This is Part IV of a seven-day series I’m calling Treatise on Life in 2010. The series is designed to be an inspirational account of my fall from the complacent plateau I was on; down to what might make some think about bringing it all to an end. Through my living hell, I’ve found that God has done some wonderful things in my life the past 18 months and much of that time I’ve thought he was doing things “to” me, not “for” me. My mistake.
My goal here is to help you see the changes that have come about in my life that are refocusing my life mission and melding me back into someone God is using to affect positive and great change. I’d very much gotten off that path, and to get my attention, He decided it was best to remove the “distractions,” what I thought to be “the good life,” so that I could indeed focus once again on the mission he has laid out before me.
Saturday’s first installment was entitled The Treatise on Life in 2010–How I stopped fighting God and Started Following Instead. Sunday’s was called–The Old Me. Mondays message-Forgiveness and Regrets. Today’s message contains insights I’ve learned about divorce, separation and trying to start over again in a blended family. These are painful subjects and sadly, ones that are all too common in this day and age. There’s one thing in the Bible that God says he hates, and that’s divorce but today, many have again taken the easy route out, cut and run. But I caution your damning of them too quickly. We take vows at marriage to love one another till death due us part. But if the risk of death is some how expedited in the marriage, I just don’t see how or why God didn’t make a provision for such an allowance. Today’s piece simply is entitled, Divorce and Blended Families.
When the Pain of Getting Out Becomes Less Than the Pain of Staying In
I don’t know if you’ve ever heard that phrase or concept before, but it applies to the decision most go through when they’re in a marriage or relationship that they should not be. I’ve never been one to cut and run from a challenge, but there does come a point when getting out of a relationship clearly becomes less painful, (and it’s important here to point out that that’s still very painful,) than remaining in it. This is particularly hard for someone like me who genuinely believes in the good in others, who seeks to bring about compromise and smooth sailing, who despises confrontation.
I’ve told my second wife that I’ll always try to respect her privacy and try not reveal too much in my writings. But there’s a few concepts she’s never been able to grasp and I fear others may see life like this, too. Quite frankly, having said, “I do” does not grant the other in a marriage license to emotionally or physically mistreat the other person. God says he hates divorce (Malachi 2:16.) The Bible basically says the only way it’s legitimate is for their to be adultery in the mix.
I Can’t Think Like God, But Here’s What I Think of Abuse
But as God is merciful, I also don’t think God requires one to remain in an abusive situation. It’s not a provision in the Bible, and yes, there is a book full of people who were wronged, murdered, traded away and all, but my God also is not one who requires one to remain in a situation that clearly isn’t healthy for either party nor their children involved. I know, there is no scriptural basis for this. And yes, God tells us that the struggles on earth here are unjust, but he has a rich reward in Heaven. He wants us to not be in want of the pleasures of this life and to seek his love.
As one of my friends has pointed out to me this year, “Everyone has a right to be happy. What’s worse than being alone is being with the wrong person.”
Maybe the fault in one wanting to leave a marriage or relationship rests with the one wanting to leave the marriage or relationship. Indeed, if one had taken more time to decide to accept the other into one’s life, if one had investigated the other’s scruples more, the warning signs might not have been missed or ignored.
The Bible often speaks of being persecuted. Lots of Biblical characters were persecuted for being little more than a follower of Christ. But I don’t find that emotional or physical abuse in a relationship falls into the same description as the persecutions cited in the Bible.
As much as I grieve over the loss of my relationship with my second wife, it’s been pointed out that, like with my first marriage, I was down to the lick-log point where things were not getting better. They were worsening and increasing in size like a snowball racing down a hill, and getting worse with each rotation. It finally arrived at the point where the pain of getting out had become less than the pain I was enduring within.
When it comes to blending families, I think there really are two aspects to consider: 1) the Teddy Roosevelt quote of ‘‘tis far better to have been in the arena and lost than to never been in the arena at all,” and the extreme opposite, 2) forgo years of “happiness” in your life with another person until the children of both parties have reached 18 and are headed off to school.
The odds of a successful first marriage are bad enough in America already. Nearly 1/2 wind up in divorce at some point. For second marriages, the chances of failure leap to somewhere around 75 percent. For a third marriage, if I recall right, the statistical odds of a failed marriage are in the 90 percent range. Need I keep going with this?
I’ve tried the former path twice now. I hated being a statistical validator in the first time around, I despise it in a second.
Getting into a second marriage when you have your kids and your partner has their own doesn’t make for smooth sailing, and it doesn’t make “egg roll” nor the happy-go-lucky times of the Brady Bunch. In my second marriage, it was The Brady Bunch, less Alice, but add one more kid.
Looking back on the past five years is like looking out at the sea when Jason Bourne has been shot and is floating in a raging storm on the ocean with a blue beacon flashing. Indeed, in many ways, I’d forgotten who I am, or simply gave up on trying to be him as it was more like beating one’s head into a wall and hoping it will eventually quit hurting. I’ve long told friends that when things were good in my home, things were fantastic. When they were bad, they were as bad as you might imagine.
Now I will be the first to admit I am not without blame. I handled so many things wrong myself, I can’t begin to enumerate them.
I had, and will continue to have certain beliefs. While each spouse may have their own kids, no one has license to run roughshod over me, my own kids, my spouse or their siblings, no matter what conditions may pre-exist. If I’m not listened to within my own home, why am I living in it? There are other issues I could bring to your attention, but again, I’m trying to maintain an element of privacy.
If I’ve become afraid to share information with the other party because of the rage and anger it will generate, most often misdirected toward me, then why am I to remain in that situation? If I’m to walk around with blood rushing through my veins, making my ears ring, my body shaking from the frustration, fear, anxiety and feelings of hurt, how is it that God should say that I am a sinner for deciding that’s not the kind of promise I made to keep?
I just don’t believe that’s what God had in mind when it comes to the sanctity of marriage, and I never will.
Maybe blended families do work. Maybe marriages do work. But sadly, I can probably count on two hands the number of friends, family and acquaintances who are still in their first marriage and more importantly, living happily within it.
Do you agree or disagree?
Do you see any Biblical justification for divorce other than adultery?
Do you have a story about being in a blended family that would be inspiring to know?
If you’re one of the few and the lucky to be in a healthy marriage, what have you done to stay there?
- RE: Blending Families; The Imperative Inquisition (thedivorceencouragist.wordpress.com)
- Unique Step-Family Arrangements That Work (huffingtonpost.com)
- Achieve New-Found Joy During Holidays In Spite of a Break-Up, Says Divorce Reality Expert Nan Cohen (prweb.com)
- Living Together: Blending Like the Brady Bunch? Let’s Not Go Too Far. (nytimes.com)
- Getting Remarried? Learn from Your Mistakes (psychologytoday.com)