There are certain experiences of life that are afforded by divorced people. Having not met a single person who got married who ever wanted to be divorced, I do meet plenty of divorced people who are so thankful that a marriage they were part of is over.
Some, ironically, were only ever a marriage in name. These marriages never constituted a partnership. Some ‘survived’ marriages a decade, or two, or three or four. And some didn’t survive. In all these cases, such a waste of the promise of life!
One of the false teachings that we often find in biblical circles is the teaching that “God hates divorce.” It simply isn’t what the text says. And yet we have been conditioned in our Western way of doing the Christian faith, to think of divorce as a pariah. Besides, God divorced “faithless” Israel for “her many adulteries” (Jeremiah 3:8).
Again, nobody gets married and has a family with the vision of becoming divorced. Anyone who is married knows that divorce involves pain, and reasonable people who are married and have children don’t want their children trolled through some messy divorce. And still, there are many, many unreasonable people who don’t care what their ‘loved ones’ suffer.
There are so many, about one-in-two couples actually, who do get married and then subsequently divorce.
Many of these are necessary divorces. Biblically, Jesus allowed divorce for sexual immorality. If we brought into that the topic of unfaithfulness, there are many ways that partners might disqualify themselves from their marriages. There are many kinds of adulteries, not just the obvious form.
Try these seven:
- Putting their own needs above the needs of the spouse or children. This selfishness of greed fits the narcissist well, and their pathological desire to be fed and met first is something that signals a marriage in name only.
- Not being able to control their anger and hence becoming dangerously aggressive. This doesn’t need to be just physically aggressive. There are many versions of anger, and some of the worst aggressiveness inflicts wounds on the inside where bruises never show. A toxin poisons on the inside, and disease only becomes apparent at death. Such is the marriage that was killed many years before the divorce papers were ever signed.
- Being too lazy to contribute to the relationship. Again, this is a form of marriage where perhaps one partner does all the work, and there are even marriages where neither partner can be bothered.
- Lusting, not only after the flesh of others, but also after the cravings of many sources of possible addiction.
- Pride is a devilish partner because it can never be wrong, and no marriage can be happy when there’s only one doing the apologizing. The narcissist spends their life overreacting in either attack and escape — spewing vitriol or withdrawing love and connection.
- A partner is so insecure in and of themselves that they constantly look over the fence into others’ lives, and horrendously so, into their own spouse’s life. Enter the narcissistic spouse again. They live out the deadly sin of envy and it ruins what could be good about the marriage, because they constantly crave what others have, or constantly need to prove they’re better. They can’t live with their capable and empathetic partner, yet they can’t live without them…
- Finally, there is the sin of co-dependence, where a partner needs their spouse so much, the spouse has no freedom in and of themselves; they have lost touch with their personhood. This is the deadly sin of fear that has ravaged the one and so in turn ravages the other.
Marriage truly requires the following:
- Selflessness– marriage deserves selflessness that only fully rounded adults are capable of offering. Adulting is a breeze for selfless people. They just get on with life.
- Patience– against the toxic elements of the inner boiling rage of a partner who cannot touch joy is the patience that oozes contentedness. The one who cannot be threatened, threatens no one.
- Diligence– the proverbial Proverbs 31 woman is one after this legend. The truth is there have been millions of these women and men, hard-working, optimistic, visionary, striving for the common good.
- Contentedness– the only thing that can teach us this most precious of spiritual qualities is lack — after Psalm 23, “The Lord is my Shepherd, I lack nothing.” The blessing of losing everything, should that ever occur, is we begin a journey of freedom. The less materiality in our lives, the more spirituality is possible. The power of this principle must be lived to be believed.
- Humility– a humble person is a worthy partner for any reasonable person, and they can make a success out of any reasonable situation. Not prone to making excuses, they take up the cudgel of their circumstance and make the most of it.
- Kindness– such quality has no desire for what it doesn’t have and is content to offer what it has in the service of others.
- Faith– what truly drives a person as this is faith. They don’t proclaim that they’re “right,” but as faith would have it, they are. Only those who live by faith have the capacity to be faithful, which takes us right back to where we started. The faithless one was divorced, for they lacked fidelity. But the one who has faith is full of the integrity of fidelity.
Written by Steve Wickham
This is an updated edition of a post originally published on http://tribework.blogspot.com/2020/03/seven-sins-deadlier-than-divorce-and.html.