Q: Many of my friends are in “revolving marriages,” one legally married partner after another. It makes me want to run from the whole “institution.”
And I've just heard of young people marrying someone in the miltary just for the health and extra pay benefits.
Why are people so fickle?
A: While the current economic situation may add a financial facet to this, our society in general seems to be in a season of fear about long term commitments.
Many of us operate on “if it feels good to me, then it’s OK.” Then when it no longer feels "OK," we bail out.
Long term commitments are evaluated by whether it feels painful, suspicious, empty, or is pleasurable, joyful, and/or satisfying.
If it’s bad, you bail out. If good, you stay. Some call this is a “consumer” marriage.
This leads to “serial monogamy” where partners are legally replaced in succession when the pain and frustration appears insurmountable.
Reconciliation is usually too late and fails because it too is relies on the “good feelings.”
I believe God wants us in life-long committed relationships. The church sees marriage as parallel to the unconditional love God has given to us in Christ.
In fact, the Bible is really all about
how to be successful in relationships. Jesus said: “Love God with all your heart with all your soul and with all your might, and love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matt. 22:37-39, Mark 12:30-31, Luke 10:27)
The Bible tells us that God wants to be in the midst of our marriages and so provide the strength and the power to hold the relationship together no matter what they might face together.
As faithful people, we base our relationships on the great love Christ has for each of us rather than if it “feels good or not” to us.
That being said, we must also recognize that even the best intentioned people make huge mistakes. Sometimes one partner becomes abusive.
I do not believe that God wants us to be doormats, battered and hurt with no hope of redemption and change. The safety and health of both persons is very important.
It’s in times like that in which we weep over the broken relationship and pray that the individuals involved to actively seek healing and wholeness no matter what the outcome, even if it leads to divorce.
No one wins in this situation. It is only by the grace of God that we find our way through these broken and painful times.
We need more thoughtful marriages. We need more considerate and prayerful courtships (the getting to know someone time before marriage.)
We need more understanding of how God empowers us to a lifetime of deeply committed love and not just a season of “pleasuring.”
Joy, peace and pleasure find a home in marriage, to be sure, but they come as a result of a mutual loving relationship with Christ. The “revolving door” attitude only leads to more heartbreaking brokenness.