I almost wished my husband would have an affair. Then, it would have been okay, biblically speaking, to clearly identify what was wrong and be given permission to leave.
After years of counseling, my marriage was obviously coming to an end. There had been no physical abuse and no physical unfaithfulness. Yet, I felt I had to leave to save my sanity. Our counselor refused to talk about divorce, even though she declared Satan was influencing my husband.
Our counselor refused to talk about divorce.
She quoted Matthew 19: 9, in which Jesus said, “I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, and marries another woman commits adultery.”
I thought a great deal about “unfaithfulness” during that time. It seemed to me that neglect, put-downs, and other negative behaviors could be considered unfaithful. Recently, I read an article by Joel Cade, “Reconciling My Christian Faith and Divorce” that caused me to revisit my reasoning back then.
In the article, Cade explains that, in these modern times, the focus is on being unfaithful sexually.
In these modern times, the focus is on being unfaithful sexually.
However, Christian marriage encompasses much more than that. “It’s about being faithful to one partner with your love, with your honor, with your comfort and keeping those emotional bonds strong only with one partner,” Cade writes.
He concludes that, when people share these things with someone outside the marriage, “they are no longer keeping the covenant. They are unfaithful to the marriage covenant.”
In emphasizing the sexual aspect of marriage, the kind of relationship Cade calls, “Entertainment Marriage,” we tend to pass over the bedrock of a true marriage union. If we take Cade's reasoning one step further, we can conclude that sexual unfaithfulness is only one sign of broken marriage vows.
Hindsight is always best, and it would have been good if I’d had the ability to express my thinking to my counselor as cogently as Cade does, although I suspect he likely benefited from hindsight as well. If you are a Christian and going through the heartbreak of divorce, my prayer is that you may gain some insight, and maybe even comfort, from this discussion.
Do you have a divorce experience to share? Have you been shamed by a church because of your divorce? There are hurting people who need to hear your story, who need to know they are not alone, and who need to be encouraged. If you are interested in sharing your story, email Linda for guidelines: Linda@LindaMKurth.com
Linda M. Kurth is a writer and a divorced and remarried Christian. In going through the divorce, she experienced a dichotomy of responses from the Christian community. After sharing some of those experiences in her upcoming memoir, God, the Devil, and Divorce, she's heard many stories of divorced Christians who have struggled with the same issues. This blog invites divorced Christians to tell their stories with the goal of encouraging churches to resist condemnation and become a source of healing and grace.