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.
I found this video on the great blog site – “To Love Honor and Vacuum”. It is a video of Chris Hedges discussing what he learned about the malicious treatment of women in the porn industry. Porn will kill your marriage but it also harms women. See the chapter on “Avoid” in my book Perfect Circle.
Take a look at Song of Solomon chapter 4 in the Bible. It’s worth a quick read. The husband is praising the beauty of his wife and he is really over the top and quite explicit in his praise of her body. Then in verse 7, he sums in all up by saying she is “flawless or without spot or blemish”. She is perfect! Such is young love, but that is how he sees her. No woman is actually perfect but that is how love works.
Of course this is a very non-subtle metaphor for how God sees the church, his bride, in Christ. God looks at us in love and sees us perfect. Not because we are perfect (we are not) but God see us in Christ. This is same language in Ephesians chapter 5, where Paul tells husbands to love their wives as Christ loves the church. It tells husbands to present their wives to God without spot or blemish. How can this happen if we never start seeing them the way God does in Christ?
Now let’s talk man to man. How do you view your wife? Is she perfect in your eyes? If not, maybe you are not loving her with the eyes of faith or from the perspective of grace. This really is a choice. Love looks past the faults and flaws and sees the perfection. According to research, men who feel that they have “married up” have better marriages than those who do not. Zig Zigler, the wildly successful motivational speaker always said that he had a great marriage simply because he counted himself so lucky to be married to his wife. He placed her high above himself. Let me ask you this, “What harm will actually result if you started seeing your wife as generally perfect”? Maybe she will feel really loved…if you started acting like she was perfect. Start with the concept that she is the standard of beauty, that she is correct and wise, heck, start thinking she is perfect. You won’t be any worse than Solomon in love.
This blog is about husbands who are unhappy. It seems that this is a major marital disease. There are a lot guys out there who are just not happy. It may be because they are NOT dealing with their anger and depression (see my book Perfect Circle). It is my firm conviction that it is husband’s mood that sets the tone in any home. If the Sargent isn’t happy, the troops are not happy. If the head coach is mad – watch out in practice on Monday! Too often we believe, wrongly, that is mom isn’t happy the house is not happy. But this is wrong because if forgets that it is actually dad that who it the head. He is the Sargent, coach and leader – if there are kids they will look to him. A wife will have her emotions. Not because she is a female, so save the PMS jokes. She will have emotions because she is a human. Plus she has to deal with marriage to you. So she is not always happy, but when the leader leads in terms happiness you get a happy home. It is up to the husband to be happy.
Why should you be happy? Well if you are a Christian you could start with Gospel. God saved you when you didn’t deserve it. But for some deep material I turn to the One-hit-wonder group from 1969, called Mercy (interesting don’t you gospel folks think?). They wrote a song with this title “(Love) can make you happy.” The parentheses are part of the title. Some of the copyrighted lyrics are as follows:
Love can make you happy if you find someone who cares
To give a life time to you and who has a love to share
Love can make you happy
Love can make you happy
Love can make you happy,
Here is my point – you were VERY fortunate to be found by Jesus. He actually came to you. Then, you found someone who would give their entire life to YOU, someone who cares for you. That should make you very happy. Now as the coach or Sargent would yell – “get out there and act like it”, even if you are not feeling it right now. Commands to love and even happiness are to be followed not debated. Feelings will take care of themselves.
Turn it around Tuesday Tip – want to be in a happy marriage? Realize you found someone who loves and cares and then put a smile on your face and keep it there.
Verse of the week:
Proverbs 10:28 the hope of the righteous brings joy, but the expectation of the wicked will perish.
My wife and I attended a marriage retreat hosted by our church this past weekend. The speakers were Greg and Erin Smalley. I was very impressed with their approach to marriage and I would recommend buying their books and I certainly would suggest if you get a chance to hear them that you do so. I do not have permission to share their material so that is all I can say publically. I was however reminded of something very general that makes a good tip for this Tuesday. We participated in an exercise where we were asked to make a list of spouse’s positive traits. We had to write them down and then we were encouraged to expand on them on occasion. The list should grow with time. The idea was that we should visit that list and meditate on it especially when we have negative feelings toward our spouse. This makes great sense. The Smalley’s shared some stories of how helpful this can be – you will have to see them in person to hear their compelling stories. In the meantime, when was the last time you made a list of your wife’s great qualities? She has them you know. Begin by thinking of how attractive she was to you when you first met. Her smile, her looks, her hair, her positive or fun attitude, or whatever it was that made her stand out in a positive way. Since then, what about her hard work, her faithfulness, her putting up with you, her tireless efforts as a mom. Her wisdom, her perseverance, her intelligence, and her generally loving attitude. The Bible commands us to love our wife, but in reality we have lots of lots items on our list of respect. Put them down and look up the Smalley’s.
Quick! What is one of the most difficult Bible verses to follow in your marriage? For many the answer to that question is found in the middle of the “love” chapter, also known as I Corinthians Chapter 13. Here is the section to which I refer: Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres (v. 5-7 NIV). All of these descriptions are difficult for men. Patience is everybody’s problem. Anger seems an emotion all too familiar to husbands. But for me the clincher is “keeps no record of wrongs”. That is a deal-breaker right there. What if my wife does something really bad? What if she has long track record of repeatedly doing things that offend me?
In my book, Perfect Circle, I have encouraged husbands to see themselves as prophets, priests, and kings in the spiritual sense, in their marriage. A key feature of a good king is his ability to look past a sin or transgression. Kings can do this. They can commute sentences and cancel debt. They can even choose to treat those unworthy as worthy members of his kingdom. This is a model of grace. This exactly what God the High King of Heaven does for us. He looks past our sin every minute of the day. We don’t even belong in His presence, but because of His Son Jesus, he treats us like friends.
Look past your wife’s transgressions and treat her as a friend.