Tag Archives: save marriage

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.

She’s Perfect!

beautiful woman

She’s Perfect!

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.

Date Night or Coffee Meeting?

coffee-shop

Reading today’s blog will save you some money.  If you and your spouse go to a weekend marriage seminar that seminar will be structured in such a way as to have some kind of a “date night”.  This will not be your average date night however; it will be at a nice restaurant and you will dress nicely but there will be “instructions” which be to discuss matters of the heart.  These discussions will be related to the material in the seminar.  Probably not what you did on your last date together! Sometimes the couples who go out on these “dates” end up having arguments, but the hope is that the public setting and the muted atmosphere will keep these fights to a minimum.  In general, the need for a nice date is important for a couple.  Even more important is the need to talk – really talk about all kinds of things.  Not just relationship issues, but budget matters, how the kids are doing and what’s on the calendar.  Really, those topics and touchy topics like parenting, money or even sex are NOT good to talk about on a date.  The dates that I enjoy with my wife are usually light and breezy and FUN.  Couples need fun.  Yet, your wife needs to talk and you NEED to hear what she has to say.  So, date nights often have cross-purposes.  When a couple goes out dressed up for dinner, they can look really nice.  The kids may be quite impressed at how attractive mom is when she not in that faded tee shirt, but if that couple has different expectations of what that dinner is about then it will not be a pretty sight when they return.

Speaking of expectations, this is a crucial issue.  The wife may expect intimate conversation about matters of the heart, while the husband wants to keep it light with hope that they may be able to have some fun in the bedroom later.  It’s a disaster!  The funny thing is that both the husband and wife are right to have their expectations.  Both good times and deep conversations are important to having a successful marriage.  It was Robert G. Barnes in his excellent book, Rock Solid Marriage, that astutely observed that women often view conversation as a pre-cursor to sexual intimacy, and it was Pat Love in her excellent book, How to Change your Marriage Without Saying a Word, who astutely observed that men view touch and physical proximately as a pre-cursor to sexual intimacy. You see where this is going.  You need both in a marriage.

So save yourself the money from expensive therapy and weekend seminars and do TWO THINGS:  Have a weekly morning coffee time to discuss anything that your wife would like to discuss.  Do NOT get defensive about what she has to say and do not feel that you have fix every problem she brings up.  She needs to talk and you need to listen.  Start there.  Second, take your wife on a date and sit close.  Go dancing or just have fun and make contact with each other.  Hold hands.

For a couple of years now, my wife and I have been going out to a nice coffee shop on Thursday morning and having good conversations.  We sometimes bring a list of stuff we need to talk about.  Sometimes the talk is serious and many times it is simply mundane. We have so much fun, really, so much fun that date nights are less important.  Coffee meetings cost about 10 bucks.  You do the math.  Consider the cost of the alternative.