The crumbling of mankind…
Where does it start? With one word. With one lie. With one man. Adam. Where does it end? With one word. With one truth. With one man. You.
Societies breakdown? The family. Like the frog in the pot of boiling water dying one degree at a time, one lie at a time. Then, one day, the steam is so thick that reality is completely distorted. Finally, we wake up to find ourselves immersed in dysfunction.
These are just my rambling thoughts on divorce. Some of my writing are my observations from the many divorces around me, but most are from my own experience. You may or may not have similar experiences. But, we can all glean from other’s mistakes in some form or fashion.
We live in a transient world. Not just physically, but socially, philosophically, and emotionally. As I am in the final laps of life, I have seen divorce destroy families, friends, and society. If your marriage is falling apart and you find no other way out, I’ve been there. Nothing hurts more than the death of a dream, the death of a unit. The ONLY thing divorce can be blamed on is selfish pride from one or both parties. Our society is set on blame-shifting, which comes from the pride of never being wrong. So, it becomes his/her fault. Personal responsibility is taboo, and the cycle of destruction continues.
The divorce rate in America is over 50%. The media proves to be pro-divorce and anti-family. We have lost the generations who modeled stability. If ‘everybody’ is doing it, the grass must be better on the other side, right? The reality is; we only trade one problematic life for another. What really happens to our lives after divorce? Is not the divorce supposed to take us out of our tumultuous situation into single bliss? Will not the kids be better off without mom and dad fighting all the time? What about commitment? What kind of example are the kids following? These questions and many more receive varied responses depending on which side of divorce you stand, pre or post.
Long before the marriage ends, emotional separation begins before the first one moves out or the papers are filed. I love the frog in the boiling water description. That frog could have croaked for help to get out of the pan and into the pond long before the water boiled. Was it ignorance? Maybe. Its own comfort? Possibly. A wise man (Solomon) once said, “Folly brings joy to one who has no sense, but whoever has understanding keeps a straight course. Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.” Pride keeps us (especially men) from seeking counsel, asking for help, or even admitting the marriage is less than perfect. So we stay in our rut of dysfunction, until the pot boils dry. Marriages can be saved. God really can turn your ashes into beauty (Isaiah 61). We need to set aside our pride and learn the art of forgiveness.
Unrealistic expectations are often the cause of many a conflict. Frustration creeps in when someone does not live up to your desires and wants. In their quest to satisfy unrealistic desires, women tend to turn to soap-operas and men tend to turn to pornography. Women feed the emotion while men feed the physical. Women evolve their world around her kids and men evolve their world around his work. Both live in false reality.
Typically women expect their husband to be their “everything”. God did not create any man to be their sources for wholeness…see Isaiah 54. Women depend on men to be their provider (or at least a co-provider), their protector, best friend, etc. Men are expected to be a warrior as well as an empathetic confidant. Men are expected to be a conqueror as well as provide the emotional fulfillment of a fluffy girlfriend. Bitterness creeps in when the girl realizes their man was not created for both roles and is not able to fulfill their every need. After the honeymoon when she wakes up to find he is not Prince Charming, her resentment begins. Respect is quickly lost. The lack of respect for men in our society is the root of the “man-bashing” mentality. If only women would realize that God is their only source for wholeness and the only one who can fill their desires, then they will have the freedom to release their husbands of unrealistic responsibilities and appreciate him for the person which he was created.
God’s path teaches husbands to love their wives and women to respect their husbands. Scripture has several examples, as in Ephesians 5:33, Paul points out, “Each one of you must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.” Wouldn’t it be easier the other way around? After all, men do not love naturally, they only want to conquer. And, women do not respect naturally, they only want to control.
