Monday, April 11, 2005

Married, but Biblically Divorced?

The blog posts I'm most proud of are the ones dealing with marriage (like here, here, here, here, here, or here). I know that not everyone's marriage is perfect and many people have been hurt because marriages have fallen apart, but I still think marriages are the most powerful relationship one can enter into. I'm not a parent, but even that doesn't seem to have the same reciprocity that a functioning marriage does. Children grow up and away from parents, while a married couple continues to grow together and into one.

My marriage is fabulous. Mrs. Expat Teacher and I work very hard at keeping the spark alive and the relationship growing. You may have noticed that recently I've been mentioning her more frequently. It is because she is has been having more interesting analysis and thoughts on a wide variety of topics than yours truly. I just listen and think, "I outta blog this..." We were having a conversation over dinner lately about marriage and I posed this question, "Could someone be married, but Biblically divorced?"

Now the Bible doesn't give a lot of clear message about what makes someone married. Old Testament kings had many wives and, according to Church tradition, Paul's wife left him when he became so evangelically focused. However, we do know that it means you love one another, are comitted to one another forever, and monogamous (and not withholding sex without mutual consent).

I was thinking of the couple that is the "staying together for the kids" couple. They are still legally married, but may sleep in separate rooms. Each may have a lover. They may have separate financial or social lives. Is this married life? If so, isn't this just a secular marriage? If yes, isn't marriage a sacred thing? Therefore this secular partnership arrangement flies in the face of the 'sanctity of marriage' line that Republicans often use for political gain? Shouldn't we have a Constitutional amendment outlawing "staying together for the kids"? Republicans bent the Federal rules to interfere in the Schiavo's family's decision, why not others around the country to protect the sanctity of marriage?

Rhetorical? Maybe. Completely irrational? Possibly. Hypocritical? Probably. More importantly, what can the Church do to help these couples experience the wonderful joys of marriage that Mrs. Expat Teacher and I enjoy?

Your thoughts?