Exodus 21:22-24 (NKJV)
22 “If men fight, and hurt a woman with child, so that she gives birth prematurely, yet no harm follows, he shall surely be punished accordingly as the woman’s husband imposes on him; and he shall pay as the judges determine.
23 But if any harm follows, then you shall give life for life,
24 eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot,
If one looks at our culture from a historical perspective, how is it that divorce has become such an accepted process within society? Furthermore, what has allowed disrespect of people in general to become so acceptable within our culture? What has allowed profanity, violent lyrics, and sexually-laden material to become so popular and acceptable within our culture? It is as if someone placed the notion that violence was a good thing and sex without boundaries or commitment is the best way to live life.
Many Christians treat Jesus Christ as an afterthought within their lives. They are Christian in principle and belief, but not within their lifestyle choices. Of course, this includes a spectrum of interactions between various levels of faith and various levels of self-will for each individual Christian. Christianity becomes something they believe in, but not on purpose and not as an actual guiding force within their lives. They may go to church once in a while, or every Saturday or Sunday and believe in Jesus Christ, but the majority of their lives are lived in a way that pleases them and not God. If the decision comes between their rights or their desires, God takes second place.
I call marriage “sandpaper for the soul” because this relationship requires that people work out their issues from their family of origins and their experiences in life, both positive and negative, within the marital relationship. Add a couple of kids to the mix and the sandpaper grit gets a little rougher. As mentioned earlier, marriage becomes successful when we can look at ourselves, instead of our spouse, and sort out how we are to live with this other person in a harmonious manner. It requires change on our part to make it work. If both people involved can work out this process through the relationship, then the marriage will remain intact and even enjoyable, (hey, there is a new concept for some). It is by far not a perfect relationship with perfect people involved. It is not easy either. It requires that a person continue in the relationship despite some obvious imperfections that their mate demonstrates from time to time. The original process created for Adam and Eve was a much better set up than what we have to deal with, but God, in his infinite wisdom, foresaw humanity’s future and designed the marriage process to make us healthier people and more spiritual people. This process requires that we die to ourselves and some of our desires and place this other person and our marriage ahead of ourselves. What I have found as a Marriage and Family Therapist, is an opposite and immature view of marriage that is evident in many, who believe that the other person is in need of change, not themselves. This view often leads to divorce when both sides play the “blame game” and then work toward dismantling their marriage into a divorce. Many times the individual’s family of origin ties and relationship dynamics keep them from identifying their own “stuff “ and play a role in keeping them defensive, instead of open to change. This word, change, is an important aspect of marriage that is often overlooked. Not many people go into marriage thinking about the changes they will need to make for their marriage to survive. The naivety of couples in love is blinding and the lack of understanding about the marriage process is consistently misunderstood. Equally misunderstood is the level of commitment it takes to work out a marriage over time. The glue that holds a marriage together through difficult times needs to be one that is committed to the long haul. No relationship will survive without this perspective. Once divorce becomes an option for one or both of the individuals involved within the marriage, the focus changes from working on the marriage itself, to working on completing the list of divorce-related reasons for legitimizing
the divorce process.
Much of marriage today has to do with our views about consumerism. Our culture has lost its sense of what is important and marriage is no exception. Marriage has become a product whereby if you want to exchange your older model for a newer one, then you change your spouse like a Ford or a Chevrolet. If it isn’t working out, then people no longer work on their marriages, they throw them away and start over, thinking that a different person will be the magic answer. Interestingly enough, 75% of people who have affairs and then marry that person with whom they had the affair, end up in divorce.