Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Wise Choice of a Mate

The Washington Times January 1, 2007 issue printed an article by Cheryl Wetztein, called "Is the U.S. Out of Love With Marriage?" the first of four parts.

In it she takes us back to the movie, "It's a Wonderful Life," which has a horrifying account of what life for a family and a small town would have been like if George Baily had never lived.

"His cozy home is a ghostly ruin," she says, "Wife Mary is a dried-up spinster. There are no rose petals from daughter Zuzu because there is no Zuzu. Even his town has become ugly and crude, with plenty of adult entertainment but no family homes, no loving couples, no playful children."

When we stop seeing that beautiful vision and ideal of a family, we stop having a purpose strong enough to keep marriage holy. It was my dream from my childhood to have a marriage and a family, and to live in a house of my own, and many women my age dreamt the same thing. The popular songs of the 50's were about one love, one wedding, and a cozy home. Years ago this was the simple definition of the American Dream.

Many men and women have had their dreams crushed because of the effects of the world on their marriages. Drugs --whether they be legal or illegal, are still drugs and have a devastating effect on the body and the personality. Drinking takes it toll on a person's behavior, which effects marriage. Women working outside the home create problems for children and for their own marriages. Men who will not be the providers, or who expect the women to work to "pull in their fair share" help create the breakdown of that dream. The outside world pulls at a marriage. There are those who are jealous of happiness and will dig to find problems, elevate those problems, and create strife in a marriage. There are men and women who make a play for other people's husbands and wives, putting even more stress and questions on the status of the marriage.

The best thing for young people to do is to choose carefully. One might think that the fact we are in such an enlightened age would mean guaranteed success in choosing a mate and in a lifetime marriage, but that is not the case. Marriages in our country were actually stronger and families were more loyal when young people were guided more carefully by the families in choice of a mate and when that choice was limited to only qualified people: qualified meant only those who were free to marry (not a 2-3-4 time divorcee or relationship hopper), and not a married person, and not a person who had the potential of harming the family in some way, whether morally or spiritually, and not someone who could not support you. I am speaking of the woman's choice here. I will address the young men later.

The freedom of choosing all by yourself does not necessarily mean we are better off in our country and our families. Many young people could have avoided divorce if they had sought out the counsel of their parents and those who had invested the most in them. I have seen better marriages when the couple had the hearty approval of their parents and when the marriage put them in right standing with their folks instead of causing division. So, just because you are "free to choose" does not mean you will live happily ever after. Our choices based on our own judgement are not always sound. We need the wise counsel of the people God has put in our lives, like parents and grandparents.

Marriage is too important a step to leave the deciding to the young people. It is more than just being in love. It is also an economic and financial investment. If this were not so, then why do so many lawyers eagerly accept the divorce cases of people who have been married 26 years or more? It is because they stand to profit fromt he vast domain of material things, savings accounts and equity the couple has built up. The longer they are married, the more valuable is their marriage both emotionally and materially. The enemies of marriage know this and they are out for what they can get from the break up of the home.

We need to go back to showing young people how to choose, based on certain limitations. In particular, young people should not marry these days if the choice grieves the parents. There is a lot more to the choice than just the personal preferences of the young people. An unwise choice can cause grief for decades.

Young men nowadays need to be especially careful. There are women today who prey on the good hearts of men who want to get married. They will marry them, have children, then sue for divorce and take everything that he has earned, and never let him see his children. They may marry and then divorce, taking the retirement that he has invested in, or the house or other property, leaving the man unable to get back on his feet. Then they may go on to marry another , wipe him out financially, divorce, and move on. One clue that someone will do that is if they have done it before. This is not a good record or good qualification for a 2nd or third marriage. There are other clues to look for, to deduct if a woman is entitled to marry again, but this is one that is easiest to look at. More subtle clues are her monetary habits, the way she treats her parents, her moods, and her values regarding staying home and being a wife and mother.

In my teen years every guy knew not to marry a girl who was rebellious to her parents or who just liked to party, and was not going to settle down to homemaking. The guys all wanted a good homemaker and the gals all wanted a good stable family man who would work to provide for his family. Every girl knew not to marry a guy who had no home for her and no income to support her.

