May I count the ways.
In terms of rationalizing divorce, the following scripture comes to mind. I hear and read women using various paraphrases of it as part of their divorce narrative. The thing about this scripture is that uniquely the church and the secular world align perfectly in supporting the poor dears as they finally discover this truth. How often can we say that some scriptural truth is so widely adopted? Not very.
As you read this, imagine the strength indwelling you that you didn’t know you had. Imagine the self-esteem issues you have
manufactured in your own mind becoming distant memories. Hold your head high, breath a deep cleansing breath, and cling to these words:
“Sometimes walking away has nothing do with weakness, and everything to do with strength. We walk away not because we want others to realize our worth and value, but because we finally realize our own.”
You will find this in the book of Robert Tew. What? Not scripture? Your bible omits that book? Maybe its just a quote from some guy. What do I know? It ought to be there. in some book.
Would it not be better to avoid divorce altogether? I know, that’s a tough question but try to weigh it objectively. How would you go about lowering the rate of divorce?
You could list off all the statistics about how bad it is for kids and adults alike, social pathologies, suicides, poverty, to mention a few things that increase with more frequent divorces. Not compelling? You are probably right.
Maybe take a look at some causes for divorce? Then advise against doing these things? Take for example cohabitation. Recently a study was released that claims to show how cohabitation is not linked to higher divorce likelihood. Evangelicals have invested lots of resources into the idea that cohabitation is a huge divorce predictor. Why would they do that? Because it gives them a way to seem to be against divorce and to even be taking a stand on something that they claim causes divorce, without really acknowledging the Jabba the Hut in the room.
Family Life didn’t wait long to react to the mainstream medias celebration of a study claiming that cohabitation is hunky dory. In todays email they get their own expert,Scott Stanley, a research professor at the University of Denver to write a rebuttal which includes the following list:
- Serial cohabitation is associated with greater risk for divorce. In this context, serial cohabitation means living with more than one partner before marrying. Cohabitating with more than just the person you end up marrying is associated with poorer outcomes in marriage.
- Cohabitating unions are less likely to end in marriage.
- Cohabitatingwith your eventual mate before marriage or before having clear, mutual plans for marriage is associated with lower marital satisfaction in marriage and higher risk for divorce.
- Cohabitating before having a mutual and clear intention to marry is on the rise.
- The rate of unplanned pregnancies is much greater among unmarried, cohabitating women than it is among married women.
- The transition into living together is associated with sharply increasing constrains of the sort that make it harder to break up, yet the kind of commitment (dedication) that is most strongly associated with happy, strong relationships levels off.
- Having sex earlier in a relationship is associated with lower marital quality, partly because moving quickly to sex is associated with moving quickly to cohabitating.That is, for some couples, sex too soon leads to cohabitating too soon, which can lead to a poorer foundation for a marriage.
It’s interesting that they do the same thing here that they will not even do on divorce in general. They list out some human consequences for the behavior, in this case cohabitation. The problem is twofold:
One, none of these things really refute the study that diminishes the the point about cohabitation being linked to divorce. These bullets talk all around the matter, but avoid challenging the core assertion.
Two. Why Empath are you trying to argue in favor of cohabitation? Glad you asked. I’m not. Thats your feminised reading that whiplashes you to the extreme when you read anything that challenges something you’ve heard from the pulpit since you were a toddler. The argument is a distraction anyway. Im simply saying that the reason cohabitation is bad is not that it leads to or doesnt lead to divorce. Its bad because its wrong because it is a sin. Outta be sufficient.
Same with divorce. The mealy mouthed approach to these things is an abject failure. What drives mealy-mouth-ism? Simple fear of the church attending partcipants in the thing being addressed. Once the fear of divorced people kept “divorce is sin” from passing pastor’s lips. Fear of divorced parents precludes pastor saying that kids are statistically less likely to thrive after divorce. Now, add fear of cohabitating couples and the fear of saying cohabitation is wrong.
Its an over all reluctance to just call it as it is. With biblical authority, which seems to be an authority rarely tapped into these days. The way to get your favorite sin off the church radar is to get lots of members doing it!
In this case, its better get a professor to write a list of true statements that have no bearing on the core argument. Once you accept the invitation to dance the dance of competing experts, you should expect to always be the follower in that dance. The only alternative dance, and one where you can lead the dance unequivocally, is the appeal to the authority of scripture.
But that is risky these days. Besides it would rob precious time and resources from all the advocacy efforts and boycotts of things that have to do with abortion, homosexuality, and Ashley Madison. These, the church and its compliment of multi divorced cohabitators can unite upon! Nothing assuages sin guilt like
repentence and foregiveness highlighting bigger sins that are less common in the church body.