As I expected, I’ve taken some heat for this series. It is a difficult and painful issue, and most people have strong feelings about it. The comments have been decent; some of the e-mails show much more pain and anger. There have been some good points I had not considered.
Let me clarify a few things I have apparently not made clear, then offer a few scriptures I think are relative.
- First, this series is not for the man who is facing divorce because of his wife’s adultery.
- Because several have suggested or said it (mostly by e-mail) let’s be clear: adultery by the wife is NOT the most common reason for a wife to divorce. It’s tough to get great stats, but for the US and the UK it seems adultery is a factor in, at most, 20% of divorces, with the man being guilty more often than the woman.
- I am not advocating giving the power to stay or divorce to the wife; I am trying to deal with the reality she already has that power. In the USofA, it is legally impossible to stop anyone who wants a divorce. This is also true for most “Western nations” although many make it more difficult and much slower if the spouse does not go along (which might or might not help).
- It seems to me we must choose between saving the marriage and trying to win the divorce. I don’t see how you can do both, as some of the actions required for each are detrimental to the other. This means having to make a hard choice. Personally, I would choose to try to save the marriage even understanding doing so could cost me if it ends in divorce. In some cases that may not be the best choice, but there needs to be a lot of prayer and seeking of advice before committing to either course of action.
It’s been suggested I am telling men to be meek. I’ve been told women cannot respect a weak man. I have certainly seen men lose their wife because they never took a stand, even when they should have. If the situation is clearly one of her sin, then yes, he needs to stand up. However, it is not primarily about her sin nearly as often as some men want to believe, and it’s very rare for it to be just about her sin. If the man has failed to hear his wife, which is rather common, and has thus failed to address her needs and concerns, he will blow it by taking a strong stand. Not only is it not going to help, it’s just flat wrong. Of course, it’s tough to convince men they missed signs and are largely at fault. I know how tough this is because I’ve tried. More than once I’ve had a fellow tell me after his divorce that I was right, he was not hearing what his wife was saying, and should have listened and acted. I’ve also seen some guys “get it” at the eleventh hour and managed to not only save their marriage, but develop a truly great marriage.
Below are some scriptures I think we should apply to marriage. These Scriptures show us how Jesus was, or how He told us to be. None of these is about marriage, but I think they can and should be applied to marriage. I will refrain from making comments on these and let the Lord speak to you, as He wants. (All scriptures in the ESV, words of Jesus in red)
“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.” MT 5:7
“…I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” [Mt 11:29b]
“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you.” [MT 5:38-42]
“He will not quarrel or cry aloud, nor will anyone hear his voice in the streets; a bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not quench, until he brings justice to victory;” [MY 12:12-25
“So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.” [MT 5:23-24]
And one more, which to me says we need to understand the legal system, and it’s biases, before we decide how to fight a divorce. Don’t follow a strategy that can’t work!
“For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace.” [LK 14:28-32]
Links to blog posts that stood out to me this last week:
Note: Due to more life than time, I’ve not done all my blog reading yet. Should get the rest tomorrow.
Battle for a Great Marriage
Do You Want Your Wife to Feel Cared For?: Have you just given up? You can’t win so why try?
Black and Married with Kids
Becoming Friends, Again: Are you so busy being married you have stopped being friends?
How To Handle Your Wife – The Daddy’s Girl: Great thoughts from a self-proclaimed daddy’s girl.
Eight Ways To Be More Charitable Toward Your Spouse: This is a great read!
Would You Cut Off Your Marriage If It Was Your Hand?: A brilliant read for anyone who does not see divorce as a life changing disaster.
Couple Things Blog
Happily Married After
Heroic Love is for Movies: Are you loving day in and day out?
I Wish Kim Kardashian Had Read This : When I hear “Kardashian” I still think “Deep Space 9”, but this is great advice for any newlywed (or not so newly wed) couple.
You Are NOT the Exception : Once again David says what I think, and better (and shorter) than I would say it. This is a MUST READ!
Hot, Holy and Humorous
When My Sex Life Sucked – Part 2 : This part is for couples, so jump in.
Intimacy in Marriage
Why I Cried When We Made Love: PLEASE READ THIS ONE!!!
Journey to Surrender
Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage
Automatic vs. Intentional : Is your marriage intentional, or is it stuck on automatic?
To Vent or Not to Vent? That is the Question: Great thoughts – and yes, men vent too!
One Flesh Marriage