In dealing with divorced women or men, we tread a very fine line these days, because of the so-called no-fault divorce practice. Under this unconstitutional law, a person doesn't have to have a reason for a divorce, and so when asked for a scriptural reason (which is only repeated, unrepented adultery), it leaves a person dependent on the word of the divorced person, rather than on proof. Prior to 1964, proof of broken vows had to be presented in court.Now, this is not the case.

In one case I know of, a man divorced his wife and told the church and his friends that it was scriptural (repeated, unrepented adultery). He passed himself off as the innocent party and even dated some of the girls at church. After quite a bit of investigation, it was discovered that his story was not true.

The problem with allowing such easy divorce, is that 1. It doesn't give them a chance to reconcile, and 2. It gives the people the opportunity to marry again and spread the same problems around. So, in choosing a mate, even if others have worked out a good marriage by marrying divorced people, it is safer not to marry a divorced person.

We could go round and round, wrangling the scriptures about just who can marry and who cannot remarry in the case of divorce, and who can divorce and who cannot, but here is one sure thing you can depend on: things will be a lot less complicated if you teach your children to marry only once to someone else who has not been married before. They cannot be confused or condemned doing this simple thing. Anything beyond that can be complicated. The least we can do is help the next generation by telling them the one sure, safe way to marry is to make a lifelong commitment to one person who has not been committed likewise before, and to stay in the marriage.

As has been stated before, a ship that will only stay together in one piece in calm water, is not worthy of being called a ship. Likewise, marriage was created by God so that two people could withstand hardships together as well as happiness. Often the happiness comes from the very hardships that quick divorce tries to free them from. To withstand the various attacks on their marriage relationships, kids will need their families to be very supportive .If they marry ill-advisedly and bring stress to their parents, they can hardly expect such support.

We know it is probably too late for the older generation to change things in their own lives as far as past divorces and marriage, but we do know it is good and right to teach the next generation to marry only once to someone who has not been married before. In saying this I am condemning no one but saying that there is one sure thing in the delimna of choosing a mate: it is okay to marry someone who has not been previously married and who had not had previous intimate relationships or children. It is better for the couple not to have all those complications of his kids/her kids, visitations, and so forth, in their married life. The only way to avoid it is not to marry someone who has never had previous relationships, committments or marriages. In saying this, I am condmening no one, but just saying we can help the young people do better.

It is true that the Bible says Jesus told the woman at the well (to whom he revealed that he knew of her several husbands) to "go and sin no more," but this does not mean that he gave her permission to keep on marrying and divorcing.A person who divorces several times can be forgiven, just as a thief or an embezzler can be forgiven, but it does not mean they should be allowed in a job of managing money, again. Just becaue a divorced person is forgiven, does not mean she/he should be trusted with the responsibility of marriage again.

Although there are exceptions, a young person needs to be very cautious about marrying someone who has been married before. Many people who have married such a person will tell you that although they are able to maintain a somewhat stable marriage, they will teach their own young people to marry one person one time for a life time, and not take someone who has had a previous marriage. This is because there are a lot of wounds and bitterness that they bring into a second marriage. They may feel distrustful and suspicious. They may never be able to totally abandon themselves to their marriage and make a success of it. Once a person has divorced, it is easier to divorce again. We see evidence of that all around us.

In saying all this, I realize there will be a host of people who will post day and night and even email me telling me there are exceptions and that they feel condemned by this article. In response I must say that we cannot base good standards on what WE personally did. We have to have a good standard of law to live by (the scriptures) rather than our own emotions. Today, even our national laws, particularly the divorce law and other law-suit type laws, are based on emotion rather than good standards. We can sue anyone just because we got hurt feelings, and they have to pay unless they want to contest. If they contest, they still have to pay.

So, in preventing divorce, we have to get away from our feelings and adhere to good principles contained in the Bible. If we become familiar with those, and read the Bible a lot, we will find our emotions will line up with our laws which we follow in the scriptures. We will train our emotions to respond according to our standards, so our standards have to be from the Bible. Thus we will feel teary-eyed and grieved, emotional and upset when someone tries to divorce, or when young people marry someone who is not a qualified candidate for marriage. It means our emotions will be anchored in our beliefs, which will be based on the scriptures, not on what our aunt did or our grandmother did, etc.

