In the past week, I discovered that two men -- both of whom I've known for 17 years -- have suffered the lost of their marriages since I last talked to them. Now, let me stress that I don't know any of the details, and I am NOT judging either these men or their spouses. That said, I have dwelt upon these two men, their wives, their families, and how these marriages crashed and burned.
One of the gentlemen was an Elder in his church, a father of six, and had been married upwards of 30 years. The other man had been married around 25 years, had four children, and served as a missionary in South American. I knew their wives. I knew some of their children. I RESPECT (present tense!) these men. And that's what prompts me to ask, "How?!"
No, I don't mean all the "ugly" little details that inevitably must emerge when a marriage crumbles. I mean, how do marriages survive today? How can they? How do Christians, married before God and the Church, "put asunder" what God has joined together? Again, no, I'm not looking for a debate of the Biblical grounds of divorce. I'm not looking for someone to wax eloquent on the "sin of divorce."
No one (at least not sincere Christians) would argue that divorce is a good thing. No Biblical Christians would say they entered marriage with the idea that it was a "temporary arrangement." And I also understand that divorce does not carry the social stigma it once did in the world, or even in the Church. In some ways, I think that is a good thing. In other ways, it's very, very bad.
This coming week, my wife and I will celebrate our 20th anniversary. Many of the couples we've known in that time -- at least half -- are now divorced. Most of these couples were also Christians. Dedicated Christians. Serving Christians. Godly, joy-filled people. Pastors, Elders, Deacons, Missionaries, laypeople.... Now divorced.
Forgive my exasperation, but, where are all the Godly married couples who've made it, and who've done so joyfully? People who've moved past the faults of their spouse to a place of peace and joy, love and acceptance, commitment and success? There are those like myself that need to find these jewels, so that they can be held up and admired. So that their lives could teach and inspire.
Life is hard. Marriage is harder. When I see so many so much like me who lose that sacred relationship... It reminds me of that scripture from Romans I believe, that goes "If the righteous scarcely saved, what of the sinners?" Or, maybe the old standby proverb, "there but for the grace of God go I..."
It leaves one very discouraged. It forces one to ask, "could I be next?" It makes one consider, "what would I do if this befell me?" Not pleasant things to contemplate. I pray for all these broken families....and I pray God preserves my relationship, and those of my friends.