17 May, 2006

Divorce: Remarriage

Hmmm.

Anyone want to see codepoke eat dogfood?

So, I'm sitting here thinking about the remarriage question someone stated, and I know that I have no answers. That just means I have to think more, right? Well, what are the options for finding answers?

I could dig into the scriptures.
Well, actually, I think everyone has already done that. Probably ad nauseum. I doubt I'll find anything that hasn't already been said a couple dozen times.

I could look to counselling tomes.
Yeah, but duelling with counselors is even less satisfying than doing so with scripture.

Hmmm.

I could eat my own dogfood.
That's a computer programmer's term. It means to run your company with the software you sell, as opposed to buying someone else's software off the shelf - thereby accidently proving that their software is better than yours.

Why don't I ask the seniors in my church what they think of remarriage?

Duh.

OK. I'll do it!

So what will it look like?

I think maybe an interview for a report I'm going to give to a small group. (I remembered that they are old folk, and if I tell them that I'm doing this for a blog post, they'll all freeze up at the thought of the Internet.)

Then the thought occurs, that this might be kind of fun, other people might want to play, and the more people we ask, the more answers we get.

Sound interesting?

If so, here is my first cut at the questions I might want to ask. It will look like a survey, but I'm thinking of an interview nonetheless.

---

I'm doing some research for a friend who is going to write a report for his small group. It's on divorce and remarriage. He has looked at all the scriptures, but he really wants to know what some experienced Christians have seen in real life, so he is having some of his friends interview experienced Christians. Could I ask you his interview questions?

*) Do you believe that divorce is acceptable in the eyes of God?

*) Do you believe that remarrying a new spouse after divorce is acceptable in the eyes of God?

*) Have you ever seen a divorce that you think should have happened?

**) What made it seem necessary to you?

*) Have you seen many divorces reconciled?

**) Do you think most of them worked or failed in the end?

*) Have you seen many Christians remarry a new spouse after a divorce?

**) Do you think most of those remarriages worked, or failed in the end?

**) Why do you think that was?

*) Under what conditions do you think remarriage might work?

Thanks!

--

The first two questions are only there to get a barometer for how the other answers might look. I don't expect anyone who bans remarriage to say there are conditions that make it right.

Anyone have other questions to add? Rewordings for these ones? Want to do some interviewing?

I open the floor.

14 comments:

Milly said...

Are you asking if it's ok to remarry after divorce or? Will it confuse some if it isn't worded with “divorce?”

I'm kind of sleepy so I might be reading it wrong.

Weekend Fisher said...

If a person can tell what answer you want from the way a question is worded, it's a leading question. I kind of wince to see "Do you believe divorce is ever right for a Christian?" instead of "Do you believe divorce is right in the eyes of God?" or "What percentage of divorces you've seen do you believe were God-pleasing?"

You've done a great job opening up the ugly can of worms that we Christians just don't talk about (except for hand-wringing, which doesn't really count). I'm not saying that you're about to whitewash anything, I'm saying that I would hate to see it whitewashed. I don't think there's any such thing as a "good" divorce. "Lesser of two evils" divorce, maybe. "Good", no. Even a "good" divorce is ugly almost beyond description.

codepoke said...

Milly,

Good point. Reworded.

Weekend Fisher,

I'm saying that I would hate to see it whitewashed.

Agreed.

I think I was interpreting "right" in a narrower way than you did. I certainly did not mean "good" by it. A field amputation might be the right thing to do, but never a good thing to do. I rejected the word "necessary" as too leading in the whitewash direction.

I have dropped "right" back to "acceptable", and removed the word "ever" which is probably leading for sure. Hopefully, those changes put the questions closer to the center of the road.

I also added a question and followup on reconciliation.

All,

More corrections are solicited!

codepoke said...

DugALug,

You are probably the best person to dissect the reconciliation questions. Are they biased? (Of course, I'm interested in your thoughts on the others, too!)

Patchouli said...

I found some answers here http://divorcehope.com/ while researching the same questions.

Coming from a home where divorce
would have been a blessing, I am completely biased on this subject.

DugALug said...

Codepoke,

Now I blush. ;)

After what I just wrote a couple of posts down, I don't know if I can, or am worthy of answering these too well. Here is my thoughts, but I might come back when I am in a calmer mood.

*) Do you believe that divorce is acceptable in the eyes of God?

Yes. God made a provision for divorce.

*) Do you believe that remarrying a new spouse after divorce is acceptable in the eyes of God?

Yes. If the sin involved in divorce has been dealt with.

