Family matters — what the Bible says about marriage and divorce

Matthew 19
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holding hands

You’re holding my hand, Chuck. You sly dog, you.

There are several more passages in the Bible beyond this one regarding marriage. I am only concerned with the Scripture at hand.

This will also not be a discussion about gay marriage, as much as people would like to make it such. Too bad.

It has only been the past few generations that patriarchy has diminished.  It used to be a “man’s world” (haven’t you seen Stepford Wives?), and guys could get away with pretty much anything.  Jewish society was incredibly man-centered, and in many ways, it still is. When Jesus was tested by the Pharisee’s in this instance, men could do no wrong. In fact, according to Deuteronomy 24, they could divorce their wives for any reason.

Both Jesus and the Pharisees know about this passage. The Pharisees are looking to trip him up over His own purported Word, to find some contradiction and ruin His reputation. Their motivation has nothing to do with marriage. Nonetheless, Jesus answers the question:

… “Have you not read that He who made them at 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’? So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.”

He continues to explain why divorce was “allowed” back in the day, but that it was never intended to happen.

Then why are Christians still divorcing their wives today? Jesus wasn’t being cryptic. The verse is clear: we are capable of separating, but God would rather not have that happen, because if He’s in it, it’s holy. Hopefully, God IS the conjoining factor in your marriage. Like holy glue.

Also, a common misconception is that Christians have the same divorce rate as everyone elseHowever, if a professing Christian couple is actively involved in their faith, this statistic is dramatically skewed.

If you believe the Bible is entirely true, you are less likely to divorce your wife. The rate is still way too high, but it’s better than you think.

But this is not an excuse — this should encourage us further to stay faithful.  Quit looking at porn, stop wondering “what if”, and actually have meaningful talks with your spouse. The only acceptable reason for a divorce is blatant infidelity — and if you really meant it when you said, “I do,” this shouldn’t really be a problem.

Check your Bible.  Marriage, in the spiritual sense, is a holy, everlasting union between man and woman. The government can say what they want, but that’s what it is. Don’t ruin it by being stupid.  Suck it up and stick it out.  Doing otherwise will just raise questions and create statistics.

Some useful resources I found:
USA Today stats: http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/religion/2011-03-14-divorce-christians_N.htm

Friggen huge discourse on marriage/divorce: http://www.raystedman.org/new-testament/mark/what-about-divorce

A counterargument by an idiot that forgot “Christian” is a label people use to affiliate themselves with a religion they don’t really adhere to: http://godisimaginary.com/i38.htm — this site is pretty vicious, so be careful.

Some general numbers about divorce rates: http://www.divorcerate.org/

Have your say!

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3 Comments

  1. In this day in age when roles sometimes are switched, we sometimes forget what our role is in the relationship. In intimacy, we tend to not take the action our partners want us to take and in love, we don’t tend to do our partners expect our role to do.

    Reply
    • I agree. I’m relatively new to marriage, and because of our respective backgrounds, we’ve really had to work at defining who the husband and who the wife are, admittedly. Recognizing who’s who has definitely preserved our marriage. Being willing to serve each other in love has also been pertinent.

      Reply
  2. “The only acceptable reason for a divorce is blatant infidelity…” So if your spouse is physically, emotionally, verbally abusive you should just “suck it up and stick it out”? You know, most of the “good Christians” crying about “the sanctity of marriage” and blasting gays for wanting equal rights have been through not only one, but multiple divorces themselves. I unfortunately know many like this. Its good to see someone turning it around and showing that if they want marriage to be a respected union they themselves have to actually respect it, but there are way more factoring issues that can turn a relationship into a toxic and unhealthy one then just infidelity.

    Reply

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