Martes, Marso 31, 2015



“Didn’t God make you one body and spirit
with her?  … So make sure that none of you
breaks his promise to his wife.”


MARRIAGE IS AMONG the most intimate of all human relationships.  Couples who give their relationship time, effort, and commitment find marriage as one of life’s greatest fulfillments.  On the other hand, those who fail to work toward mutual goals and to bring variety into their marriage, find it as a source of great frustration and misery as such results in a poor, static, and routine relationship.

     Love in marriage demands constant and quality communication.  A married couple who, for business and other mundane reasons, neglects this basic need would realize too late that the emotional euphoria of courtship, engagement, wedding, and subsequent honeymoon could be easily wiped out by the stresses of daily life.

     Sad to say, we live in a time when marital unhappiness is very common, when “irreconcilable differences” become reasons for marriage break-ups, and when divorce is seen as a convenient fire escape when marital conflicts get too hot to handle.  Indeed, marriage is treated more and more as a temporary arrangement of convenience.

     God corrects the wrong notion of those who consider marriage as a purely civil arrangement and who argue that divorce would unmask the facades of respectability concealing the unhappiness and even violence within some marriages.  Prophet Malachi explains thus:

     “You ask why he no longer accepts them. It is because he knows you have broken your promise to the wife you married when you were young. She was your partner, and you have broken your promise to her, although you promised before God that you would be faithful to her.  Didn't God make you one body and spirit with her? What was his purpose in this? It was that you should have children who are truly God's people. So make sure that none of you breaks his promise to his wife.  “I hate divorce,” says the Lord God of Israel. “I hate it when one of you does such a cruel thing to his wife. Make sure that you do not break your promise to be faithful to your wife.” (Mal. 2:14-16, Today’s English Version)

     God abhors a philandering husband who is cruel and unfaithful to his wife.  He also hates an unfaithful wife.  More so, He hates divorce.  A couple should remember that they have been made partners by God in an institution that He Himself established—marriage (Gen 2:18, 21-24, Ibid.)

     The inviolability of marriage was clearly emphasized by the Lord Jesus when He answered the question of the Pharisees who tried to trap Him, “Do you permit divorce?”:

     “ Some Pharisees came to interview him and tried to trap him into saying something that would ruin him.

“Do you permit divorce?” they asked.

 “Don’t you read the Scriptures?” he replied. “In them it is written that at the beginning God created man and woman,  and that a man should leave his father and mother, and be forever united to his wife. The two shall become one—no longer two, but one! And no man may divorce what God has joined together.”” (Mt. 19:3-6, Living Bible)

     Marriage is a union between husband and wife.  It allows no pre-conditions as many have done these days.  It is a lifelong commitment—“for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in health or in sickness, until death do us part.”  Indeed, no man may divorce what God has joined together.

     In the West, marriage is generally perceived as an unstable institution.  Television sitcoms, soap operas, and even Hollywood films often dismiss the idea of marriage as a life-long commitment.  Divorce is openly portrayed as a welcome route to freedom from the difficulties of marriage.  In truth, “recent divorce rates show that the chances of a first marriage in the United States ending in divorce are about one in two.  One expert (Bumpass, 1990) argues that if the current levels persist, 60 percent of recent marriages will end in divorce.  The U.S. divorce rate is the world’s highest—more than triple the Japanese rate and at least double the divorce rates in the other major industrial democracies except England (In Conflict and Order, Understanding Society, pp. 447-448).

     Even within the confines of the Catholic Church, which in theory holds marriage to be indissoluble, statistics bear witness that “Italy, where the Vatican is located, has long recognized divorce.  So have every nation with substantial majority of Catholic populations like Brazil, Spain, Mexico, Portugal, Poland, Ireland, and all of Latin America. … They couldn’t exactly ex-communicate millions of the faithful without abolishing the Holy Mother Church itself.” (Manila Standard, March 15, 1999).