*) Have you ever seen a divorce that you think should have happened?

Yes.

**) What made it seem necessary to you?

Acts of blatant adultery.

*) Have you seen many divorces reconciled?

Yes.

**) Do you think most of them worked or failed in the end?

More worked than failed, but not by much.

*) Have you seen many Christians remarry a new spouse after a divorce?

Yes.

**) Do you think most of those remarriages worked, or failed in the end?

Again, mixed bag. I think more failed, but it is close.

**) Why do you think that was?

In more cases than not, they didn't close out the issues with the original marriage.

*) Under what conditions do you think remarriage might work?

When entering marriage, we pour so much of ourselves into it. It is hard, if not imposible, to have what it takes to sustain a second marriage.

For many it is an issue of removing a sense of mourning, bitterness, and failure, associated with the previous marriage. Here is what we council at our church for a sustained environment for remarriage:

1) Counseling: is this person 'ready' to be remarried? It is between you and God, but a counselor can ask some questions that you might not consider by yourself. It is imperative not to bring old baggage into the new marriage.

2) Accountability: have a healthy group of friends that you share and pray with.

3) Take finance classes. Something like Crown Ministry.

4) Consider the step-children. This decision needs all parties involved to be considered. This may take a while for them to warm up to the idea, but consideration for them will go long in helping them to embrace the new spouse.

5) Strong involvement in the church. This is not legalistic, but it kind of falls under #2, it is an issue of accountability.

6) Couple's fellowship groups: take advantage of a common resource at most churches.

Now interestingly, apart from #4 all of these things I would recomend to 1st time marriage folks too.

I hope this is what you were looking for. I apologize for my attitude.

God Bless
Doug

codepoke said...

DugALug,

I have bad news for you.

You are not old enough to take this survey. Thanks for playing, though! Please try again.

;-)

I was actually asking you whether the questions were improperly weighted in any way. Could they be equally comfortably answered by someone who would say, "Yes" and someone who would say, "No"?

I enjoyed your answers, though. :-)

When entering marriage, we pour so much of ourselves into it. It is hard, if not imposible, to have what it takes to sustain a second marriage.

This is one powerful sentence.

As I read it, a lot of things go through my mind. You have absolutely captured my deepest fear. But you have not been there, so you are speaking from observation, not experience. So, I have conflicting thoughts.

When I was 30, I blew my knee out playing soccer. I could not afford the surgery, so I lived with a dislocating knee for 4 years. I had insurance the second time I blew it out, so I went under the knife.

It probably took me a year or two to begin to move with confidence again. I don't just mean on the tennis court, but going down stairs, moving furniture, and stretching in the morning. (Ever had your knee dislocate just because you are stretching in the morning! Amazing how that habit drops off after just a time or two of crumpling on the ground.)

My recovery didn't happen by accident. They have the recovery process down to a science for knees - it's called rehab, and I can tell you the whole story. You do the silliest exercises, and they work. Eventually, you have done so many odd things, and gotten so good at them, that normal life seems possible again.

It was rehabing that knee that gave me back motion in every area of my life. I poured a lot of energy into getting that knee back, but it paid off handsomely.

The Lord knows whether I will marry again, but I am sure that I will rehab this injury. I will pour whatever energy it takes into getting back my full range of emotional motion again.

I'm twice the tennis player I was in 1993. I'm almost as fast, and mentally tougher than I ever dreamt back then. The bench is no place for healing.

The Lord made us pretty resilient creatures.

codepoke said...

Patchouli,

DivorceHope looks like a passionate site. Thanks for the link!

Coming from a home where divorce
would have been a blessing, I am completely biased on this subject.


I was raised fundamentalist, so I used to doubt these statements. No longer.

May the Lord bind the broken heart.

Danny Kaye said...

Codepoke, Sorry I have not joined in on these threads. It's funny. There are certain things about which I get that "deer in the headlights" look and the only wisdom I can scrounge up in my mind is: "Um...Uh...Hmmm...Er..."
For some reason, this is one of those topics.
I'll take a stab in the dark at these questions, though.

*) Do you believe that divorce is acceptable in the eyes of God?
Yes.

*) Do you believe that remarrying a new spouse after divorce is acceptable in the eyes of God?
Yes.

*) Have you ever seen a divorce that you think should have happened?
No. I can't bring myself to think that any divorce should have happened. To me, the book of Hosea teaches God's ability to forgive even our spiritual adulty. We should be able to forgive out of that same intense love he has. But He understands how difficult that is and allows for the divorce.