I am not condemning anyone but saying "Let's teach our young people a better way." Certainly there are many my age who have learned from the rebellion of the 60's, when people did what was right in their own eyes. We must pass on the wisdom we learned from watching such folly.

There are two types of reasoning, which I have talked about before: inductive reasoning, and deductive reasoning.

Inductive reasoning means that when a problem arises, your mind goes to your aunt or your cousin or your sister and you say something like, "Well, my sister was divorced 4 times. I love my sister. She is a good person. Therefore, it isn't so bad if you divorce multiple times." This kind of reasoning uses an emotion or a person or a personal circumstance as a standard for your opinion.

Deductive reasoning goes like this: The standard of law in the scriptures is that a man or woman should marry once for a life time. My sister divorced 4 times. I love my sister. She is a good person. But her behavior does not match the standard. Therefore, what she did is not a good example for me or my children."

I repeat that this is not about reasons for divorce, or who is divorced and who is not. It is about protecting the future generation from the problems they will face as a result of casual divorce that exists today. It is about showing them the realities of children from a split home, visitations, support, remarrying, and the church problems that accompany it. It is saying that marrying only once the wife or husband of your youth cannot split churches or cause the problems that multiple divorces can.

This ornament was so pretty I could not resist putting it here, although it doesn't really go with the article. I hope in someway the picture can "connect" to the thoughts here that marriage has to be held in highest honor and that we must help our young men and women to choose wisely.

Ornament from ebay seller Cozy-Cottage Decor at


Anonymous said...

I agree with this article wholeheartedly, and I know what I am talking about because I am one of the ones who divorced, remarried, and is even having another child with my new husband. I thought at the time of my divorce that I was "justified" in leaving my husband. In the years since I have seen how very wrong I was. I dearly love my current husband and am taking every step to make sure I don't repeat my mistakes but still I know the damage has been done to my four children. We have all suffered from it. Instead of relieving the tension between my first husband and me, divorce caused tons more animosity between us, complicated by his wife and my husband. I try my best to shelter my kids, but they still have to live with the fallout. And I know it was mostly my fault we got divorced in the first place. I could have tried to fix what was wrong, especially taking measures to change what was probably causing my husband to do wrong in our marriage. My first husband and I both really messed things up for our precious children, and now all I can try to do is make an impression on them not to make the same mistakes. I would love some of your advice on how to do that, at this point...

Harmony said...

"In particular, young people should not marry these days if the choice grieves the parents."

I agree with you in theory, but in practice I don't think this should be a hard and fast rule. I have seen parents who disapproved of their child's choice of mate for very silly reasons.

"She doesn't have a job" (when the girl wanted to be a homemaker)

"He is too involved in church" (that is, he was too dedicated to being a Christian)

"She's not good enough to be your wife, but you can have her for a girlfriend"

Unfortunately, the children getting married today are often the product of broken homes and Godless families. Many of their mothers worked outside the home, and many of their fathers weren't around. I think we're seeing the fruit of what was sown many years ago with the feminist movement, etc: there is a shortage of wise adults to turn to for advice.

Good article... It has made me think. I'm inclined to agree with you about marrying someone who has been married before.

Lydia said...

I don't really have any advice, but can only say that there will always be things like this that will stand out as lessons to the future generations, of the heart ache of visitation, support, airplane trips for children to former spouses during holidays, and inner strife. In any situation, no matter what has already been done, adhering as close to the standard as one possibly can, will bring more peace. The order of the family is described in various scriptures that is this: children are to honor their parents, that their lives may be long and that things will go well with them. Nearly everything that happens to people who get into problems regarding the home, are a result of dishonoring parent. One young lady was warned by her family and other families in church that she should not enter into a marriage with a certain young man. She did so, and all the things that they saw and she did not (his weakness, his lack of maniliness, his unfaithfulness) came to pass. After he divorced her, she is now crying, "I'm ony 23 and I'm divorced!" She couldn't see that this would happen. She had a dream just like every girl, of being married for a lifetime. But there are those who will destroy this dream. It happnes, and when it does, we have to be able to pass on the lesson to others to stick as close to the standard as they can. If they don't, what happened to these people, will serve as much of a warning.

