The NYTimes story entitled Once Rare in Rural America, Divorce Is Changing the Face of Its Families, argues that a big part of the reason for more divorces in rural areas is that women in those places are better able to afford to live on their own. A similar claim has been made for the increase in the divorce rate that was seen in the second half of the last century. Sadly, I must agree that this is a major factor.
So women are getting divorced just because they can? No, that’s not what I mean. What I am suggesting is that we have not taken marriage as seriously as we should, and have not done nearly enough as husbands, families, communities, and churches to make marriages what they should be. I fear we traditionally considered a lack of divorce as proof that marriages were in good shape, while in reality the lack of divorce was more about the fact that women found staying in a bad, horrible, miserable, and even abusive marriage to be better than what they would have to deal with if they divorced.
Yes, I have harped on this a good deal recently (and will get off it for a while after this). I keep bringing it up because I don’t think we are getting it. I don’t think churches are getting it, and I fear many husband’s are not getting it. Marriage is a very good deal for the vast majority of men (including most who complain), but this is not the case for as many women. Just because women have put up with this for centuries (because they had no real choice) does not mean it is right, or good, or that they will continue to put up with it now that they have a choice. I am not “giving them an excuse” to divorce, rather I am trying to make men aware that women are tired of being second class citizens. It would also be nice if guys realised that how we have traditionally treated wives is WRONG even for those married to a woman who tolerates it.
Let’s raise the bar for how a wife should be treated; let’s raise that bar a great deal. Start with your bride, and love her the way God loves you.
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