**) What made it seem necessary to you?
N/A

*) Have you seen many divorces reconciled?
No. I know of only on couple that got remarried to eachother after they divorced.

**) Do you think most of them worked or failed in the end?
I don't know. They are not here anymore.

*) Have you seen many Christians remarry a new spouse after a divorce?
No. Thankfully, I only know about 4 or 5 Christian couples who have divorced. But of those, I don't know of any who have remarried.

**) Do you think most of those remarriages worked, or failed in the end?
N/A


**) Why do you think that was?
N/A

*) Under what conditions do you think remarriage might work?

I can only list the things that my wife and I are committed to and impliment.

Whew...here we go...

It will work under the same conditions that the partners of a marriage who have not been divorced.

Both partners must hold to the same standard of the Bible.

Both partners should be committed to daily prayer together, and just when times are good or bad, but evry day.

Both partners must be able to have unlimited amounts of grace, mercy, and forgiveness extended to the other.

Both partners must be willing to resolve conflicts immediately. (caution...relative term used)

Both partners must be humble enough to be open about anything in their marriage. If one parter holds back, the other patner is stymied.

Either of the partners should be willing to look humbly at any scriptures that the other points out that will help him or her.

Both partners must be willing to take their biblical role in the marriage. The man must be committed to loving and leading his wife to God. And the woman must be committed to trusting in his leadership.

Both partners should be willing to take time about once a week to assess how the marriage is doing: What can they do to help one another? Are they growing closer to God? Are they growing closer to each other?
Ask questions during that time like:
What did I do this week that caused you to stumble?
What can I do to encourage you this week?
How do you feel like we are doing?
...etc.

Be open about everything inside and let nothing take root that will come out negatively during an argument. (make that "unity chat" instead of argument and it changes the whole tome, by the way.)

I guess I'm done for now.

codepoke said...

DK

No. I can't bring myself to think that any divorce should have happened. To me, the book of Hosea teaches God's ability to forgive even our spiritual adulty. We should be able to forgive out of that same intense love he has. But He understands how difficult that is and allows for the divorce.

Great, and very touching answer.

Thank you.

I may have to throw out, rewrite this question.

Be open about everything inside and let nothing take root that will come out negatively during an argument. (make that "unity chat" instead of argument and it changes the whole tome, by the way.)

"Unity chat."

Hehehe.

Boy does that spot of newspeak conjure some images. ;-D

DugALug said...

Codepoke,

Okay my bad: now see what I started? I am nothing but trouble.

The questions on reconciliation are biased only because you cannot answer yes/no to them. Wow! I can't believe that I am saying this... these answers fall in the gray of life. I agree with Weekend Fisher, 'right' is the wrong word. Perhaps, 'recoverable'. I would also contend that divorce is never God-pleasing, so WF's rework may also be unanswerable.

It is kind of like Paul waffling on the whole marriage thing: 'I'd have you be single, but if you must, marry.' What kind of answer is that?

To me, not to believe in remarriage is not to believe in Christ's redemption. God's love, grace and mercy is stronger than everything in our past, including marriage/divorce. I believe that in the world, remarriage is an equation for disaster, but with God, all things are possible.

Talking to my wife last night, I had another thought about remarriage. We are warned, as Christians, not to be a stumbling block to other Christians. If you think that in re-entering marriage, you may become a stumbling block for your new spouse, then you should avoid marriage.

Maybe I missed it, but I am also surprised that the scripture Jesus said about if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off, has not been quoted concerning divorce.

God Bless
Doug

codepoke said...

To me, not to believe in remarriage is not to believe in Christ's redemption. God's love, grace and mercy is stronger than everything in our past, including marriage/divorce. I believe that in the world, remarriage is an equation for disaster, but with God, all things are possible.


Strong DugALug. Thanks. I actually needed that.

Maybe I missed it, but I am also surprised that the scripture Jesus said about if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off, has not been quoted concerning divorce.

I actually did quote it in the doctrine post, but not in the way that you just did. You quoted it as a positive example (we should be willing to cut off a hand, so we should be willing to die alone.), and I quoted it as a negative one (nobody is willing to tell a friend to cut off a hand, so nobody should be willing to tell a friend to die alone.)

God bless you too!

Weekend Fisher said...

I was wondering if Dugalug meant "cut off hand" is like "divorce" -- if your spouse causes you to sin (etc)? Is that where you were going with it D?

DugALug said...

Weekend Fisher,

I meant it towards remarrying, but now that I think about it, it works for divorce too. Well there you have it.

God Bless,
-Doug