People often ask my views on divorce. Especially Christian folks! The big question they have is, “Do you think it is okay to get a divorce” or “What do you believe God thinks about divorce?” Never mind that I am divorced…here is something I must say, they are missing the real question.
In most cases it is not a mutual decision to get a divorce so let’s focus on that scenario. And since it is almost always women asking for my opinion on the morality of divorce…we will focus on that situation in the following paragraphs. Trust me, I know men leave as well, but I’ve yet to have one ask me if they did the right thing.
Let’s say Jane is done with her husband John, she has gotten to the point where there is no doubt in her mind she is no longer in love. At this point, she and her circle of influence will become very selfish. Don’t get angry with me, because that will make sense here in a moment. Jane will seek advice from friends and family, and most of them will focus on her feelings. They’ll tell her to get counseling. She will reply that they tried to do so and it didn’t work…she thinks he is a decent man, but she doesn’t love him. She is done!
People will continue to focus on whether she should leave since John hasn’t really given her a reason. Fundamental Christians will tell her that she must stay in the marriage, and ride-out the oath she took before God! So before we get to the question let’s ask the obvious one people haven’t asked, “What about John? What’s best for him?”
John is somewhat oblivious to all that is going on behind the scenes, but he’ll soon find out, and then even he will likely miss the real question. Once Jane is able to overcome the excruciating guilt and pain of knowing she is about to hurt someone she has the talk with John. She tells him that she wants a divorce. He asks if their is someone else, which is a fair question, but the wrong one. He’ll ask if there is anything he can do to save the marriage, which is a great question.
Jane will tell him there is nothing he can do to save the marriage, because she has likely been thinking about this for a couple of years. Then emotions start swirling as the conversation rapidly moves in circles, which is appropriate because a tornado is about to plow through the family. However, when the storm begins to calm hopefully John will ask the question someone should have already asked him. “John, do you really want to remain married to someone who doesn’t love you, or would you prefer to be set free to find a woman who will love you with all of her heart?”
I personally think it is selfish to stay with someone you don’t love. We know that love is an action, and to live with someone who is not actively showing you love is miserable. It causes a strange sense of loneliness. One where you lie in bed next to each other, but the void makes you feel hundreds of miles apart. And life is too short to be miserable and lonely.
So what does Jesus think of divorce? He told us to love one another (even our enemies) so its a safe bet that He prefers people stay together. However, would He tell someone to stay in a marriage where they feel lonely, unloved, abandoned, or neglected?
If Jane had gone to Jesus and asked if it was okay for her to get divorced I personally don’t think He would’ve focused on her. He would focus on John once He heard the story. He would not want someone to live without love. Now, the question you may have is, “Will God punish Jane?”
I don’t believe God punishes anyone, but I do believe there are always consequences for every decision. And regardless of who wants the divorce…99% of the time it feels like hell pours down on to earth! The only good thing to come from a divorce is that you lose about 30 lbs! You may also lose half your 401K, but I digress.
People want to look at God’s commandments or the teachings of Jesus as rules that must be followed or they will be punished. The story of Jesus is about LOVE, LOVE, AND MORE LOVE! Why do you tell your child not to touch the hot stove? Because you love them! And if they do touch the hot stove do YOU punish them? No, you didn’t have to because there are consequences to not following wise advice or laws.
If you are considering divorcing someone who is a decent human, not neglectful or abusive, and is faithful and loves you…I would plead with you to do all you can to make it work. I say this as a man who has been dating again for 6 years. You don’t want a role in this shit show unless you are miserable. Remember, sometimes the grass looks greener, because it’s covering sewage. However, there are also some incredible people, and you can find a needle in a haystack.
Eventually, if you can’t love someone then I believe it is only fair to give them the choice to go find someone who will be committed to them. They may even thank you for it one day. Unfortunately, it could also be one of the worst mistakes of your life.
So, to divorce or not to divorce? It is a question that can only be answered in hindsight. Thankfully, we don’t ever have to question God’s love for us. I do believe with all of my heart that He does want all of us…those married and dating to quit hurting one another. And to realize the way we love others is the way we truly love Him.
In August of 2022 I was sitting in a church service, and the pastor was talking about relationships. I am not one to say, “God spoke to me” but it felt like He did at that moment. It was as if He said, “Tony, you are to honor and cherish the women you date. They belong to me.” And honestly, I was not seeing the amazing women God brought into my life through His eyes. So maybe the real question is, How will we choose to treat the daughters or sons of God?
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