The debate in my head rages on
Well, raging is probably too strong a verb. I’m going to lay out the two sides of my current thinking regarding the whole remarriage issue. I’ve been thinking and praying about it for several months now, and don’t feel any closer to a conclusion than I was in the beginning.
God’s consistent example to us is one of patience that endures long periods of unrequited love. The Bible recounts many such examples. The story of God’s relationship with the people of
Jesus was telling this story to show how absurd it is when we don’t forgive each other, after He just forgave us for His death sentence. In my case I’m not dealing with forgiveness. I don’t have any anger, resentment or bitterness towards her. I really do hope she has a great life. I don’t want to have anything to do with it. But that’s just because I don’t want to go through the pain again. But beyond forgiveness is grace. The story of the ungrateful servant isn’t just about forgiveness. Ultimately it is about grace. The king gave servant A grace, but servant A didn’t give servant B grace. Now it seems to me that grace has an infinite array of manifestations based on the individuals and circumstances involved. When it comes to my particular situation, I can’t think of a more graceful thing to do than wait for my ex to get her head on straight and come back. Especially when you consider the biblical parallels between marriage and our relationship to Christ. My marriage may be dead. But what of the new spiritual entity that was formed when we made those vows before God and became one flesh?
It seems to me that no amount of exegesis or hermeneutics can overpower the simple concept of grace. I could read a hundred books that show reasons why, technically, I should be free to move on and marry another. I’m sure there are many linguistically acrobatic ways around what Jesus said when the Pharisees tried to corner Him with their trick question about divorce. He said if a man marries another woman after a divorce he commits adultery with her. How that can be worked around without a fair dose of eisegesis is beyond me. (But perhaps still possible.) But the question I’m asking myself is: Do I want to find a way to escape giving grace? This is a question of character, not analysis of law. I’m not worried about my eternal soul here. I’m pretty sure I could marry another woman and have a long, happy, healthy, spiritually full life that is blessed by God. But I’m not going to do that if it means choosing to be less like Christ than I could be…
So far I have been factoring 3 lives into this equation. Myself, my ex, and God. But I need to consider the other 2 people involved. My bestowing of grace will have an effect on them as well. While I patently wait, they are growing up without a stable mom. Their most formative years will lack the yin to my yang. I’m trying to provide as much yin as I can. And they do have some amazing females in their lives like their grandmother and the best nanny in the world. But I don’t think that can ever come close to a mother around the house. Grandma lives 3 hours away, and nanny will graduate in a couple years and want to get a real job.
There are two schools of thought on this one. (That I know of.) One of them says do the right thing, keep the commandments, and everything else will work itself out. This is what the Bill Gothard, Basic Life Principles materials promotes. My uncle lent me some books about marriage and divorce. It focuses on the covenant aspects of marriage, and how a covenant is not a contract, which is the way modern people tend to view marriage. In a contract, one party breaking their end of the deal will nullify it. In a covenant, both parties are obligated to uphold it regardless of the other party’s actions. I agree with a lot of the criticism I’ve read concerning Gothard’s teachings, but this part seems to fit into the pattern that I described above. God’s covenant with His people means He will be faithful regardless of our unfaithfulness to Him. Gothard’s materials are full of stories of people who stayed faithful to these vows, refused to remarry when their spouse left, and found God was faithful to fill in the gaps left by the ex.
That all sounds right to me, but there is something that gives me pause. I had this attitude the last two years of my marriage. I knew God hates divorce, so I figured if I just did everything I possibly could to keep a divorce from happening, things would just work out. The problem was that I had to overlook several other moral issues to keep that one going. Such as lying. I had to lie to my parents and in-laws constantly to make them feel like everything was ok. Also, I let my kids be exposed to a lot of horrible things they should never have seen and heard. I let these things happen because I thought it was for the Greater Good ™. Well, she persisted until I had to let it go for the safety of the kids. So it was all for naught. I don’t want to repeat the same process of blindly following a Greater Good ™, to the exclusion of the greater laws of love. Specifically, I don’t want to be waiting around for my ex wife, (who made a very conscious choice to leave the family) and deprive my children of a healthy, loving mother, and a proper example of how husbands and wives should treat each other.
So which is more important? Emulating Gods example of grace, or being open to building a better home environment for myself and my kids?