I once met a boy who disregarded his father's advice regarding the purchase of a car. He bought impulsively and carelessly, spendig his total savings on a heap that soon needed a new engine. The other boy that sold it to him took the money right away and bought himself a dune buggy to ride on the beach and the sand dunes. There was no way of recovering the money. The boy that bought the car was very depressed but when I asked him what he would tell his future son, he would say, "Everyone has to make their own mistakes." God gave children parents to hand down the knowledge of their experience. We can't sit back and say, "Well I made my mistakes so you make yours." We have to spare them the heartache of a broken life. We have to show them the way to health, happiness and prosperity.

A lot of people are happy having married a divorced woman or a divorced man, but they will always say it is not the ideal, that there are difficulties regarding former spouses and troubled children, and they want their children to have the opportunity to marry only once. It helps to show them the pros and cons of these sticky marriage situations and see if they will draw the right conclusion.

Lydia said...

The silly reasons might be a cover up for some very serious reservations. Parents might not be able to tell what it is that bothers them and so they will throw out a reason, but it might be some deep forboding about it.

Anonymous said...

As an adult who came from a broken family, I can attest to how profoundly damaging divorce is to a child.

My parents divorced when I was a toddler. I saw one parent only 2 weekends a month. I felt like they didn't love me anymore. The other parent went back to school and made ungodly, worldly and pagan friends who influenced them in a very negative way.

Growing up I was painfully shy, lacked any self confidence, was afraid of being rejected and allowed myself to be poorly treated by other 'friends' because I was so afraid of being alone. I was cynical and jaded about life and used sarcasm to hide my pain. I did well in school but I know that I could have done even better if I had felt secure in my family life. I knew that if I did well in school, that I could go to college and have a 'fresh start' away from my family.

My parents have both been married multiple times since their divorce and although I honor their position as my parents, I am disgusted and appalled by their behaviour.

One of my parents left the other against their wishes. They have both been floundering morally ever since the divorce, fornication with multiple partners, living in sin with other people under the same roof as me and my sibling, abandoning any connection with Christianity, embracing New Age garbage and even drug and alcohol abuse by one of them.

One parent loved to tell others how 'well adjusted' and 'great' their children were and that the divorce did not affect us at all. When I heard them telling others that I wanted to yell, "Yes, I feel great about it and I love my family being divided. I love seeing one parent only 2 weekends a month and I love having stepparents who are rude and mean and wish we would disappear. I love my parents having live-in relationships and being afraid to use the toilet in my own home because I could get a STD. Yes, divorce has been great for me!"

One parent has even tried to encourage me lead an immoral lifestyle and join them in such selfish and destructive behavior as fornication, drunkenness and divorce. Misery likes company, they say. I told them no thank you and to leave me alone. I have tried to share the Gospel with them but they want no part of it and even mock my relationship with the Lord.

The heartache, strife, confusion, instability, grief, division and pain my parents have caused is very deep. I am Christian, so I am able to cope with it and move one with my life. My sibling, however, is not and they are a 'walking wounded' type of person who lives in a spirit of fear, is terrified of relationships and is very lonely.

Thanks Mom & Dad, for giving us life, feeding us when you weren't working during after school hours and sheltering us. But that is about all I can thank them for. All of the good examples and real love in my childhood came from people other than my parents. They were too caught up in 'finding their paths' or 'being happy' to notice the damage they were doing to their children.

Sorry about the rant, but it is so nice to read Lady Lydia's posts aknowledging how awful divorce is. So many Christians are unwilling to discuss the effects of divorce - wouldn't want to offend anyone! Well, maybe it's time that we start offending people and start telling the hard truth. God HATES divorce - 'nuf said.

Amanda said...

That is wonderful advice. Thank you for speaking the truth and for encouraging people to choose wisely. I have enjoyed your blog for some time now. :-) said...

Thank you for this EXCELLENT article. I truly enjoyed it.

Sue said...

I totally agree with everything you say here. Please keep spreading the word. I wish someone would have told me this years ago.

Anonymous said...

"In particular, young people should not marry these days if the choice grieves the parents."

Lady Lydia, I must disagree with this. My husband's parents were bitterly opposed to him marrying me, because his older brother (whom I met for the first time when my husband-to-be introduced me to his family) wanted to marry me. They thought I should be "given" to the oldest son. We eloped and they did not speak to us for a year. When the first of my children were born they changed their minds and we welcomed them, albeit with reservations. They are both with the Lord now, but before she died my mother-in-law told me how happy she was that I had married her son.

