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.
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.
I advocate for healing of divorced people within the church by gathering stories of Christians who chose divorce because of abuse, and the response of their churches to that decision. (I'm interested in both helpful and hurtful experiences.) I also include those who have divorced because of their spouse's infidelity but have nevertheless been blamed by their church for the divorce.
If you’re interested in having your voice heard by contributing your divorce story in relationship to the church, please email me at LindaMKurthBlog@gmail.com for guidelines. I’ll be happy to help you share your story.
Know that I encourage respectful comments, keeping the blog a safe place to dialog about this subject.
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.