“Furthermore it has been said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’ 32 But I say to you that whoever divorces his wife for any reason except sexual immorality[a] causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a woman who is divorced commits adultery.” Matthew 5:31-32
“He said to them, “Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, permitted you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so.” Matthew 19:8
Dating. I thought it was a tough go when I was in high school and college. Today? I’m thinking of Drew Barrymore’s line from “He’s Just Not That Into You.” After listing all the different ways people communicate, she laments over the abundance of ways to be rejected.
There seem to be two basic things that impact dating and then divorce. First, we’ve strayed too far from God. We’ve become more and more self-centered, because the TV keeps telling us how much we “deserve” things. That selfishness bleeds over into relationships. It should be small wonder that divorce is constantly on the rise.
I want to slap people who say they’d rather not get married, because so many married people get divorces. They don’t seem to understand that it isn’t the institution, it’s the people! Like people living together never break up. If your marriage isn’t working, it’s because the two of YOU aren’t working!
Second, as a result of, oh, all of the above, it’s almost impossible to find someone who isn’t a complete numb-nuts. And possible already divorced at 23 with two kids. So you date and find someone who is tolerable because they are smokin’ hot or have a great job, or both. Never mind the fact that you settled for someone who’s body or bundle won’t help when you both discover how truly incompatible you are. Sprinkle in a generous amount of the above selfishness. Bake for anywhere from six weeks to six years and – voila’ – divorce a la’ alimony! A nice cream of custard for dessert, and all that’s left…is the bill.
What to do, what to do…?
Respect marriage. If for no other reason than that it is God’s creation, God’s institution, God’s gift to US! If someone gives you a gorgeous, expensive gift, well…I at least HOPE you wouldn’t poop all over it.
“…from the beginning it was not so.” Marriage and love are more than emotions, bodies, and cash. They are choices that you make and remake for the rest of your lives together. They are choices that you sometimes make for no other reason than to honor the commitment you made on your wedding day. Even when you REALLY don’t want to.
Julie and I have made those choices over and over. Tomorrow will mark 31 years since we made that first commitment. We don’t regret a bit of it. Were there tough times? Were there times when we thought maybe it’s time to pack it in? There have been blessedly few and extremely brief times, but we always honored the original commitment we made to ourselves and God.
THAT is the life ring you cling to when tossed by the cold waves. That is the dim beacon during the storm that blots out the sun and leads you home. Julie and I have helped each other grow as better people, better partners. That, my friends, is something worth fighting for.
Respect yourself. Don’t settle. Don’t play around. If you have been a numb nuts, nothing says you can’t change. You can.
It’s something worth DATING for! So, when you’re looking for a good date, well, here’s the other half of the the title for today:
“…who wouldn’t be a mate.”