Saturday, November 24, 2012

Divorce Limbo

Let's face it: marriage is a mixed bag.  We don't really know what we are getting into.  At least most people don't.

Me?  I was different.  I, sure as Hell, knew what I was doing.  Given that I don't believe in Hell, you know that means I didn't really know what the Hell I was doing either! ;-)  (As I've mentioned, my first marriage didn't last.)

Many marriages, especially in the Christian world, appear to be an act of free will.  I live in the U.S.A., and, as much as anyone does, I chose my first wife.  And I chose poorly.  (Of course, it does take two to tango, so she was quite foolish to choose me as well!)

But wait a minute.  Did I choose my wife?  Matthew 19:6/Mark 10:9 both say:

"Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate."

Oh, so it wasn't me who chose my spouse poorly, but rather God.  But wait again!  God can't choose poorly.  Duh!  And that's why God forbade divorce.  And that's why Jesus forbade divorce.

Now if you are foolish enough to get divorced from God's chosen companion for you, like me, you may find yourself thinking: 

Hey, God made one marriage happen.  Why not let God make another one!  After all, per 1 John 4:8, "[w]hoever does not love does not know God, because God is love."  So what could be wrong with more love?

Wrong!  If you have divorced, you should consider yourself in divorce limbo for the rest of your life, where the only person you can marry would be your ex-wife, unless she has been with another man.  Even if you feel the urge to marry someone else, you will be committing adultery if you do so (Matthew 19:9).

Of course, there is nothing different in the desire to marry another spouse after a divorce, other than (hopefully) a little more wisdom.  Yet given that God Jesus disapproves of subsequent marriages, then it certainly won't be God guiding you to your next love.

Well, I married again.  And not only did I marry again, but I married a divorced woman, which is explicitly forbidden by Jesus (Matthew 5:32/Luke 16:18).  Oh, the shame.

Anyway, I've got to tell you, I think I did a much better job picking out my second wife than God did with the first one.  ;-)  This is true love.  Yup!  We atheists have found God!  At least if you buy into the whole love = God thing...


  1. I could read those passages from Matthew and Mark differently. I doubt most Christians think they didn't choose their spouse, but free will can be wishy washy in theology.

    Jesus dished out a lot of love life advice for someone who was never romantically connected with a woman.

    Glad the current marriage is working out.

  2. You're right, Grundy. It certainly is a wishy washy theology, and the passages could be read differently. I was just being a little bit playful. :-)

    Hey, I thought Jesus was making the beast with two backs with Mary Magdalene! ;-) Just kidding, of course.

    And thanks!

    1. Kidding...but you could be right. Not many writings from unbiased eyewitnesses. If I had a time machine, I'd totally go there...after checking out the future.

    2. Hey, me too! I'm up for some time travel! Of course, my first stop may be to invest in Apple in the 90's. ;-)

  3. I always read those passages as an injunction for the man, who was likely the sole support of his wife, to keep on taking care of her. Women didn't seem to have a lot of options, as they don't now in polygamous extremely patriarchal cultures.
    I didn't like the rest of it, especially since our church did not allowed remarried divorced men to 'hold office'. Or even a man who married a divorced woman.

    Also, I'd be surprised if Jesus was unmarried. Probability and all.

  4. I think that's a wise way to look at these verses, prarienymph. If Jesus was the man that I think he was, and if he did speak out about divorce like it is written, I think your right that it was out of a social consciousness that divorced women likely struggled to survive in most cases.

    I wouldn't be surprised if Jesus was married either. But if so, I think it is likely that he effectively left his wife to pursue God instead. Though he probably never divorced her. ;-)

  5. Unless he was married to Mary of Magdalene, or Mary the Great roughly translated.
    The disciples certainly left their families to follow Jesus, as Jesus instructed them. Since Jesus allegedly told people to leave and even hate their families in order to follow him you'd think he practiced what he preached.

  6. Indeed, prarienymph. I get the sense that the real Jesus preached asceticism as extremely favorable, if not the only way to make it into the Kingdom. Messages like his family are those people who obey God, not necessarily those with a bloodline relationship, and hate your family, wife, children, etc. in favor of loving God, would have made Jesus seem like a hypocrite if he was still cuddling up to a wife.

    On the other hand, I think that it is entirely possible that, if Mary was Jesus' wife, Jesus convinced Mary that they should be loving God more than each other, and so they stayed together yet separate, with their relationship turning asexual.