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Occasionally there is some public breast-beating by ministers ruing the statistics that non-believers and believers divorce at about the same rate. There is a deceptively easy reason for this. But in any event marriage is such a complex relationship that in talking about it we always leave out something important. Here, alone, e are talking about divorcea and how it is a final breakdown.
Marriage as flesh
First, the scriptures say the “two shall become one flesh.” While this union is not a simple co-habitation in the eyes of God, it may actually not be much more than this. It is, after all, just the flesh.
In the beginning the flesh is usually enough to keep the pair together. They marry with pretty much the same goals – a family, a house in the burbs, a decent job, and a few kids. Sometimes their common goals are a life as missionaries or even as members of the armed forces. Those common goals keep them together for a long time.
If the goal is sex alone, by either couple, the union is doomed from the start because the Bible says, the flesh profits nothing. It has no permanence, so the value of marriage must be in the other extended relationship it brings to the couple, and their world and the world to come. Marriage does have eternal value.
Man, in contrast to animals, in three parts
Man is made up of three parts – body, soul and spirit. The bodies come together but clearly not the spirits, and consequently not the souls. In most families mother and father are opposites – she is creative, he is a math whiz; or he is the farmer and she can’t grow chives in the window sill; or she is an engineer and he is a psychologist. This helps the kids have a better view of the world than two alike-people.
But no one can have, nor should they have, a union of souls. God saves souls and each one is distinct in His eyes.
Then there is the Spirit. This is where the rubber meets the road. After the children are schooled, married and gone, this marriage faces a new stress – what is the common goal – retirement, travel, self-indulgence, golf, amusements, games? Do they have a common life of set goals. One prominent marriage counselor says every pair should have a regular discussion about the family “mission-statement.”
At this point, the union breaks down.
Amos 3:3 Can two walk together, except they be agreed?
Agreement is gone!
While Amos spoke these words to indicate how the Christian should pattern his life with God, the rule applies everywhere. The marriage cannot last if the direction of their lives is not parallel. Parallel goals means agreement. Non-parallel goals means that even a small degree of difference will, over time, send them off in different, and conflicting directions.
It may be be evident as the paths begin to part, but that is the time for re-examination. Look to God for the answer. Men most often will blame the wife, marry #2 and live to regret it because they fail to look at their own faults.
The second marriage for men is almost always a disaster.
The wife may hit the bottle or have an affair. Again – an answer in the flesh does not work. The new rule in America of hole digging is – when you are at the bottom, stop digging.
Saving the marriage means being totally honest
Go back to where your paths diverged and be cruelly honest with yourself first and then each other. Divorce is not necessary, and it is a horror for even the most agreeable couple. It does not need to happen.