First off, God hates divorce. I like the way the Message version of the bible describes it as, the violent dismembering of one flesh, because no one gets out of a divorce whole.
Malachi 2:16“I hate divorce,” says the God of Israel. God-of-the-Angel-Armies says, “I hate the violent dismembering of the ‘one flesh’ of marriage.” So watch yourselves. Don’t let your guard down. Don’t cheat.
Yet even God acknowledges that infidelity throws forever out the window and allows for divorce. God even allows for remarriage in this case as the couple’s vows have been severed just as in death.
For me, the question is a bit more complicated. I don’t believe that people have to stay miserably together. I believe that they may choose to live apart. I don’t believe that they can remarry in these cases because my faith and belief in the bible makes this pretty clear. However, I like Dr. Laura Schlessinger’s rule of thumb for reasons for divorce. She calls them the 3 A’s. Abuse, Addiction and Adultery.
For a woman, her number one need is security. We can overlook a lot of flaws if we feel secure in our marriage. Abuse, Adultery and Addictions bring that security to a halt. When a godly woman comes second to God she loves this, she understands this and for her, it’s the completely acceptable. When that same woman comes second or even third to another vice or person she becomes jealous and outraged. At this point, there is no need to waste precious years of her life competing with something that she can’t win. It will only serve to frustrate her. She can’t compete with anger, another woman or an addiction necessarily.
For a man, his number one need is respect. If he can’t get respect at home from his woman then it leaves doors open for him to find that respect in other areas. Even then, when the 3 A’s enter his relationship, they don’t leave any room for respect.
Okay, that being said, go the distance at trying to make your marriage work. Get counseling, read, look for help first. Don’t just a quit. A marathon runner didn’t get up one morning and decide to run a race. He trained, he trained, and then he trained some more. He built endurance he ran up hills and down hills, he prepared his body and his mind for the task set before him. So it is with marriage. You can’t just quit because you have to remember that the violent dismembering of one flesh means you will never be the same again. You have exhaust every effort and when you can honestly look at yourself in the mirror and say truthfully that you have done all that you can do, then I believe you can separate.
Anything other than the 3 A’s is no reason for divorce. You can find a common ground and with help you can restore a marriage. Hope that helps!
I’ve read with interest a blog recently about women and infidelity. This blog coming on the heels of an article in Latina Magazine which said that 68% of college aged women cheat on their mate versus 75% of college aged men who cheat, it made for some interesting observations.
The article in Latina quoted Gary Lewandowski Jr. Ph.D who has done extensive research on infidelity. He says women tend to cheat due to dissatisfaction in their relationship. They also tend to cheat early in their marriage, the longer they’ve been married the less likely they are to cheat. When Latina did their own study on 500 readers 69% of them have cheated. Infidelity is not just a male issue anymore, if it ever was, and it seems that the numbers are staggeringly increasing.
My own personal thought on this is to look at the age we are discussing. Women in the college age group who are still finding their own identity. It makes sense to me that they would be the ones most likely to cheat as they would have more personal dissatisfaction in their relationship because they have more dissatisfaction with their life in general. These are not the women of 30 years ago who were prepared for marriage at 18. These women have been brought up with a vastly different perspective to their life. They were not brought up to go to college to find their husband as in generations past. Instead, they were brought up to find themselves. This is not a bad thing, don’t misunderstand, I like this, but mix this prematurely in a marriage and we can see where there can be issues.
What is interesting about infidelity is that once it happens the first time, it becomes easier to do it again. Lines get crossed and whether we like to admit it or not, we become desensitized to the idea. Statistically we find women who cheat live to cheat again. It becomes a vicious cycle of looking for that thrill that you can’t find in a long-term relationship. Mix this with the fact that one in five people have genital herpes and the fastest growing number of HIV/AIDS patients are Hispanics and African American women and we have a lot more issues than a broken heart. The idea that it won’t happen to me, keeps these diseases spreading.
So what is the remedy? We can’t say it’s church because even those in church cheat. We can’t say it’s God because those in church should know God and still it happens. Pastor Doug has told me over and over that those who cheat or find themselves on the brink of cheating are open to the possibility of it. I believe the real answers lie in the questions that are never asked.
What exactly are you looking for in a relationship?
How do you react when the going gets rough?
Are you run by your emotions?
Can you set clear boundaries for yourself?
Are you ready for a committed relationship?
I do the pre-marital counseling in our church. When I ask these questions, often I get the blank stares and the ‘I don’t know’ answers and only because they have never really thought of why they want to get married or if they are ready for marriage. They tend to look at the questions through the rose colored glasses of love rather than the honesty of reality that will smack them in the face quite quickly.
Then, there needs to be a clear understanding of the vows taken. What is a covenant and who did I make that covenant with? You see, that covenant although primarily with your spouse and God affects many others. Children, parents and other family members are affected by these decisions as well. When a covenant is broken those people are also indirectly affected by your decision. Sin may be personal but it is never private it affects many, even the people on the sidelines watching this all go down.
The cost of infidelity is not just the demise of a relationship, it’s the cost of a piece of a soul, the cost of those who look at the damage, the cost to your health and the opening of doors that don’t easily get closed once they are opened. Even when the relationship is saved, there is something that has been chipped away from it. We must learn to consider the cost of our actions.
Luke 14:28 For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it– 29 lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, 30 saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’