The Crushing Burden of Divorce by David French – ADF Senior Counsel
The longer I live, and the more time I spend in the Christian conservative movement, the more keenly I’m aware of the extent to which divorce is devastating the Body of Christ. It’s destroying children’s lives, destroying their parents, and destroying our cultural witness. I’m 41 years old, and by this point I’ve seen friends’ marriages end because of adultery, because they felt “trapped,” because the other spouse was cruel, because they allegedly “fell in love” with someone else, because of addictions, or because they simply “wanted to be happy.” Every single time — every time — one or both of the spouses made a series of deliberate decisions to place their own desires over those of their husband or wife, over the best interests of their children, and over the explicit admonitions of the God they allegedly serve.
I am increasingly of the opinion that the Christian community simply will not prevail in the cultural battle to preserve marriage — especially when the argument for marriage absolutely depends on the fact that marriage does not exist merely to fulfill adult desires and sustain adult happiness — if we treat our own marriage vows so shabbily. How can we tell any population of Americans — whether inclined to homosexual behavior or even polygamy — that marriage is the earthly model of Christ’s relationship to his church if we treat it as an instrument of our own happiness?
I understand that we are not perfect. I understand that we all fall short of the glory of God. But we can do better. How do I know this? Because we have.
Frequently I hear talk of “divorce recovery” or someone saying they’re “going through” a divorce. This passive language detaches individuals from the acts of will that cause the dissolution of their family. You “recover” from the flu. You decide to divorce. Divorcing couples are capable of almost-epic feats of rationalization. Divorce without adultery? They rationalize it by saying that their spouse’s failings are the moral equivalent of adultery. Fall in love with someone else? They rationalize it through facile arguments that God loves them and wants them to be happy. Children devastated? They rationalize their actions as ultimately for the best because (despite all social science to the contrary) divorce is better for kids than living in conflict. Couples float away on oceans of psychobabble — incapable of confronting the hard truth: They are making a deliberate choice to defy God.
Sadly, there’s no sign that the most recent generation is doing any better. Two-thirds of twenty-somethings cohabit before marriage, and cohabitation is a leading predictor of future divorce. Given the apparent mass adaptation of the personal-fulfillment model of relationships, it’s hardly surprising that young people also support same-sex marriage at an ever-increasing rate.
I’m going to end this little rant with a question. Given the catastrophic social costs of divorce and the clear scriptural condemnations of the practice, are you willing to address this sin and hold congregants accountable for their actions?
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