My husband's sister married a man that her parents fully approved of. When their triplets were 6 weeks old he left her. She has been divorced 11 years whereas I have been married over 12. In this case I think grieving his parents was unfortunate but still the right thing to do.

In His peace,

Lydia said...

Lady Lydia Speaks said...
Melody: your comment is an example of conclusions based on the inductive reasoning that I wrote about: it means that you take your own case and try to show how something works or does not work, based on yourself.

Deductive reasoning is based upon Biblical values and scriptural wisdom. It would would say, "It is always profitable to respect and honor parents. In my case, I did not do this. The fact that it worked out does not mean that it is right to dishonor parents.

The fact that it worked out is a part of the grace of God that was invoked in our lives, not because you didn't agree with your parents.

Although in your case this is what happened, I would hope your children and other people's children would reach for the highest scriptural ideal and get as close to the holy standard as they could.

] You have to admit, Wendy, that you would not want stress and strife to enter into your children's lives regarding defiance to their parents over choice of a mate.

No matter how well it might end up for them, you would surely want to spare them the uneasiness that it would bring them if they dishonored you. Even if it worked out for them, there would be that period of time that they would be ad odds with you, and we do not know if one day it would end up in problems of nervousness and unhappiness.

The problem with such inductive reasoning is that it takes each generation further away from the high standard that God wants for us in the scriptures.

You can't get around Ephesians 6, but many families will say, "Its okay that Ephesians 6 says such and such, but in my case, I did not do that, and things turned out alright. Therefore, it is okay for my kids to do it too."

As time goes on each generation will water it down til it means nothing and everyone will do what is right in their own eyes. For example, I left home at the age of 17 because my parents arranged for me to go and stay with someone they knew. In those days parents got rid of their children as soon as they were able to leave home, and it was considered quite normal. However when I had my own children I studied the matter more carefully and decided that it would be more in compliance with the scriptures if they stayed a little longer at home. I did not say, "I did such and such, and it did not harm me, therefore, it is okay for my kids to do it." I'm just using that as an example. I'm not condemning myself for leaving home at 17. I am just saying I learned a better way and I wanted that better way for my own children.

Another thing we did when we were younger is that we moved around a lot. In the past, it was a custom for preachers to stay about 3 years in a place and then move on to see if they could get more experience in another place. Even though it looked like we were pretty successful, I began to see some drawbacks with this kind of life, and we settled down in one place. I would not advice my kids to move around from place to place or say, "Well we did that, and we turned out alright." This inductive reasoning makes us base what is wise or unwise on what we did. While we need to take some of our successes and failures into account when making a decision, we still need to base that decision on the scriptures. The scriptures cannot fight with each other. We cannot obey one while violating another. I hope this makes sense. In the end, I believe that young people that honor their parents will be blessed with good marriages and success and happy families. This is what we need to tell young people.

Anonymous said...

What a great post. Divorce is wrong biblically except in the case of adultery. I am divorced because of infidelity on the part of my husband, it has been a terrible experience. I didn't even have children, we were married nearly 20 years.... It has taken me 8 years to recover, financially and emotionally, and I hope to be able to trust one day...

Anonymous said...

My heart ached for the annonymous comment (the person who said "as an adult who came from a broken family.......)
I can imagine how "messed up" you or your sister could feel. Thankfully though -you are able to look beyond your past and go on with life knowing, believing and living differently. I dont know you, but I wanted to tell you that I am very proud of you. Your life could have taken a different path and who knows where you would be today. God has His hand on you thats for sure. You have a nice testimony. May God use you and your testimony to encourage others.
God bless you.

Candy from Canada

P.s I loved the post Lady Lydia and the little heart decoration--super cute! Thanks =)

Anonymous said...

I, too, am a child of divorce. I saw my mother have affairs, drink, party, and eventually leave my father to be with another man when I was 15. The other man promptly moved in with us, despite my vehement protests to my mother. My father was heartbroken for a couple of years, but then he started dating again, and my brother and I took a backseat to their social lives. I did all the cooking, cleaning, grocery shopping, etc. and went to school and maintained high grades throughout high school. My mom eventually married the other man, who had been divorced three times, and my dad remarried a woman who had also been divorced three times. I really don't get along with either of my step-parents, although I love my step-siblings and hope they turn out alright.

