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How to get a divorce

At the beginning of the year, my church started talking about marriage. A marriage conference was planned. I promptly planned to skip it. My marriage was great and my backside was in no mood to sit in a pew for four hours.

The year progressed and the theme of marriage started popping up everywhere; in ads, in articles, in movies, in heartbreaking stories from friends....the subject was bombarding all around me. And then one of those projectiles smacked me in the face.

In case you missed it, the rainbow on the bumper sticker represents the homosexual movement and it's pointing out that Christians are always shouting about it being wrong for gays to marry (because the Bible says so) while at the same time, they seem to think there's nothing wrong with divorce (even though the Bible says so.)

And you know what? They're right.

It is hypocrisy. It doesn't make sense. It doesn't make the Bible less valid, but it does make Christians look foolish. Or, rather, Christians make Christians look foolish. Yes, some do, in the same way that Jersey Shore cast members make Italian-Americans look foolish. 

Nonna says it's not fair. 

She also recommends you take another cannelloni. 

While stereotypes and hypocrisy make fascinating discussion, it's not really the gist of this post. We're discussing divorce, which means we're also discussing marriage.

Statistically speaking, Christians are the most likely to divorce. 50% of marriages end in divorce. 60% of Christian marriages end in divorce. This sounds really bad for Christianity in general until you look at the stats a little more closely

People who identify themselves as Christian may have a higher divorce rate, but  "Couples who actively practice a religion together and pray on a daily basis have a much lower divorce rate, which is estimated at around 1-2%. However, religious couples who are not as active do not enjoy this low divorce rate; conservative Christians in general were more likely than atheists or agnostics to divorce." [source]

Which means conservative Christians in general weren't practicing their religion on a daily basis. Which means conservative Christians...weren't.

 — 60 percent of people who identify as Christians but rarely attend have been divorced.
 — 38 percent of those who attend church regularly have been divorced. [source]

Saying you're a Christian doesn't mean you make any attempt to act like a Christian. And attending church regularly doesn't make you a Christian. Being born again makes you a Christian. Believing in your heart and confessing with your mouth gets you saved. [source]

That said, being a Christian doesn't mean you never mess up. Divorce is a sin. Homosexual intercourse is a sin. But so is gossip. So is gluttony.

And for all of these, God gives mercy. We repent. He forgives. And He does forgive divorce. I've seen the beauty of God's grace in both of my parents' lives after their divorce. Both of my parents turned their lives around and are now living for God, married to wonderful spouses that are also living for God. If God forgives sin and restores lives, who are we to judge when we have our own share of sins?

God's forgiveness does not include a tally sheet weighing our good deeds and bad deeds. Either we've called Him Lord or we haven't. All sin is erased the moment we believe.

Declaring Him Lord means Lord of all.....all of our hopes, sure! that one's easy! But also Lord of all our hurts. Lord of our weakest areas. Lord of our strongest temptations. Lord of our work. Lord of our family. Lord of our marriage. 

If you're looking for an easy way to divorce, the first step is to take full control. Do not trust God with it. Do not ask Him for help. Most certainly, do not ask Him for advice. He might tell you to do something differently. Something unfair. Something hard. 

Trust me when I say that I know how hard it can be to stay. Trust me. I'm not naively saying any of this. I've walked through the fires and triumphantly lived to tell about it. To say that God has restored is an understatement; He has given me what I never imagined existed before I entered those fires.

It hurts. And it's hard. But it's worth it.

And, just so you know, I ended up going to that marriage conference our church sponsored. I started remembering how Chris and I argued and argued after the last marriage conference we attended. It was a few years ago and we thought we had a pretty good marriage before attending, but it apparently dug through a few calluses that had grown over some tender spots. We spent a few days arguing and kept working through our stuff until we'd gotten to the heart of the matter. And it healed our hearts. (more on that later)

Now, a very important caveat: That advice is for someone looking for a divorce. This is not the same as someone looking for safety. If you are in an abusive situation, then you need to leave. You need to take care of yourself and your children. Leaving is not divorcing. Leaving is loving. Remember the golden rule, 'love your neighbor as yourself''? This automatically assumes you understand the basic law of nature that says you'll love yourself enough to take care of yourself and treat yourself decently, protecting yourself from harm. 

As always, I have plenty more to say on the subject, but my eyes are getting blurry and my husband has some Nascar race highlights he's waiting to share with me. It's not my favorite choice for the night's entertainment, but he is my favorite choice and quite worth it. 

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"Man lives by affirmation even more than by bread." - Victor Hugo