In our society, the Women’s Liberation movement exposed the sin-nature that causes women to seek to control man and causes men to avoid women. No matter how you feel about “submission” and “head of the house” you must admit we were all created for individual purposes. Not just in marriage, but in work, in church, in community, etc. We all function best when we are doing what comes naturally. When envy creeps in, we stop being satisfied with the station we are in and seek to overtake those in our path. This overtaking has been going on since the garden. Just like a church, a business, or a government will not function without a hierarchy, or what we call “the pecking order”, neither will a family function properly without order. When an establishment does not have clear lines for each position, they only have chaos. The same goes for a church, a sports team, and especially the family. The problems begin when one or both cross the line of unity and one or both set out to control the other. Sin makes everyone want to be in control…not only of their own lives, but also the lives of the ones around them. Love makes everyone want the best for the other person or the family. No matter what the station (family, work place, sports team, etc.) submission is fought and lost when the one in authority demeans and controls the counterpart. No wife willingly respects and submits to a controlling husband…and no husband loves a controlling wife. When someone tries to control another, respect is lost on both sides. When respect is lost, so is love.
For men, the same is also true when they expect their wife to completely fulfill their desires. After the honeymoon, when he wakes up in the morning to find she is not the woman on the Vanity Fair magazine cover, his disgust begins. Typically, men expect their wives to physically remain the same as the day they met, not accepting the decay of the human body. Men are generally creatures of sight, not emotion. Countless marriages are lost to mid-life crisis and skinny girlfriends twenty years younger; indicative of a shallow society stamped by our entertainment industry. The porn industry is rampant due to men searching to fill needs that only God can fill. The saying, “Looking for love in all the wrong places” is ever so true. So long as men have perfectly formed, airbrushed, young women before them on TV, internet, etc., they will never be satisfied with their imperfect, flawed, and aging wife. These images overflow into the bedroom. She will never feel acceptable to her husband, which then flows over into all other relationships. She begins to see herself as inferior and unworthy, which in turn, causes the husband to lose interest and find satisfaction elsewhere. (More on the pain of porn: here.) Porn is not the only distraction or addiction to a man. Often times it is work, or fast cars, or sports, etc., or car salesmen get rich money-making schemes.
Bitterness and anger sets in when he begins to view his wife as a liability rather than an asset. He feels resentment when his paycheck is used for the family, when his time is engulfed in the family, and when he is faced with the everyday responsibility of family tasks. God says in Genesis 2:24, and Jesus repeats the same in Matthew 19:5; “A man shall leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” And also, Jesus states in Matthew 5:28, “But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” So, if a man treats his wife as if he is looking in a mirror, as he would want to be treated, would he not want to leave all others and have eyes for her only? A husband is not married in the way God intended unless he is united as one with his wife. Anything less is only a room-mate. Paul states in Ephesians 5:32, “This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.” And in verse 25, “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” Now if Marriage is a correlation between Christ and the Church, should the husband feel comfortable dabbling in addictions outside the marriage by placing value on others above his wife? (This pretty much sums up my experience. I not only had to deal with not measuring up to his unrealistic standards, I had to deal with knowing the marital love and unity) would never exist.
So, how does our modern society handle marriages that have disintegrated? We divorce. After all, a no-fault divorce is much easier than being vulnerable enough to work through hard issues, admit faults, and rebuild on better ground. Pride refuses to let couples be vulnerable to each other. Not only out of fear of being hurt, but no one wants to find that they may actually be wrong. The fault is always the other person, right? Everyone is a victim. No one is the villain. Even when one spouse refuses counsel, the other is still blamed. Lies begin. Lives are destroyed.
Who wins? No one.
We find ourselves battered and torn apart.
Continued … A new drama then begins…
The words of Malachi 2:13-16:
“And this again you do. You cover the Lord’s altar with tears, with weeping and groaning because he no longer regards the offering or accepts it with favor at your hand. You ask, “Why does he not?” Because the Lord was witness to the covenant between you and the wife of your youth, to whom you have been faithless, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant. Has not the one God made and sustained for us the spirit of life? And what does he desire? Godly offspring. So take heed to yourselves, and let none be faithless to the wife of his youth. “For I hate divorce, says the Lord the God of Israel, and covering one’s garment with violence, says the Lord of hosts. So take heed to yourselves and do not be faithless.”