Til Death Do Us Part…

My Response to the Pat Robertson Controversy

I’ve been asked several times over the past several days what I think about the whole issue of Pat Robertson’s comments in regard to divorce and Alzheimer’s. I did address the actual story on the September 20th episode of my radio show. If you are so inclined to hear what my take was, click here. I won’t go into detail here in this post, but what I would like to comment on is the outpouring of responses that Christian people all across the Internet and media world put forth.

Huge numbers of people—both believers and non-believers—have been in an uproar and it’s created quite the firestorm of controversy. First, over Robertson himself, and second, about how awful, heartless and cruel someone would be to divorce a spouse in the throes of a terrible disease. Yet, I would guess that it is many of these very same people who condone and advocate divorce in circumstances far less trying than Alzheimer’s. Does anyone else see the inconsistency here?
READ THIS VERY CAREFULLY:  I am NOT advocating divorce in the cases of Alzheimer’s. I am NOT saying it’s okay to dump your spouse and find another. I DO believe that the marriage vows we take say we are in this covenant for better or worse, sickness and in health, till death do us part and that we don’t get a free pass just because a disease like this is, in Robertson’s words, like a death.

I do find it extraordinarily ironic that so many Christians are up in arms over this example, yet so freely endorse divorce for reasons like I’m not happy, my needs aren’t met, we’ve just grown apart, and we’re not in love anymore. (Studies estimate that 60% of all divorces occur in low-conflict marriages where there is no infidelity, abuse, addictions, etc.)  Silly, stupid, ridiculous reasons that people in churches give for ending their marriages every single day. Funny, it doesn’t seem that anyone is rushing in to make a big deal made about those divorces. There is no backlash in the Christian community decrying the cruelty to those husbands and wives, or to those children who are being abandoned.

Apparently, everyone who is shouting out the callousness in this case can very easily see how heartless it is to divorce a sick woman. (Now track very, very carefully with me here. Again, I am not saying it’s okay to leave a sick spouse. It is not okay.) But the truth is in a case like the example Robertson spoke of, she doesn’t know. She doesn’t know her who husband is anymore, or that he’s not there. She’s not going to suffer the emotional heartbreak over this. The children in this family would be older and could possibly see and understand the situation for what it is. But what about all the Christians who divorce and leave spouses and kids who do know what’s happening?  What about the innumerable wives, and children who are small or teenagers and are very well aware of the pain and suffering that comes as a part of dad moving on. (The reverse is also true when the wife is the one divorcing her husband.) Doesn’t anyone see the cruelty in that? Where is the rallying cry for them?

Do you see my point? Why is the example in Robertson’s case such an atrocity, while the many instances of church-goers abandoning their spouses for any reason under the sun given the stamp of approval?  Scores of Christians think, “God wants us to be happy, He doesn’t want me to stay in a marriage where I don’t feel loved or my needs aren’t met. The kids will adjust and be okay. I deserve to have a better life than this.”  Isn’t that all the man in the Robertson case is saying? Isn’t he just saying what many Christian couples say every day? Then please explain the difference to me.

Can we take a moment to really examine how gravely inconsistent the thinking is on this issue? I have yet to come across any blog posts, articles, or editorials that even touch on this viewpoint of the whole Robertson brouhaha. Maybe they are out there, but I just haven’t stumbled upon them. Why is it that this Alzheimer’s thing is causing people to have such a cow? Because it seems cold and selfish to walk out on a woman who has lost her mind?  Well, to me it’s cold and selfish when you walk out on your wife and kids who do still have their minds and are left reeling in the pain and disillusionment of a divorce. Yet far too many people don’t even bat an eye at that.

Seriously…how double-minded can people be?

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41 Responses to “Til Death Do Us Part…”

  1. Jamal says:

    Wow! I didn’t hear anything about this. But I know one thing we live in a society of double standards. So of course no one is going to say anything about the spouses that are lucid and well and walk out of marriages. Leaving the other person hurt and distraught and kids having a poor picture of what it’s like to be married and how relationships are. So what if the divorce rate in America is thru the roof? I can just trade it in and get a new one or be by myself. Good luck with that hurt and pain. I for one will be sticking it out until death do us part. No matter what.

  2. Josue in Florida says:

    Disobedience, selfishness, egocentrism, lazyness, that is why people divorce. If people only put God in charge and let him run their lifes. Stick to the Scripture, it worked for me, still does.

  3. Tony says:

    I totally agree. However, I’d like to add that three to four times as many women are trying to throw their husbands out, compared to the number of husbands choosing to rid themselves of their wives.

    Not that it makes it any better. But it’s not accurate to focus the argument at husbands walking out when the reality of the divorce stats tell a different story. Wives are by a margin of between two and three to one, dispatching the husband over the husband dispatching the wife from the marriage.

