A couple of weeks ago, Pat Robertson (chairman of the Christian Broadcasting Network) literally kicked up a fire storm with his remarks about divorcing a spouse who has Alzheimer’s disease. His comment was, I wouldn’t “put someone on a guilt trip for divorcing a spouse with Alzheimer’s disease” calling Alzheimer’s itself a “kind of death.”
You can imagine the outcry from conservative Christian leaders who view marriage as a life long commitment that calls for unending faithfulness on the part of the man and the woman. Doctors and social workers weighed in as well. “To condone abandoning one’s spouse in the throes of this mind-robbing illness is absurd,” said Dr. Amanda Smith, the medical director at the University of South Florida Health Alzheimer’s Center in Tampa.
Others wondered about spouses that are “symbolically dead.” Maybe they habitually play video games or watch non stop sports and leave their marriage in the dust. Is that a kind of “death” a marriage might suffer? Can we be freed from that commitment? In that circumstance is it a “throw away marriage?”
And speaking of throw away commitments, I saw a blurb on the internet that says Mexico City lawmakers are proposing legislation that would “allow newlyweds to apply for temporary marriage licenses, instead of plunging into wedded life as a lifetime commitment.” Apparently they are considering a two year commitment as a minimum “if couples are still enjoying wedded bliss when the contracts ends, then they would be able to renew the license. And if they are unhappy, the contract expires and they are both free without going through a divorce.” (WLS 890 AM)
So much for marriage being an honorable union (Hebrews 13:4) that is also a permanent covenant for life!
Malachi 2:14 “You ask why? It is because the Lord is acting as the witness between you and the wife of your youth, because you have broken faith with her, though she is your partner, the wife of your marriage covenant.”
I can only imagine how difficult it is to care for a spouse who has “left” you to deal with the dregs Alzheimer’s disease. I know that marriage can be very difficult and sometimes violent offenders just can not be lived with in the same house. But our marriages can not be seen as “throw away” commodities. Our children can not survive in a culture where commitments mean nothing. A vow is a vow. Such commitments are the scaffolding of our society.
This week, let’s be reminded of Nehemiah’s stirring words to the folks rebuilding the wall of Jerusalem amid very difficult circumstances. Regarding the enemies around them he said, “Don’t be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and FIGHT FOR YOUR BROTHERS, YOUR SONS AND YOUR DAUGHTERS, YOUR WIVES AND YOUR HOMES.” (Nehemiah 4:14) If ever there was something to fight for, it is our homes, our marriages, our examples to our kids. Regardless of how tough it is in your world this week, fight for what matters! Marriages are not discardable!
By His Grace and for His Glory,
Sherry L. Worel