God hates divorce.
We're told this in Malachi 2:16, which adds, "For it covers one's garment with violence."
Surprisingly, my local newspaper also seems to see the connection between divorce and violence.
Michigan, like all the other states in the United States now that New York has changed its law, has a no-fault divorce law. That means that if any married person wants out of a marriage, he or she can get out of it. There doesn't have to be a reason. "More than 80% of...divorces are unilateral," my local paper reported ("There's Plenty to Discuss About Divorce," Lansing State Journal, July 9, 2010).
The Lansing State Journal believes this needs to change.
Every year, in Michigan alone, there are 30,000 children affected by divorce. That is 30,000 young children who will no longer share the same home with Mom and Dad. Usually, the children stay with Mom, and Dad lives elsewhere. As the total family income remains the same, this results in considerable hardship and even dire poverty.
Divorce is the number one cause of poverty. According to a recent Dateline documentary on NBC, 60 percent of children who do not have enough to eat are the children of divorce, living with a mother who is often destitute.
Highlighting the link with violence, the Lansing State Journal warns that these children are the most vulnerable in our society and the ones who are most likely to fill our prisons a decade or so down the line.
Yet the prevailing attitude of many when justifying their own divorce is: "Children are resilient!"
Trends and tragedies
I remember watching the Middle Eastern news channel al-Jazeera some years ago while on a visit to West Africa. This was at a time when the United States was lecturing a Middle Eastern nation on its human rights record. One lady from the region made the comment: "Who are the Americans to lecture us on human rights? The basic right of every child is to have two parents, yet half America's children don't." Good point.
The U.S. divorce rate is about 50 percent. Half of all American marriages end in divorce.
On a recent visit to Turkey, I asked our tour guide what the divorce rate was in the country. He said it was 3 percent. So I started checking the Internet. India has an even lower divorce rate of 1.1 percent, or 11 couples in a thousand!
It might surprise some today to learn that the U.S. divorce rate was much lower a century ago. There was a time when divorce was frowned upon and socially unacceptable. Of course, that was also a time when people were more aware of biblical teachings against divorce and for the sanctity and lifetime commitment of marriage.
The fact that it has become much more acceptable in the last few decades is a contributing factor to the exponential increase in the number of divorces.
"A team of researchers led by Brown University's Rose McDermott looked over material from a study of 12,000 Massachusetts residents since 1948 and concluded that divorce is contagious," wrote the Lansing paper on its opinion page leader. "A bill to restrict divorce, Senate Bill 1127, was filed in February." So far, it has not progressed any further.
Continuing, the paper said: "The state of Michigan has a vested interest in the welfare of its children. It's long been known that divorce can lead to all sorts of negative outcomes for children. As such, Michigan should reverse the last 30 years of policy and restrict the use of no-fault divorce for couples with minor children."
What the Bible says about the attacks on marriage
The apostle Paul's predictions in 2 Timothy 3:1-2 help us understand why divorce is more prevalent today. "But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves."
Not just men, of course, but women also. This is a very self-centered age. Selfishness abounds. Marriage requires a couple to care for each other. A successful marriage requires selflessness; selfishness is detrimental to marriage.
Paul also wrote of how the relationship between a man and a woman is similar to the relationship between Jesus Christ and the Church. "So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes it and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church" (Ephesians 5:28-29).
God not only hates divorce, He never intended it to happen in the first place. Jesus Christ said: "Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, permitted you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so" (Matthew 19:8).
A primary reason for divorce is mentioned in the very next verse. "And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery" (Matthew 19:9).
A prophecy about the end time states it very clearly: "They commit harlotry continually" (Hosea 4:18). The sexual immorality that is prevalent in the Western world today directly contributes to the high divorce rate. People who have had multiple sexual partners before marriage are highly unlikely to settle down and commit to one partner for life after marriage—they will eventually revert to their previous bad habits.
God hates divorce—and the United States and other Western nations largely ignore Him!
Nation continues to mock God
Cal Thomas, the conservative syndicated columnist, had an article in the same paper on Aug. 13, 2010, warning the United States against further mockery of the Almighty, this time over the trend toward same-sex marriage.
"The decision by a single, openly gay federal judge to strike down the will of 7 million Californians, tradition dating back millennia [not to mention biblical commands, which the judge decided, in his capacity as a false god, to also invalidate] is judicial vigilantism equal to Roe v. Wade" ("California Ruling Shows U.S. Immorality," Lansing State Journal).
Roe v. Wade was the Supreme Court case that legalized abortion in 1973. Neither of these seismic changes to the nation's culture was approved by the majority in a democratic process.
Thomas continued: "Most great powers unravel from within before invading armies [or in America's case, terrorists] conquer them. A preacher might develop a good sermon on how nations fare when they mock God."
Later in the column, Thomas wrote: "Abraham Lincoln concluded that our Civil War might have been God's judgment for America's tolerance of slavery. If that were so, why should 'the Almighty,' as Lincoln frequently referred to God, stay His hand in the face of our celebration of same-sex marriage?"
Although there are many people in the United States and other Western nations who are trying to be faithful to their spouses, recognizing that this is what God wants and expects of those who follow Him, increasingly it seems people just do what they want to do regardless of what God says.
Thomas continued, "A nation that loses its moral sense is a nation without any sense at all. Muslim fanatics who wish to destroy us are correct in their diagnosis of our moral rot: loss of a fear of God, immodesty, especially among women, materialism and much more."
In conclusion, Cal Thomas quoted Scripture: "None of this should surprise anyone who takes the time to read and understand what happens to people and nations that disregard God... 'Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint,' which is paraphrased in the Living Bible, 'When people do not accept divine guidance, they run wild' (Proverbs 29:18); and 'In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as he saw fit' (Judges 21:25)." WNP