Saturday, August 6, 2011

No Greater Love

Right now, I'm watching the movie No Greater Love while my cat is purring contentedly on my lap - scratch that, she just jumped down onto the floor. One of the main points in this movie, is marriage, and marriage between Christians and non-believers, and it made me think of a post I read a while back on another blog:Her Noble Character.

The basic idea presented in this movie is that Christians should not marry non-Christians. The other part is that if two non-Christians are married, and one converts, they should not divorce. While these are pretty basic concepts presented rather clearly through out the Bible, it really made me stop and think about some things. Like divorce, remarriage and all those other things.

Some Pharisees came to him to test him. They asked, "is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?" "Haven't you read," he replied, "that at the begining the Creator 'made them male and female,' and said 'for this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh?' So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore, what God has joined together, let man not separate." (Matthew 19:3-6, NIV)

I personally like the NLT translation which says:

This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one. (Genesis 2:24, NLT)
There are some translations that even translate it as "cleave unto his wife." I think joined and cleave, really show more of less what is happening. It means that the act of consummating a marriage, basically sex within the confines of marriage, joined the two seperate people into one entity. No longer are there simply two individual, whole people, but rather two halves to a whole. Each person making up half of the entity of the other. It's one of the reason my husband and I liked the sand ceremony better than the unity candle. While they basically say the same thing, we felt the sand ceremony, while also much less dangerous, showed what marriage does. It brings the two separate pieces, in our case blue sand and yellow sand (him and me) into one entity, the jar of two colored sand we have on a shelf in our beach themed bathroom). The two cannot ever be completely separated without some blue sand always being in the yellow and vice verse. It would be impossible.

Now sure, I could take a small portion of blue sand out, and there not be any yellow sand visible in the sample, or vice verse. That, would be my definition of one person in the marriage passing away, but that is a whole different story that I'm not getting into.

Even if the two people were to try and separate, there will always be bits and pieces of themselves left within the hearts of the other person. It could never be a clean break. Not mentally, emotionally, or even physically. That's because it's not how God designed marriage to be in the first place. It wasn't designed to be something that could end when people chose. It was designed by God to be something eternal.

"Then why did Moses say a man could merely write an official letter of divorce and send her away?" [the Pharisees] asked. Jesus replied,"Moses permitted divorce as a concession to your hard-hearted wickedness, but it was not what God had originally intended." (Matthew 19:7-8, NLT)

But Jesus did say one more thing about marriage. Jesus talking about a man divorcing his wife and marrying another being adultery in Matthew 19:9, he continyes by adding" except for marital unfaithfulness." This statement is why many believe unfaithfulness to be a reason for divorce. But if divorce was never in God's plan, and never intended, should we allow it?

I come from a family where my parent's divorces. Honestly? I would have hated for them to remain together! They fought and screamed and often loudly. Our family life was anything but peaceful. After my parents did the divorce and even just when they first agreed to divorce, all of a sudden things between them were peaceful again. 13 years later, my parents are still friendly, and even my step-mom is friends with my mom. In my wedding both had a place of honor, and no one felt anything weird about it (except for friends of my mothers I later found out).

Yet, despite my own experience with divorce bringing peace to my family, not all family's have this experience and this result when divorce is brought up.

For years, I always felt that when it came to divorce, cheating and abuse were two exceptions that should always be allowed. If your husband or wife hits you, and beats you, or cheats on you, you should be allowed to divorce them. Yet, our vows do not say this. In fact, vows are a relatively modern thing compared to the institution of marriage. History of Wedding Vows says that the vows most people say today were written in 1549! My husband and I didn't choose traditional vows, but our vows did say we would cherish each other for as long as we both shall live.

I, (Bride's Name), take (you/thee), (Groom's Name),
to be my [opt: lawfully wedded] husband,
secure in the knowledge that you will be
my constant friend,
my faithful partner in life,
and my one true love.
On this special [opt: and holy] day,
I (affirm/reaffirm/give) to you
in the presence of God and (all those in attendance/these witnesses)
my (pledge/sacred promise) to stay by your side as your [opt: faithful] wife
in sickness and in health,
in joy and in sorrow, as well as
through the good times and the bad.
I (promise/further promise) to love you without reservation,
comfort you in times of distress,
encourage you to achieve (higher/all of your) goals,
laugh with you and cry with you,
grow with you in mind and spirit,
always be open and honest with you,
and cherish you for as long as we both shall live

So should divorce be allowed? I don't know. I think that legally, I can't force others to share my beliefs, and so I have to be careful. However, I also feel that as Christians, we should not divorce one another. Even when things seem to get tough. Should divorce be allowed for infidelity or abuse? I'm not sure... I know it's not God's plan for marriage, and yet, at the same time, I know that neither of adultery or abuse are a part of His plans. So where does that leave me? One confused woman!

This movie really opened a can of worms for me when it comes to marriage and divorce. It really made me think about marriage and whether or not I believe divorce is acceptable under any circumstance. Especially for Christians who believe that they should always follow God's plan for their life.

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