My parents divorce has affected the kind of people my brother and I have become. While I chose to marry young and start a family immediately (I now am expecting my 5th child, I'll be 27 this year.), my younger brother is 24 and seems to be terrified of commitment. My mother has seen the error of her ways, and has often told me she wishes she had stayed with my father and tried harder to make it work. My father was a good, honest, faithful man, and my mother just thought the grass was greener on the other side. While they have made mistakes that I and my brother have paid for, my mother's situation reminds me how good I have it when my own husband makes me angry, or when I'm feeling a little self-pitying. I know I have a good man, and the one God wanted me to have (I prayed for my husband, and he sort of appeared out of nowhere.) I know that my children will see love and commitment their whole lives, and not anger and strife. They won't have to go to sleep wondering where Mom or Dad is. Bless you for posting this article.

Lydia said...

Regarding the question about divorce and such, this article deals with the warnings we need to give the next generation, and not with all the technical details about who can and who cannot divorce.

I could get involved in all the reasons and show who is justified and who is not, but my point of the article is that no matter who is the innocent party and who is the guilty party, it is still best to warn kids not to get themselves in that situation in the first place, and to avoid marrying into a divorce situation, whether or not the person is justified or innocent.

The reason being that a. people who are divorced come into a new marriage with reservations and wounds that effect the success of the next marriage, and b. they can continue to have problems with former spouses and c. they can marry into a situtation with children, which can complicate the new marriage.

Other reasons are that the next generation deserves to have a fresh start.

I am not saying anything bad about anyone who has divorced, but I ask the question: would you want the same thing for your oldest son or daughter or would you want the ideal for them--the way it was planned by God from the beginning: one man and one woman for a lifetime.

A preacher I know was wrought with confusion over the dilemna in his congregation. Many of the married couples had been married several times. They were now becoming grandparents.

The only thing he felt he could do without causing a riot, was to ask the young people to sit on the front row and to deliver a clear message to them about chosing wisely. He could say that we cannot do what we see others doing or what our parents and grandparents did, but that we have to return to the Biblical model.

If we take chances with divorce and remarriage, it gets complicated and causes problems. Such was the case in Corinth and throughout the Roman Empire. It does not build and strengthen a family or a nation, it weakens it.

If the young people don't want to have questions about the validity of their marriage or divorce, they need to stick to one choice: choose someone who has not been previously married. There will be NO controversy over that.Churches have split over the marriage/divorce/remarriage situation. But if the next generation is guided to choose wisely, they can escape some of the problems that our generation has had.

Lydia said...

The point of this article was not really to investigate the causes of divorce or the validity of one's divorce, but to show how we must give our kids the best chance they have by warning them not to marry anyone who does not intend to settle down to marriage and home and to avoid those who do not qualify as a marriage partner--including some divorced people, who will go on to divorce again and again. It is not an article about why and when a person can divorce. That would be better addressed in an article called "Reasons for Divorce," however, my purpose was to give our kids a fresh start, a better chance, a non-controversial marriage, and help the church overcome this problem of multiple marriages. In the 50's there might have been one person in a church who was divorced, and now there might be one person who is not. It makes weaker churches and weaker homes. Your own dear son or daughter of marriageable age deserves a good chance at starting out right. Although there is always room for compassion, in this day and age with all the problems people have, it is better for your son and daughter to play it safe by doing the one thing we know that is not wrong: marry only once to someone who has never had a relationship, and marry for life. Other topics need to be addressed that will concern such young couples, such as the stresses that will come in 5 years, 10 years, 15 years, 20 years and 30 years, that although they break up marriages today, do not have to be the ending of a marriage for our young people.We need to paint before them a pictue of marriage that is a dream worth attaining, rather than portraying it as some casual decision and then telling them it doesn't have to last.

Anonymous said...

I agree with your article--except the part about not marrying someone who's been in an intimate relationship before. I made an exception for my husband, who sincerely repented of his poor choice (she abandoned him to pursue her "career" in her home country, refusing point-blank to marry him), but I spent a large part of our "honeymoon period" regarding him with suspicion.

Actually, my past experience--everyone I had ever known before him had brutally betrayed my trust, including my parents--probably had more to do with it than anything he said or did.

