by Shawn Lazar
“I do funerals, but I don’t do weddings,” Buddy, my pastor, once told me.
“Because when I do a funeral, I know they’ll stay dead.”
That’s a sad commentary on the state of marriage today.
I was reminded of this sad state this weekend, when I heard news about four troubled marriages.
First, I was told that a close friend, a non-believer, and himself a child of divorce, was divorcing his wife. They have two children.
Second, a family member, also a non-believer, got married last month. When I asked how the wedding went, I was told by someone who attended, “It was OK…for a first wedding.” In other words, they fully expected the marriage to end in divorce, and the sooner the better.
Third, a Catholic buddy of mine from college told me he divorced his Catholic wife. Irreconcilable differences. Two kids.
And finally, a believing friend told me she was separating from her husband, not for reasons of abuse or adultery, but because they couldn’t be married anymore.
This was all in the same weekend. And it depressed me.
It reminded me of a comic book I read from the 1950’s that depicted a futuristic society where all marriages automatically terminated after three years, unless the contract was renewed. Are we far off from that?
Hearing about those three situations raised the question, “What do I do? Anything? Do I say something to any of them or would that be meddling? Do I try to help mend the relationship?”
I’m at a loss as to what to say to my non-Christian friends and family, other than, “Believe in Jesus, and turn to Him for help in your marriage!”
To my Catholic and Christian friends I want to say, “Snap out of it! Both of you need to repent! Unless there’s a Biblical reason for divorce, you don’t do it. Period. Especially when you have kids.”
But they know that already.
I heard an Indian person once say, “Marriage is different between India and the West. In the West, you get married when the soup is hot, and you get divorced when the soup gets cold. In India, you get married when the soup is cold, but you both go in knowing it’s your job to heat it up.”
That struck me as a very Biblical view of marriage. Love is not a feeling, it’s a moral choice. That is, love is a choice of the will to seek another’s good, no matter how you feel about them. That’s why Jesus could command us to love our enemies (Matt 5:44). He wasn’t telling us to have fuzzy feelings about them. He was telling us, no matter how we feel—angry, tired, afraid, joyful, paranoid, happy, sick, calm, nervous, or what have you—you can still choose to seek the other’s good.
Sometimes I wonder if “love your enemies” is crucial marriage advice to give people today.
You see, when faced with difficulties in marriage, you can do one of two things. It’s your choice either way. You can let your feelings master your will, or let your will master your feelings. When it comes to marriage and divorce, I think the Biblical position is clear: a Christian is always to choose to love, no matter what you feel.
If the soup is cold, choose to warm it up!
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