Tag Archives: divorce

The Question of Divorce

To understand why “God hates divorce” you have understand a little about the God of the Bible. The God of the Bible is described in many ways, and being the God of the universe, He has an infinite number of attributes.  However, a simple description of God, one that Jesus uses to describe Himself is that of a good shepherd.  A good shepherd’s primary concern is for the safety and well-being of his sheep.  He does not want anything bad to happen to them.  When you understand this, you see what is behind the various laws and pronouncement in the Bible.   The laws are for our good.  So when He gives the Ten Commandments it is because those laws are good for his sheep.  If you think about it – if everyone followed the Ten Commandments the world would be a better place.  And so it goes with God “hating” divorce.  He hates divorce because of what divorce does to women and children and ultimately the fathers who traditionally wielded the power of divorce.

The United States has a culture of divorce.  The United States has the second highest divorce rate in the world; second only to Russia.  Americans love marriage but they also apparently love divorce.  So…Americans are supposed to be very religious but they also have very high divorce rates (some studies show that the most conservative States have the highest divorce rates).  Why then does God hate divorce?  Probably because he knows what it does to his sheep.

If you are contemplating divorce here are some things to consider:  Divorce is financially devastating.  The economics of marriage is such that it takes two incomes in order to be part of the middle class.  Let me repeat – two incomes.  If you get divorced, studies show that the woman’s finances drop in half.  Think about living on half of your income.  Studies show that males lose about a third of their means.  Men, on average, are hurt a little less by a divorce (they often re-marry quickly).  The husband and the wife risk losing a middle class life.  If there are children – the mom becomes a single mom statistic – a sad reality.  Divorce separates children and parents.  Think you have trouble with kids now?  Wait to you no longer have a partner around to help with the heavy lifting.  Wait till you have no money to keep your children in the lifestyle to which they are accustomed.  The reality is, divorce leads to resentment.  Children resent that they have to move back and forth between two parents.  They also resent that they spend so little time with their parents.  Divorce separates children and parents because now they have only half the time together than they used to.  Whatever time you have with your children must be cut in half.  After all the time that is factored in to for work there is precious little time for your kids. Dads who divorce often say to me, “after the divorce I will spend more time with my kids”.  This is a nice sentiment, but the research shows that fathers spend even less time with their kids after divorce.  Divorce separates children from God.  Recent studies show that children of divorce are often less religious than their parents.  Children of divorce feel lonely much of the time because they lack a parent (usually a dad) and this tends to make them feel less close to God.  Families are the environment that nurtures religious sentiment but non-intact families have a hard time modeling biblical view of God the Father that is healthy.

Separation from a spouse is the purpose of divorce.  However divorce separates parents from their financial stability, it separates them from their children more than they realize, and ultimately it can make it more difficult for them to have a healthy view of God.  Divorce generally hurts women and children and that is why God hates it.  He hates things that threaten the well-being of his sheep.  But Jesus did allow for divorce – he allowed divorce specifically for infidelity because unfaithfulness sends a very different wrong message about God’s character.  God is a faithful God and He will care for you; married or divorced.  However, if you are thinking about divorce make sure you count the full cost.

Thoughts on DOMA

This week the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was struck down.  I am a generally an apolitical individual and this blog is about marriage.  It’s the marriage part that bears some relevance here.  DOMA was a federal law put in place to appease conservatives who wanted to protect a traditional view of marriage.  President Bill Clinton signed DOMA – which is why it applies in federal settings – as a way to get some legislation he wanted passed.  In a sense, this was a very cynical law.  Even when he signed it, I believe he knew that it would eventually be done away with by either other legislation or the courts.  This week the courts pronounced the inevitable.

A traditional view of marriage is now ultimately a thing of the past in this country.  By traditional, I mean marriage between one man and one woman.  There is now no going back.  More States will provide marriage and full rights to gay partners and someday other arrangements will be accepted as legitimate as well (such as polygamy).  I follow this issue as a Professor who teaches on the topic of Marriage and Family for my college.  With my class we have had lively discussions about the arguments for and against gay marriage.  For purposes of debate some of the arguments are not only interesting but instructive.  In the introductory chapter of my book, Perfect Circle:  A Husband’s Guide to the Six Tasks of a Contemporary Christian Marriage, I mention that the United States has the second highest divorce rate on the planet.  The country with the highest rate is Russia our old Cold War rivals.  Clearly, neither side of that conflict has a good handle on sustaining marriages.  This leads to the gay argument that gay couples can do better than heterosexuals in avoiding divorce.   Perhaps they can, but only for a while.  Human nature and our sin nature are not undone by our political maneuverings.  Marriage takes work.  It takes a reliance on the Holy Spirit and guidance by the Bible.   There are many tasks that need to be accomplished in our unique contemporary setting if marriage is to be sustained, hence my book to help husbands love their wives.

I plead with my brethren in traditional marriages like my own to take up the challenge offered by the gay lobby, “Can we have marriages that last longer and are more loving than theirs?”  Regardless of how you feel about the politics of the gay agenda, here is a way to respond in most non-hypocritical manner possible.  Show everyone that you can create a successful and sustaining marriage.  Study the Bible and study what makes marriage work.  That will be an indefensible defense of your marriage.