     Why would it be wrong to divorce one’s spouse and remarry someone else?  The answer of the Savior clearly explains:

     “Any man who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery; and the man who marries a divorced woman commits adultery. (Lk. 16:18, TEV)

     Man should not fool himself into thinking that adultery is a “small” sin.  Apostle Paul condemned adulterers, idol worshipers, drunkards, robbers, and the like by rhetorically declaring:

     “Don’t you know that those doing such things have no share in the Kingdom of God?” (I Cor. 6:9-10, LB)

     The indifference of people to extra marital relationship, to the effect that many with resignation declare that “nobody cares anymore whom you sleep with and why” ignores the biblical fact that the Lord Jesus abhors it.  The culture of infidelity that is emblematic of the West goes against doctrinal command of the Lord.  Apostle Paul stated in his letter to the Christians at Corinth:

     “For married people I have a command which is not my own but the Lord's: a wife must not leave her husband;  but if she does, she must remain single or else be reconciled to her husband; and a husband must not divorce his wife. (I Cor. 7:10-11, TEV)

     If men and women feel that their marriage can be ended so easily by divorce, they would tend to enter into marriage much too light-heartedly and without the deep consideration necessary before embarking on a union that is supposed to last for the rest of their lives.

     Nothing can be more traumatic for children than the divorce of their parents.  Studies show that children of divorcees often manifest emotional or behavioral problems and learning difficulties in school:

     “Divorce increases poverty … .
     “In the United States, children of divorced mothers have 100 to 200 percent more probability of suffering from emotional or behavioral problems and about 50 percent more probability of encountering learning difficulties than children of intact families.  In the government hospitals of the U.S., more than 80 percent of adolescents interred for psychiatric treatment come from single-parent families….
     “More than 60 percent of robbers, 72 percent of juvenile murderers, 70 percent of those under long-term sentences in prison have grown up in fatherless families.  About 70 percent of juvenile delinquents in reformatory schools come from families without a father.” (Manila Bulletin, July 13, 1997)

     Amidst the prevailing social climate whereby there is a massive and alarming increase in the number of broken families, how can true marriage last?  To go a step further, how can marital conflicts be confined to a minimum if not altogether avoided?  Apostle Paul teaches thus:

     “Marriage is to be honored by all, and husbands and wives must be faithful to each other. God will judge those who are immoral and those who commit adultery.(Heb. 13:4, TEV)

     For marriage to succeed, the husband and wife should honor their vows to each other and remain faithful to the institution created by God.

     It also greatly helps in the preservation of marriage if a man lives considerately with his wife and is thoughtful of her needs as spoken by Apostle Peter:

     “ In the same way you husbands must live with your wives with the proper understanding that they are more delicate than you. Treat them with respect, because they also will receive, together with you, God's gift of life. Do this so that nothing will interfere with your prayers. (I Pt. 3:7, TEV)

     Successful couples believe in the importance of commitment and agree in their aims and goals in life.  Both have a strong desire to make their marriage last, hence, they don’t infuse foolishness in their homes (Prov. 14:1, Ibid.) the way others do by “fooling around.”  Neither do they inject evil deeds side by side with righteous ones in their homes (Prov. 14:11, Ibid.)  They possess a positive attitude toward their spouses and treat them as their best friend.

     No marital issue or problem—no matter how unique it may be—can be hard to solve if the couple has reverence for God.  Happily married people are also aware that when they pursue self-centered goals and fail to communicate clearly and effectively with their spouses, the home shall begin to deteriorate as the Lord Himself pronounced:

     “Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them: “Any kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and a house divided against itself will fall. (Lk. 11:17, New International Version)

     Marital conflict is often a symptom of some deeper problems such as selfishness, unwillingness to forgive, bitterness, or communication problems.  Hence, a successful couple strives to constantly communicate with each other through verbal and nonverbal means—through gestures, facial expressions, words on paper, gifts, messages in a computer, or during a simple period of silence.

     Every married couple and every prospective husband and wife dream and desire to be genuinely happy.  But they should realize that happy marriages demand a harmonious lifelong relationship.  They should wake up from the illusion that marriage is a perennial garden of paradise where romance is forever. There will always be a time for sorrow and a time for joy, a time for silence and a time to talk.  But for as long as they revere and trust in God by obeying His laws and allowing His tenets to govern their lives, God’s blessings of prosperity and happiness shall be theirs as King David himself testifies:

     “Blessings on all who reverence and trust the Lord—on all who obey him! Their reward shall be prosperity and happiness.  Your wife shall be contented in your home. And look at all those children! There they sit around the dinner table as vigorous and healthy as young olive trees.  That is God’s reward to those who reverence and trust him.(Ps. 128:1-4, LB) *