He learned a hard lesson from something most people would just shrug off as "one of those things". It's a lesson we'll be passing along to our children: just don't go there. It would have been easier had my husband never been in that situation, but fortunately he's the kind of man he is, so I'm not worried about being abandoned.

For one thing, he'd never get the bread machine figured out...*grin*

That said, you are right. It is a good rule of thumb. The exceptions to the rule are very narrow, and require much prayer and discussion before allowing.

(Please excuse me for not signing this time, but in case any of his family happens to be visiting here, he would rather they didn't know about the "mistake.")

Lydia said...

This last comment confirms what I was in essence trying to point out: that although such a relationship works with some couples, there is no guarantee that it will work with our children. No matter what we have done, we need to pass on the knowledge to our children that it is always best to aim for the dream of a marriage with someone who also dreams of a marriage where there is no divorce or former relationships. We need to get back to giving marriage such a high value that we want our children to marry someone who doesn't have the disadvantage of having had a prior relationship, not just for that reason alone, but so that the couple can get a fresh start without the burden of bringing extra problems into the marriage.No matter what anyone has done, and even if we are very happy, we have to pass on to our children the importance of choosing wisely, and that wisdom includes aiming for the highest excellence in choice of a mate. They deserve a fresh start. We, no matter, what situation we have in our marriages, will be blessed by guiding our children into getting closer to the Biblical model of marriage. I didn't want to prolong this discussion if it was going to go in the direction of defining reasons for divorce, or defending marrying a divorced person. No matter what, I'm saying, lets give our kids a chance to avoid the turmoil by choosing the ultimate: one man, one woman, not married before. I am not trying to say that there is no reason for divorce. I am trying to say that no matter what the reason, lets encourage our children to use "availablity" as a standard, and let us be sure they know that just because a person is single does not mean he/she is qualified or available. There are many other things to consider.

Lean Not said...

Lady Lydia,

I agree both with your post and with the way you have responded to several of these comments. I admire your wisdom!

Perhaps the "silly reasons" some parents say that they disapprove of some marriages are not the real reasons at all: maybe the Lord just did not give the parents a peace, and the "silly reason" is the only concrete thing the parent can put his finger on.

But the real, valid reason is this: God did not put it on the parent's heart to put a blessing on the marriage. In that case, it seems that prayer on the hopeful bride and groom's part would be obviously better than rebellion!

In fact, when is prayer *not* the answer? God will honor those who honor their parents, and that is His promise.

Anonymous said...

Dearest lady Lydia,

This is a graphic and confronting testamony. Nonetheless I believe its important to be told. I am yet another child of the 70's divorce generation and can attest to how horribly distructive such broken homes can be upon the children. A few years after the split, my mother developed the early stages of the lung condition that would claim her life eleven years later at the age of 50. Battling this illness as a single mother on a meagre pension in a government house with one child with a disability and the other good hearted but constantly getting into trouble, her lot was miserable. Every winter she would have to go to hospital for several weeks at a time whereupon we'd be shunted from house to house, with families who weren't christian (though my mother's friends) one even betraying her, taking a large portion of her modest savings). she wound up for three months in a psych ward where we couldn't even visit her. My father was busy remarrying and saving for his new home, holidays and so on. This created much resentment in me as a teen, who at the first opportunity made the choice not to attend visits. The rift lasted for six years till my mother's death, leaving him the only one I had. The emotional damage on both sides took many years to repair and he still has his demons to face, as it were. Tragically, he abandoned his faith upon the divorce and my own actions didn't do anything to help him back. Married persons, do what you can so as not to subject yourselves to this sort of thing if at all possible (or your children). My mother never stopped loving my father. This is a true and dramatic yet all too common thing so many of us have lived through. I give thanks to God daily He held off providing me a husband till I was old enough to have my head together - what's more, though some years older than me, he'd never married nor beein in a long-term relationship. The stats show children from broken families stand a 50% higher chance of divorcing than their stable home counterparts - all the more reasons to make the right choices and as one singer in the 70's said 'stick together'.

One more minor point; often families of sons or daughters considering marriage to a person with a disability are outright warned against it due to all the misconceptions and misunderstandings and prejudices they hold, which makes it doubly hard for (especially ladies like me) to find a good spouse. I have seen many many friends with disabilities winding up broken hearted.


