Monday, April 13, 2009

The Covenant of Marriage

I don't really make a habit of commenting on local, national or political news. Nor do I find Hollywood to really BE news. What comes out of Hollywood is generally more of a spectacle-like than anything else. But I saw a "news" blurb on the CNN home page that caught my attention (and made my blood boil) regarding Mel Gibson and his wife of 28 years (with whom he has 7 children). This is a four minute news clip talking about how his wife signed for and filed for a divorce last Thursday.

The thing that strikes me worst about this video is not so much Gibson and his wife are getting a divorce (although that's horrible news in and of itself) but it's what the commenter says in this news article. He says that 28 years is a "successful marriage." A twenty eight year marriage, he says, that has run its course.

He says this as if we should nod our heads and sadly agree. Twenty eight years is a long time and I mean, really, they appear to have towed the line. Twenty eight years and we ought to thank them for putting up for one another for the sake of the modern record. Twenty eight years and we cheer as the divorced is finalized because they played it out as best as they could for as long as they could. IS this really a "job well done"? I find it pitiable at best, and disastrous at worst. The commenter should apologize to every couple in American that has reached 29 years of marriage because he rather implies that 28 years is boring and dull and really now, we can't expect more from anyone who vows 'till death to us part.' What's in such a phrase anyway?

Now, I'm not anti-divorce. No, not really. But. (Yes. There's a "but.") Signs of violence? Sexual immorality? In other words, there had better be a sincerely really bad reason for a divorce. A death of the marriage must truly have occured. I'm not talking about Hollywood's (and now America's) "irreconcilable differences" and "no fault divorces" because she found out that he eats beef and she made it very clear she was a vegan. Or worse - maybe they discovered they have different personalities. Waa!? Who marries their twin? We're all different and marriage takes WORK. I'm consistently surprised these days by how little people seem to care about C.O.M.M.U.N.I.C.A.T.I.O.N. It's like pulling teeth sometimes to get A FRIEND to sit down and converse about something that might be unpleasant. We just don't want to go to a place in conversation where controversy MIGHT come up that we MIGHT have to deal with. And so we Americans would prefer to smile sadly and wave at each other across the room and say we might as well write each other off and claim "irreconcilable differences" and "no fault" ends to friendships. After all, that seems more peaceful, calm and loving, right?

Conflict = bad. Fake harmony = good. The equation is messed up.

Iron sharpens iron, So one man sharpens another. Proverbs 27:17 (NAS)

From Matthew Henry's Commentary:

17. We are cautioned to take heed whom we converse with. And directed to have in view, in conversation, to make one another wiser and better.

Here is a picture I found of fire sparks that were created as iron was being sharpened (just incase that mental word image always previously gave you the warm fuzzies):

Folks, we can't keep walking away from "hard" conversations just because they seem hard. We'll never be able to celebrate the beauty of a TRULY successful marriage/friendship unless we are willing to work through the hard times. No life is perfect, no one is perfect and no marriage is perfect. However, we are to mirror and be a reflection of a relationship that is perfect and that is the one of Jesus Christ to his bride (the church). He laid down his life for us. He went through the Ultimate Bad Time so that the marriage relationship could exist, survive and THRIVE. He didn't do this to last for 28 years. He did it to last for eternity!

Can Mel Gibson and his wife be said to have had a successful marriage? I argue: no. It's easy to start the race, but it's much harder to finish it well. The signature on the divorce filing does not signify that it was finished well. The commentator himself said there is no blame in either camp - it just "ran it's course." However, since they are still alive I'd suggest they keep running. They haven't even come to the place where they begin to gather in the benefits of their hard labor. They'll never be able to do if they just stop now without justifiable reason.

Friends, we must stop walking away from conversations and situations just because they look hard. We must start walking to and through them. The reward is on the other side of the resolved conflict -- not on this side. A sad smile and wave my pacify you for the moment but hard work can bless you, your children and your children's children for generations to come!

Which would you really prefer?


Unknown said...

Welcome back, "old Carrie." Ha! Just kidding.

Great post. I love it when you tackle these issues. You're right -- it's much easier to start well than to finish well.

I wonder too if they are making such a big deal of it, because he's been outspoken about his faith lately. They (they being the popular media) want us to fail.

Amy @ Hope Is the Word said...


Janice Phillips said...

AWESOME! All I can say in response is "yea and amen!"

Alicia said...

Wow, that is so true. SO TRUE. At one point in the video he says, "Successful by Hollywood standards". Since marriage is an institution put in place by God, I guess he determines the success.

Kipi said...

Well said, Carrie!

Anonymous said...

What a great post!

Unknown said...

Amen friend. I am reading a book by John Piper right now called This Momentary Marriage and it discusses this very's a wonderful book!

Holly (2 Kids and Tired) said...

Beaautifully said!

Momnerd said...

Very good post! I do read your blog but rarely comment. I'm sorry. But I agree with you 100% on this. And I love how you apply it to not just marriages, but all relationships. Having a good relationship with anyone takes really hard work and sometimes really hard times. But isn't that really what makes it worth it?

Katrina said...

Fantastic post, Carrie. Marital commitment does not have an expiration date.

Melissa said...

You said this so beautifully, I can only add a hearty AMEN!

Sky said...

Til DEATH! I reveled in that vow as I said it and I mean it right now and I intend to mean it until one of us actually does DIE. (Hopefully about a hundred years from now and only minutes apart!)

Narnia_girl said...

Yes, very well said. That is a sad commentary that 28 years is long enough and the newscaster would say a divorced couple had a successful marriage. HUH??
And your photo of the Proverbs verse is right on. When iron heats up and strikes other iron it is gonna hurt, and send sparks and make change. But the result is better, sharper.

~teachmom~ said...

Hi, Carrie!
This is of a conversation I had been having this week with friends. We'd been discussing the "rise of divorce in this state of economy" (which may or may not be true). It saddens me, nonetheless, when I hear of a couple I know personally who are considering or going through a divorce. I try to wrap my head around this issue and it all comes back to what you said: there ought to be A VERY BIG reason why the marriage has died, and the ones the "Hollywierds" give often not comes close to good reason. They are thrifty excuses and nothing more.
So sad....

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