By Francis Ewherido
I am taking the topic, divorce, today from the Christian perspective. Divorce is not one of the topics I enjoy writing about. I have quite a number of people close to me who are involved. I know their cases first hand and I really empathise with them. I used to believe and I still believe in the indissolubility of Christian marriages. Every divorce diminishes the institution of marriage and makes humanity poorer. But as I grow older and get more involved in marriage counselling, I have had to ask some questions. Today’s article, which is partly reactions to my article of August 6, 2022, has nothing to do with those people going into Christian marriage without knowing what it’s really is and those leaving marriage due to flimsy excuses. I believe that once you get married, only death should do you part. This is biblical (Genesis 24, Luke 16:18, 1 Peter 3:1, Genesis 2:24, Matthew 5:31-32, Mark 10:2-12, Luke 16:18).
Now question time. I have issues I want us to discuss. The foundation of marriage is love. In the last four or five weeks, a jealous wife burnt her husband to death. A man also killed his wife. In these cases, there were fears that there could be fatalities in the marriages, but they were ignored. Should these marriages have been allowed to continue because “for better, for worse?” I Corinthians 13: 4- 13 says “love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered; it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails…And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” This passage encompasses the essence of love. Where in this passage encourages killing of spouses or domestic violence? If it does not, why should such spouses be allowed to remain married? If it is obvious to you that your sister, brother, daughter, son and any loved would be killed by her/his spouse, will you allow her/him to remain in the marriage. Sometimes it is easy to quote the bible. For once, empathise and put yourself in the other person’s position. For me, my personal policy on domestic violence is zero tolerance. Once it gets to a point where you have to harm or kill your spouse, the marriage has lost its saltiness and should be thrown away as far I am concerned. Ultimately, the decision rests with the one whose life is endangered. But let me quickly add that some people are so dumb and blind that they need to be saved from themselves.
My second point is marriage based on deceit. Marriage is not built on buyers beware, but utmost good faith. It is like insurance “a buyer of the insurance product (the insured) has a responsibility to disclose to the insurance company (the underwriter) any information that aggravates or alters the usual nature of the risk the company is about to assume (underwrite). Also during courtship, parties should disclose fully any condition that will make the other party have a second thought about continuing with the relationship.” Such material facts include: infertility, impotency, compromised womb due to infection or abortion terminal ailment, financial hole (debt) such as to affect their finances gravely after marriage, using a falsified age, ex-convict status, previous marriage or children from previous liaisons, sex change ( you think you are marrying a woman, not knowing that you are getting married to a fellow man. Such acts create grounds for annulment of the marriage in denominations like the Catholic Church. Annulment is the doctrine that the marriage or consent of one party was based on falsehood; therefore the marriage is not valid. Some Christians criticize the Catholic Church that they are smuggling divorce into Christian marriage. The critics should tell us the solution to a marriage that was fraudulently contracted.
Then I add, some women marry a man just to father their children, once they get the children they want, they abandon the marriage. Some men also do the same thing. This is also fraud. What should the defrauded spouse do? Remain unmarried because he/she was scammed into marriage? What about a spouse who abandoned his or her marriage and went to marry another person? One of the marital vows is “for better for worse. Does it apply here when the spouse you exchanged vows with has moved on and married someone else?”
Talking about marital vows, let me delve in a little and throw more light. I hear girls proclaim on social media that they “can’t marry a broke man.” Please don’t because once you vow to marry him “for richer, for poorer,” you are obliged to keep your vow. So since you are not wise enough to realize that many billionaires and millionaires today were paupers when they got married, wait for a rich man to marry.
“In sickness and in health.” Many of these frail looking men and women you see were very strong and fit in their early days. There is no way they would have known that they would be beset by debilitating conditions later in life, so have it in mind before saying “in sickness and in health.” Be ready to stick to him/her if you find your spouse in that situation.
“Till death do us part.” I have been married for almost 25 years. Others have been married for 50 years and still counting. It is easy to live with the good attributes of your spouse, but living with the bad and the ugly attributes can be nightmarish. I wrote in my book, Life Lessons from Mudipapa, that marriage is a bed of roses. Roses are sweet-smelling, but come with vicious prickles. So you need to be very careful, otherwise, what you will experience are prickles, not the sweet smell of the roses.
Christian marriage is not prosperity gospel that some preachers portray it. Like Jesus, you might drink fine wine, dine with the mighty. But there is also a cross which you must bear. If you have issues with that, keep away from going into a Christian marriage. But welcome if you are ready for the grind and glamour.