I remember a day when I received a call from a student who used to be a part of the campus ministry. It had been at least five years since I had seen him and he called to get some advice. He told me that he had found out that his wife had been cheating on him and asked me what he should do about it. I asked him what he thought he should do?
He went on to tell me that this relationship was not what he signed up for and that he was thinking about getting a divorce. She was unfaithful to him and so he had the right to divorce her. Then, as if he needed my permission to do it, he asked me what I thought.
I told him that since they have been married they have stopped attending church and stopped living by the teachings of the New Testament. He had not grown spiritually but had spent a lot of time pursuing other things like his music career and drugs. I told him that his wife was not the only partner in this marriage who had been unfaithful, but that they both were being unfaithful to the other in different ways.
Then here it was: I told him as clearly as I could that I was confused as to how he and his wife could live in a marriage unaffected by their faith until trouble came, and then he wanted to use his faith to justify his divorce. I recommended that he go home and become a Christian man once again and help his wife grow into the woman of God she needed to be.
I keep up with this couple, still struggling to make it work I think. They are still together, but still trying to figure out how to come together after years of hurt and unfaithfulness. They are not alone. There is a lot of talk about marriages these days. In this country, open marriages and divorces are just as common as grandpa and grandma's years of togetherness.
For me, Christians need to step it up. If we want to take marriage seriously, then we need to start with our own marriages and love our spouses and our children. God's standards for marriage are higher than our government's standards, and when Christian people fail to live up to God's desire and will for marriage, then we should not be surprised by the idea that any two people, regardless of commitment, can be joined together.
We need to take marriage seriously. Some of my students don't even want to get married because of the turmoil they have experienced in their families. This generation is referred to as the "fatherless" generation because of the lack of fathers. Our marriages must be a commitment, and that commitment is first to our God, then to our spouse, children, extended family and community. (The government wants you to sign a contract, not make a covenant.)
I hope and pray that our faith in Jesus changes and challenges us to live differently from the world around us, and as we think about and participate in marriage, I think it should look different, be different, and the goals of a Christian marriage should be what Paul wrote, "to present her before the throne holy and blameless before the Lord." (that's just a plain scary call to responsibility). Maybe we should see marriage as that - a plain scary call to responsibility in this world! Sobering, but faithful to the standards of God.
I want to share thoughts, insights, and scriptures that lead us in the direction of Christ.