Sunday, September 18, 2011

Love and... Divorce

 I'm still planning to continue the "retelling the story" series...  wrestling with part 3.  However in the meantime, I jumped into a discussion on The Pangea Blog about divorce.  I've had some thoughts re divorce (funny that!!) & was mulling whether to share them here.  I ended up articulating them in response to a comment on Pangea, so am sharing my "comment" as a post here too.

Samuel Warren made the comment "Christianity is about love...divorce is not love, and quite frankly the bible does say that God hates it."  I gotta say, that's pretty much the comment I would have made myself, up to a year or so ago.  Here's my response: 

I'm a Christian, and have made the decision to divorce after 18 years of marriage.  ... my husband suffers with Aspergers syndrome - a kind of high functioning Autism.

I stuck with a difficult, often abusive (although there was no physical violence)  and very lonely marriage for so long, not because I believed that I was bound by any "law", but because "divorce is not love".  I believed that to walk away from my "marriage" (inverted commas intended) would be self-focused and unloving, and as you have intimated, against the character of Christ.  This is not to say I behaved in all that time, with beautiful, Christ-like love.  I was not able to. 

In January of this year, I saw a way forward, that I believe was from God.  I realised that if I took steps towards leaving, but did so slowly and taking measures to help my husband cope with the changes, I would be free, and he would also be taken care of. 

In the months since separation, I have seen him become a far better parent than ever before, and cope better with "life" than I had previously thought possible.  We still have a friendship, of sorts (it is taking time to work things out - for both of us) and because Aspergers is a social/relational handicap, I think perhaps this is partly because he is now freed from the demands of an intimacy he was never "wired" for. 

I believe marriage is meant to be a living picture of the intimacy  God desires with us.  There are instances where the "vows" are taken, and the words are said, but there is no possibility of establishing that kind of intimate connection.  Perhaps in those cases "marriage" is not love.  I actually believe what I endured was not truly "marriage", and  I have called the farce.  Divorce is an ugly word - and reactions from Christians have been... interesting!  However we can never afford to make judgments about others.

Oh - one other thing (this was not part of the above response)
Don't get the impression that I have conducted myself through separation and on the path to divorce in some kind of saint like manner.  For a long time there, I really stopped "listening" and was making quite a mess of things.  Still not sure I've got it all quite back on track.  Also don't get the impression that the other party has been a total "bad guy".  Far from it.  I've seen him respond to this in a way that has genuinely raised him in my esteem.  (and no, at this point I still don't believe a real marriage is possible)   However the fact is, whatever I do, whatever we do, whatever the outcome, God has hold of me, and love still wins!! 


  1. It is refreshing to read an honest dialogue about a difficult subject both personally and theologically. I believe there should be more honest conversation and teaching about divorce. I am glad to hear that you are both doing well while working out the next part of your journey.

  2. Don't listen to those "Christians" who tell you divorce is wrong. I don't think it is God's will for you to remain in an abusive relationship. I went to a seminar many years ago and the preacher/teacher said that when Jesus said divorce was only ok when there had been marital unfaithfulness, but this guy also said that it wasn't just meaning adultery but anything that was contrary to the marriage vows. I know how hard Aspergers can be and I salute you for your bravery.

  3. Kerry,

    I read both of these posts and the article, and I think that I'd give you a hug if we weren't several, several thousand kilometers apart. It seems liks you're in a great state of mind and trust now, and I think that's great. I have two quick thoughts for you, and I hope they only build you up further in love.

    The first thought is this: you will be judged on the last day by Christ; not by anyone else, and not before then. Your authenticity to your Creator is much more important than anything else. I think you already know this, but at least there's that concept in language that might offer a different perspective.

    The second thought is this: I think you should read up on the marriage of Bishop Gene Robinson. He and his wife were married with kids, and he eventually came to terms with himself and God that he was gay. He and his wife processed that information and prayed and meditated on what to do, and they eventually came up with the idea of having a ceremony: a ceremony in which they released one another from their marriage vows, and made new vows of Christian love and community to one another, as well as vows relating to the parenting of their children. They did so, got divorced, and walked on in life with the Living God, each other, and their community.

    Just thought I'd share those thoughts with you. And again, I'd hug you if I could.


  4. Wow, Ethan - that is an amazing story!! Thank you for your words - and for the hug!! Joyfully accepted!! :)


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