Thinking About Divorce


I’ve been thinking a lot about divorce lately…

For so many years I spent in Christian fundamentalism the topic was pretty black and white.

And in so many years since, I’ve learned that most of what was black and white before… isn’t really at all.

Good and bad, I define these terms
Quite clear, no doubt, somehow.
Ah, but I was so much older then,
I’m younger than that now.

How can I best serve a friend in dire straights?

Does divorce even mean anything anymore?

Or more importantly… does marriage? It seems that within our culture, marriage has come to be nothing more than two signatures on a sheet of paper.

It can be easily authenticated by Elvis and easily dissolved if someone cuts the cheese too frequently.

Even mainstream Evangelical denominations have deemed marriage so insignificant, that it has become totally unnecessary for a couple to be considered holy and healthy.

I remember reading Lauren Winner a while back, who is constantly stressing the value of community (and the lack thereof in our culture). She pointed out one aspect of the wedding ceremony of which I had never considered and has certainly shifted my wondering  “what’s the point…”

It is the community of witnesses… there on your wedding day… committing to this relationship just as much as the bride and groom.

By “holding our peace” we commit to serving this family—whatever that means.

And I guess that’s why I must be there for my friend today. I don’t have much wisdom to share or provocative questions that will enlighten his thinking. I most certainly cannot tell him what is right and wrong.

But I’ve got both a literal and a figurative shoulder to cry on if he needs it.

And a swift kick in the pants if he needs that.

And I know he’d have the same for me.

Comments 8

  1. amanda

    i definitely appreciate your viewpoint and certainly a lot of people are disilliusioned with marriage, but i don’t agree that there is no right and wrong in reasons for divorce. i’m not saying i know what they are or that any decision is ever an easy one, but i do believe the Bible has more answers than we’ve given it credit for because of our fundy roots that told us that absolutley EVERYTHING has a black and white right or wrong answer even if we needed to take scripture out of context and change the words to get it to mean what we wanted to. reading ephesians and genesis has been encouraging to me in understanding the meaning of marriage.

    1. Troy

      Thanks for the prayers Tim.

      Just to clarify for the world… I’m not thinking about getting a divorce…

      Just thinking about divorce.

      Amanda, thanks for your great thoughts.

      I’m not suggesting that there isn’t right or wrong when it comes to marriage or divorce… merely that it isn’t so simple as black and white.

  2. Brent

    My wife (Sue) and I are just finishing a challenging book called Sacred Marriage. The premis is “What if God Intended Marriage for our Holiness more than Our Happiness.” A must read for anyone considering marriage or trying to figure out the one they’re in.

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  4. Tiffany

    Definitely not sure how I missed this one. Wow. Divorce. Something I never thought would be a part of my life and it has… TWICE. I spent a lot of time reading and rereading and rereading scripture. I had to come to a day where I didn’t know how to make sense of what it said. (I do believe that there is a very deep context of what was going on culturally at this time which very few who quote these verses have taken the time to investigate). So, I came to this point where I was stuck in circles for a very long time thinking that this verse, that these verses just didn’t mirror the God that I knew. The God who has carried me through– twice. The God that breathed new life into me– again. The God that made it abundantly clear I was worthy of another chance. I don’t know how divorce became deemed as the one action that defies grace, the impardonnable sin of our time. (God can “forgive” you, but you are destined to spend the rest of your life alone and celibate thinking about what you’ve done). It may sound ridiculous, but if you stand on a soap box with these (isolated) verses in your hand, that is exactly what you are saying. Can you really look at that statement and see grace there? I couldn’t. And that is why I knew I may not ever understand what the Bible says about divorce… and that even if I did… I don’t believe it is black and white for every situation, every person. “Actions speak louder than words” and the actions of Jesus throughout the new testament… the actions of God throughout the old testament (he was a divorcee to you know)… tell me that you can abide by scripture and get a divorce, you can walk with God and get a divorce… you can even walk with God and get remarried (gasp)… maybe even more than once. If you start debating this… you start debating grace, forgiveness, unconditional love. You start debating who God is– at least to me. I do believe God hates divorce, I hate it too. It is terrible, and life altering, and devastating beyond the point you can ever imagine if you haven’t lived it, it is the closest thing to death I have ever experienced and I wouldn’t wish it upon my worst enemy. I understand why God hated it… but even he reached a point where he had no other option with Israel. So, you can hate divorce, but be careful of condemning it and those who have the very unfortunate experience of having to make this choice. Thanks, Troy for standing by your friend on this terrible day and talking about this important and controversial topic!

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