out of the gate.

    That being said, I think there are a couple relatively clear grounds for divorce in the Bible – adultery (Matthew 19:9) and abandonment by an unbelieving spouse (1 Cor. 7:15). But even then, reconciliation should be pursued at all costs and divorce resorted to as an absolute last option.

    I believe that marriage is one of the great illustrators of God’s relationship with His covenant people, and as such should be fought for. I also believe that central to the idea of the image of God is the male-female union (Genesis 1:27 – “So God created man in His own image. In the image of God He created him. Male and female He created them.”). Somehow, “male and female” and “two becoming one” (Ge. 1:27, Ge. 2:24 and Mt. 19) express God’s image and character. Marriage really is sacred.

    I also think that valuing marriage at this level has to bring up the issue of remarriage, which is a tough one. Does God ever recognize a human divorce? In at least some cases, clearly not, as Mt. 19 indicates. A person is considered an adulterer if he or she remarries after a divorce, unless the divorce was legit based on the narrow biblical grounds. I would argue that that passage makes a clear case for the narrow grounds for a divorce, but not any kind of explicit case for remarriage. And what about the vows we take? Are those meaningless? Are we held to our word? Is there any place in Scripture that we get out of keeping our word?

    All of those are serious questions.

    I agree that it’s hard to be dogmatic about the fine points. While I personally could not perform a remarriage unless the original spouse was no longer living, I do not condemn those who have remarried, and I do not condemn those who have divorced.

    I do clearly speak the truth on divorce that falls outside of the biblical caveats, however.

    Imagine how much more credible Christians would be if we actually practiced the valuing of marriage the way we preach it…

  6. RevolutionInTheSpirit encapsulates one of the “big questions” nicely with:

    Does God ever recognize a human divorce?

    But I would ask as well:

    Does God recognize all marriages?

    Why would He? What makes a marriage a marriage…and what makes one something that “God has put together?”

    I don’t think that a marriage conducted in a church “before God” necessarily makes it a real marriage. There are so many reasons people marry, and so many of them bad ones.

    It really complicates things, because it isn’t as simply as saying all marriages are God-sanctioned.

  7. “Imagine how much more credible Christians would be if we actually practiced the valuing of marriage the way we preach it…”

    Credible? Christians? By their example?

    Well, it’s a good thought…but it’s never going to happen. We are just as fallen as everybody else.

    Now, sinners proclaiming Christ…because of what He has done for them and for others…now that would be more valuable than credibility…because it would be Christ centered.

  8. “abandonment by an unbelieving spouse” (RITS)

    But the question is with this ‘statement’ – what does that mean? Is it just abandonment because someone does not believe like you anymore – or that someone abandoned the person and left them ‘in the cold’ so to speak? It’s a strange grounds for divorce in this day in age – what does this look like now?

    “Somehow, “male and female” and “two becoming one” (Ge. 1:27, Ge. 2:24 and Mt. 19) express God’s image and character. Marriage really is sacred” (RITS)

    I am not sure they express God’s image whatsoever – none of those scriptures make mention of that. That’s deductive work from a trintiarian viewpoint – of something that does not get mentioned in the passages themselves. One could easily make the deduction from Genesis 1:27 also that God is ½ man and ½ woman – physically (if they chose to make this assumption).

    According to the story of Adam and Eve (Gen 2) – Eve is made from Adam’s rib – thus called woman (because she was taken out of man – vs. 23). Their coming back together is the uniting of Adam once again (what was taken is back). In some sense – Adam is incomplete without that mate (vs 18) and the retutn of the ‘rib’ to Adam is adding that completeness back. Take that for whatever it is worth – many connotations in this idea.

    I am guessing you do not believe in same sex marriage (I deduced this from your comments)? I am guessing also it is okay for these people (gay) to be ‘without a partner’ – even though God had to change His original creation (very important to Him) for Adam to have a partner? I don’t know about that myself.

    “I do not condemn those who have remarried, and I do not condemn those who have divorced” (RITS)

    No, but you won’t re-marry them – which is actually an action that speaks volumnes. If I was looking to be re-married and you refused to it – I would take that as semi slap in the face (and refusing to it – is that not condemnation?).

