The news, social media, general conversation and anywhere in between has recently been abuzz with the topic of marriage. Gay, straight, created by God, governed by law, valuable, pointless, all of these have been raised. Regardless of the position you hold, I hold fast to the belief that it is the most amazing idea, something only God could create, sustain and perhaps end. I have been amazed at the positions both for and against marriage as they seem to miss one vital truth. This truth seems to escape much of the arguments, this truth is so simple, yet few have raised it. The truth is that marriage is perfect!
The greatest challenge to this truth arrives in the fact that it requires 2 imperfect people to make it work. That is really what I have seen come to the surface lately, not the deconstruction of marriage, its values or its routes. What I have seen plastered over every spare page, be it print or electronic is a testimony to our selfishness and desire to make everything suit me, what I want, when I want it.
I have my view on Gay marriage, I have my view on divorce and it is informed by what I read in the bible, not my opinion or my desire. I don’t believe I need to push my opinion in this piece suffice to say, as a general rule, I don’t have to agree with what you do to love who you are and my disagreement with your actions does not indicate a hatred for who you are. Something that did sadden me is how so many believers were disgusted by the legalisation of gay-marriages, but very few are as vocal about divorce. Surely the 2 are not mutually exclusive?
But today, I am challenged more by the latter. It seems as if we want to go to the mattresses against the “wrong” people getting married, but don’t make a sound when the “right” people get divorced. It seems as if the words “I promise” have lost all power. When I stood in front of my bride, declared my love for her and made promises to her, it didn’t contain a proviso or a “subject to” clause. I promised to love her, stay with her, choose her and not divorce her. I’m not sure about others but those declarations seem quite finite. The clincher for me is that not only did I make her those promises, but the people around me, God and my unborn children.
Given the challenges created by divorce for children, I’m inclined to say that the most important question to ask the parents of a child with behavioural, social or emotional challenges is “How’s your marriage?”. I know some people have terrible marriages, some people are hurt, some people feel they have no option, but the reality is, it could never have happened without 2 people committing and it cannot withstand life’s challenges without those same 2 people continuing to commit. The marriages that fail, typically, have at least one person who has given up on that commitment. Sure it can present itself differently from one marriage to another, but someone gave up!
The sad reality is that many of these marriages contain children, children who pretend to be hiding while they listen to your fights, children who act as sounding boards for mom/dad’s rants, children who have to shoulder burdens they are too young to manage, children who are torn between parents, expected to choose a side, filled with guilt and continually let down. These children are being broken down by the choices of those who were meant to guard them against all hurt. There are far too many children who are becoming victim to the desire of their parents to break a promise.
Mom’s and Dad’s, I know things may appear difficult, even impossible, but can I be so bold to say that you have no idea of the size of the ripples of pain and guilt you will create in your child’s life with the selfish choice you are about to make. I am a child of divorce so I fully understand and appreciate the fall out.
As much as I can appreciate that there may be times where no other option appears viable, let’s remember, divorce was only made possible in response to man’s hardened hearts, not God’s perfect will!
I suppose this message is primarily meant for people who classify themselves as Christians, but given that we should be the custodians of marriage and have lately given more attention to the exclusivity of the club rather than the upholding of its values, I reckon it’s fair comment.
So basically, I think we need a paradigm shift when it comes to understanding the value of marriage. It isn’t simply a nice to have, something we engage in so long as it suits us. Marriage echoes the weight of Christ’s sacrifice for all people, it stands as a testimony that two people once separate can be joined as one, relying on, protected by and living for one purpose, for eternity. I suppose similar to what Christ did for us and if related to the foundation of our belief, deserving of our utmost attention, effort, protection and focus. Thoughts?