Rising Above Religious Dogma to Save a Family
Outlines of book entitled:
God's Grace in Divorce:
Preserving the Marriage and Protecting the Children
Many spouses suffer under the yoke of a repressive partner and the family begs for a solution, only to be told by Christian faith groups that divorce is not an option. This happened to me and I stayed in a dysfunctional marriage for too long, a decision I now regret. Luckily, secular organizations stepped in and provided solid answers. In my case, an earlier divorce would have been better because the damage to the family was done before the divorce and not as a result of it – the divorce brought stability and healing.
My book departs from textbook clichés and reminds the reader to use God-given intellect in deciding what is best for the family. The path we choose may not agree with biblical interpretations and God understands our departure. God's Grace in Divorce helps those who cannot find a workable solution within the boundaries of religious teaching – it serves as escort and friend when traveling on a lonely road alone. The author shares his personal story to bring hope and healing, but most importantly, he begs the reader to trust in God. Reading the book will make visible the imprint of the Lord’s embracing arms and provide an inner peace of having been lead to a calm harbor.
Divorce for just cause is poorly understood in Christian circles and many believe it is self-inflicted. Uttering, “For whatever a man sows, that he will also reap (Galatians 6:7)” does not apply well and
I almost lost my children listening to advice-giving church groups who said I should hang on to the marriage for the sake of biblical teaching. As father of five children, I tried desperately to save my marriage, only to realize that divorce was the only option. So important was the exit for the health of the family that I feel obligated to share the experience with others and wrote, God's Grace in Divorce: Choosing Between Preserving the Marriage and Protecting the Children.
The book is unique in that it steps outside of religious conventions to resolve a common family problem, that of mental illness by the spouse. God’s Grace in Divorce is not a “how to” book but gives hard-earned insights into an issue that is often neglected. The family comes first and survival does not rest upon ancient rules but lies in the capable hands of a loving parent who is ultimately responsible for the home, albeit alone if so necessary.
Marriage is built on the understanding that both parties are rational and mature. When the mind of the partner drifts, the responsible spouse has amazingly little power to make a change; he or she is only one piece of the puzzle and commitment, love and counseling cannot transform the other. Disallowing divorce when the condition harms the nucleus of the family undermines the very purpose of marriage and violate God’s covenant to humanity by entrapping the family into an untenable situation.
As layman I make the bold statement that biblical permission on divorce does not apply well to modern times. Saying that “my hands are tied by the Bible” may satisfy the pastor’s own conviction, but such a careless remark tears the divorcing couple between strict church rules and the desire to exit. Rejected, confused and entangled in a mire of religious dogma, the party seeks assistance from a secular world and finds ready support there. The Church must respect divorce for just cause as an immutable human right on which to draw when no other option is available.
Although God’s plan of a mother and father serves best, the traditional family is not the only model
that works. My book explains that statistical records of troubled single-parent homes can be misleading because the data does not look at the reason for divorce. I believe that a marriage can only succeed if both partners are rational and mature. Character flaw of the parent(s), and not divorce, are the contributing factors of a dysfunctional home; they act as precursor for juvenile delinquency. This may explain why single parenting by widowhood works better than divorce – the grave can be a better resting place.
My book stresses the parent’s responsibility to create a loving and stable home by setting firm rules
and then going out and earning a living. A dysfunctional spouse makes this impossible because parental authority is being undermined. The children take advantage of the weak pillar and gravitate to the path
of least resistance. Without correction the house will eventually collapse. This happened to us and the children got involved in illegal activities outside the home – single parenting eventually corrected this.
I am critical of marriage counselors who try to reunite couples with textbook guidelines when mental illness causes the problem. While “interior decoration” will repair many marital struggles, the therapy approach alone fails when the house is collapsing. From my own experience I know that children want parents who have good morals, lead by example and are mentally stable. If this cannot be attained with two, doing it alone is best because clear and concise guidance from one parent is better than two in conflict. Single parenting causes minimal harm if the home is otherwise solid, welcoming, loving and fair – disharmony is the cause of destruction. When my family became functional again after the divorce, my children thanked me for having taken the step.