    “Imagine how much more credible Christians would be if we actually practiced the valuing of marriage the way we preach it…” (RITS)

    I agree – the value of marriage is pretty low – has a 50% approval rating. I think our society is one of convenience – and marriage just happens to get treated like everything else we come into contact with – if it ain’t convenient – it needs fixing.

  9. “Does God ever recognize a human divorce? But I would ask as well: Does God recognize all marriages?” (Dblue)

    If we follow the logic of this path we are getting into way too much speculation – like is that marriage legit because it might not be – and that’s just not going to cut it anymore (for me anyways). The speculation could go on 4-ever when you think about – without any solid evidence backing the question – and one could wonder if their own marriage is ‘legit’ (on the basis of nothing but questions).

    If someone chooses to marry someone else – by their own admission and before some legal entity – they are by all means ‘married’. This was their choice to do – they are recognized by witnesses as having committed the act – good enough for me.

    Now when they divorce – this is not ‘God’s will’ – this is my personal stand – but it happens. Just like how ‘war’ is not God’s will – but it happens. As humans we do take lesser than the best standards at times for a variety of reasons – distancing ourselves from the standard – but able to recognize, if it was at all possible, we would of saved the marriage and kept the standard. Sometimes divorce has to happen – but it does not mean we need to change the viewpoint ‘don’t divorce’ as our standard (it just means we could not live up to it in certain cases).

    For example, ‘do not murder’ is a good standard to live by…but sometimes people do kill others in self defense. Should we make a new law for ‘self defense’ and justify murder? No. The murder was a horrible act that ended with someone dying – we cannot condone that. But we can recognize the deviation from the standard and what happened in the scenario of self-defense was a ‘deviation’ from the original standard we all abide by – do not murder – anyone! The standard stays – the deviation is noted – but the standard does not change to read ‘do not murder – except in cases of self defense’.

    I am not making sense am I? I guess all I mean is we have been given a standard of living by these teachings – and when we deviate from them – we need to recognize that we deviate from a good standard to one of something not as good (maybe even evil). This way we recognize our path back to repentance and vow to honor the standard (despite the deviation).

  10. I guess what I’m getting at, SocietyVs, isn’t so much that I think we need a special rule or that there’s even an answer to my question.

    I totally get your points.

    I suppose what I’m really getting at is that as unsavory as divorce is, I think the problem these days is that the marriages (and I’m talking supposedly religious-based marriages at the moment) never had God at their center to begin with. Lust, maybe. Love without consideration for the long haul considerations, probably. God, rarely.

  11. “never had God at their center to begin with. Lust, maybe. Love without consideration for the long haul considerations, probably. God, rarely” (Dblue)

    For some of that – I agree – lust plays it part in marriage (or attraction). But even if God is not at the centre of the marriage – is it not still a marriage? I think it is – 2 people made committments to one another – before witnesses (usually 2) – and whether God sanctified/blessed that marriage or whatever God does in this process – the marriage took place in our reality (and thats all we can go by).

    I have thought about what you said concerning recognizing marriage and have even proposed that idea myself (to a certain degree) – but I realize if we have to define marriage – we have to go with proofs and not so much theologizing. I personally do not hold much respect for the actual ceremony surrounding marriage – but the fact I have been with my wife for 8 years (4 of those married by law) – I see we were likely married in our hearts prior to actual legal marriage (by that I mean committed to one another for the long haul) – but we made it offical with the ceremony and legalities.

  12. Ceremony and ritual are core to many of our beliefs. You add a level of commitment when you go through the process. It may not mean its absolute, but for many it has a powerful emotional and psychological affect.

    I wonder about your murder analogy. Is there not a difference between killing someone and Murdering them?

  13. “I wonder about your murder analogy. Is there not a difference between killing someone and Murdering them?” (John)

    Thta depends – is it neccesary to add a qualifier to ‘murder’? To me, killing some is what it says – killing them (which is the essence of the dictionary definition of murder). I know if I killed someone – even in self defence – sleeping at night knowing what I did would still be a little rough.

    I think living by an ideal is quite the key there – the ideal being ‘do not murder’. This tells me I do not have the right to take human life – and should not be considered an option in any circumstances. I will admit there are some circumstances (like a home invasion) where the situation and the standard are in serious terms of ‘breach’ and very possibly someone may get ‘killed’…but the standard does not change because the situation of some extreme occurs. (Also how I look at divorce)

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