Mrs. E.

Lydia said...


If you will read again the definition I proposed about deductive vs. inductive reasoning, you can better understand why I said it is not good to made a call or a decision based on what your aunt or your mother, or some other person did. If they succeeded, God bless them, but they are not the ultimate standard or model for our children.

The world uses inductive reasoning, the way that lawyers and courts tend to use precedents (something that succeeded before). Although it is always good to weight a problem in light of wht succeeded and what failed, this is not the way to base the major decisions of your life. The standard is the Bible. This shows the example of marriage being one man and one woman for a lifetime. We know that there is an attack on marriage and that there will be those who will have their dream of a happy home thwarted by those who are mean and selfish. We aren't condmening them for being victims. However we are saying let the young people be guided to marry someone who has not been married before, and give themselves a fair chance to avoid the problems that divorce brings into a marriage.

Books and movies have changed from the theme of a man or woman meeting a once in a life time mate and marrying, to a man meeting a woman who has been twice jilted and has several children. In the 50's a girl could read a Harlequin Romance and it would be quite harmless and innocent---the girl meets a guy and they get married. Now the romance books are scary--a guy meets a girl who has already been used by several unscrupulous men, or a girl meets a guy who was left by his wife, and has to raise his children alone. Although this happens, it is too bad the books and movies don't build a dream for young people by showing them a fresh start with someone who has never had someone else. Instead of trying to show a goal, or a dream, they try to reflect the brokenness of society and how people pick up the pieces. There may be nothing wrong with that, but there is also a danger in that the young people may think that if he makes a mistake, he can always start over. What I said in the article is that it would be best if parents would indoctrinate their kids from childhood not to marry ill advisedly. I am speaking to parents who are conscientiously raising their kids and trying to teach them wisdom. I'm not talking about someone's wicked aunto whose advice it would be unwise to follow, or someone's drunken mother. I'm saying lets give the next generation a chance by letting them have one love for a lifetime, without all the baggage that divorced people bring to a marriage. Most divorced people, though now happily married a second time, will agree that they don't want their children to go through it and that they will be more careful in what they allow their children to do.

Lydia said...

To complete that sentence, "They may think if they made a mistake, they can just start over..." I meant that to mean that they may not take their decision to marry serioiusly enough to choose really carefuly. They may think they can just get a divorce if it doesn't work out, and then they will carry around the baggage and wounds into another marriage. That is what the article was about: Urge the young people to start fresh!!

Revka said...

This is how I was trained and how I want to train my children. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU for posting this commentary on marriage and divorce. I am one of the products of a very ugly divorce. I did not meet my father until I was 19, and discovered, to my dismay, that my father was not the man my mother told me about. My father had, indeed, broken his marriage vows, but in all other ways he was a disciplined, hard-working, leadership-oriented man of many other virtues which probably would have prevailed had my mother only supported him in his efforts to support his family. During my parents' marriage, he worked three jobs just to make ends meet, and she used his salary to send my sisters to exclusive private preschools. She homeschooled after preschool, but the preschool tuition was more than their mortgage payment. He broke his back to keep food on the table, and it ended up being unfortunate that he let down his guard through fatigue and allowed the temptations of the Devil into his life....but after seriously talking to both of my parents, I have come to the conclusion that the marriage could have been saved if....oh, for the ifs of this world.

I entered my marriage full of fears, suspicions and unfortunately with us purchasing the house next door to Mom's, whereupon she continued to put suspicions of my husband into my head. It took several years for me to learn how to "really" be a wife. Some books I have been reading include Fascinating Womanhood, The Surrendered Wife and some others I got from the library and can't remember the titles of. Basically I have to learn how to be a wife from a book. It grieves me to see my sisters who are in unhappy marriages; and my brothers-in-law are fine men. My sisters are just so suspicious and have to run everything. They never appear to be happy. My brothers-in-law, in my opinion, are very strong men to put up with all of it, and my husband has put up with me for so long as well.

When I think about all of this, I am truly ashamed of myself for the grief I have put my own husband through in the process of trying to learn what a marriage is all about. I hope some people who are tempted to divorce would first exhaust all possible efforts to save the marriage. The effect on children is devastating. Take it from a survivor.