  4. Diane Brierley for Mark Gungor says:

    Actually, studies show that during illness a husband is six times more likely to leave his ill wife. Again, that is during an illness…the numbers are different for wives who divorce their husbands apart from illness. You are correct in that more divorces are filed by women.

  5. rhonda says:

    It’s atrocious because this woman needs care. Whether she knows him or not, she needs him. Babies don’t have the psycological wherewithal to know if parents are there, but you don’t leave them. These ppl are basically like babies-helpless. It is cruel.

  6. Chris says:

    How many people have seen and loved the movie “The Notebook”… ?

    It is far, far better to keep ALL our marriage vows than to show ourselves to be a liar and walk out on our spouse.

  7. Diane Anderson says:

    When the father/roll model abandons his wife because she is sick, it destroys the sense of security his children should feel in their fathers commitment and love. For if they get sick, he may abandon them too. This abandonment is no different than the abandonment of children with special needs. Or the abandonment of children under any other divorce situation.
    Divorce is never a good choice. Pat Robertson is well known, so his statements are grabbed by the media and given more weight than they deserve. Yes, it has been blown out of proportion. I simply urge you not to downplay this excuse for divorce to make your point. Because no divorce is without victims. Thank you for listening.
    Diane Anderson

  8. Ruth says:

    I fully agree. Divorce is not only a selfish, unloving act, but an act of rebellion against the God Who said, “. . . let not man put asunder” and that “he hateth putting away.”

  9. Sean Mills says:

    VERY well said, I am amazed at how often I hear folks complaining about “others” being wrong and not addressing the entire subject for fear it may aply to them. I remind myself daily that the speck in their eye is NOTHING compared to the plank in mine. Thank you for sharing your gift, keep it up, you are making a difference!

    God Bless.

  10. Ed says:

    Wow – Brother, I have never heard it put quite like that. My late wife had a brain-tumor, and I took care of her to the end. And yes, she didn’t know who I was or my children were, the last 10-12 months of her life. I never thought of divorcing her or taking up with someone else. You are quite right, to leave a healthy spouse over relatively minor issues, and devastating some children is much crueler than leaving someone who doesn’t know. I liked your writing on Jesus not being a hypocrite – alog the same line, you don’t have to have emotional, inter-personal love, to act in love. And an honest act of love can often soften a heart that is hardened, even your own.

  11. Grace says:

    So so true! My husband filed for divorce after he was having an affair for 3 yrs and we were separated for 3 yrs. I urged him from the beginning of the affair to go to counseling with me so we could get back on the right track but his response was “He knows God doesn’t want him to be unhappy and I’m the wrong person for him”, even though we’re both saved from the day we married at the age of 40 for the first time. We had also discussed this prior to marriage and had agreed that divorce was not an option. He said even though he said that before getting married he didn’t want to go to counseling. The divorce should be final within the next few weeks, unless a miracle takes place in his heart.

  12. Sue Hobbs says:

    thank you Mark for your insights into divorce (above) i whole heartedly agree with you. sounds to me that we Christians are flirting too much with th world – when something get tough we run rather than facing it and fighting it with the full armour of the Holy Spirit! it seems to me that we are supremely self centered and immature to say “God wants us to be happy, He doesn’t want me to stay in a marriage where I don’t feel loved or my needs aren’t met.” i wonder if we need more teaching on maturing or growing up as Christians???
    thank you for your God-given wisdom – PS i heard you preach in Hillcrest when you were in South Africa :)

  13. Lomalangeni says:

    I agree fully with you Pastor. We tend to give weights to problems and then justifications yet a problem is a problem and in the eyes of God all have solutions. In cases of sicknesses, whatever it may be, it is no reason to weigh it to be a bearable or not bearable, what happened to God the healer?! Yes it may seem cruel to leave when this desease attacks, so is leaving when there are other problems. If we could just learn to trust in God and lean not to what we think we know. Our God never allows that which we cannot handle. So, no reason is justifiable for divorce except MAYBE for that which Jesus stated..

  14. Judy says:

    I am going to cite a scripture here that says it all:
    Malachi 2:15,16
    “You people must guard yourself respecting your spirit, and with the wife of your youth may no one deal treacherously. For he hates a divorcing” the God of Israel has said.
    The only permissable grounds for divorce and remarriage according to the scriptures is Adultery or fornication.
    Certainly not Sickness.

  15. Mindy says:

    Oh yeah! This topic rocks! I am ready to give you my very best marriage advice… Take your spouses face in your hands. Look them directly in the eyes. Say- I love you. I do not give up. I do not give in. Never will I leave you. Say it now… today… because you are not guaranteed a tomorrow. Say it now… so that if that day comes when you look into your spouses eyes and they cannot see through the trap of their own mind… you will have a foundation to stand on. And if that day comes when your spouse does not know who you are… take their face in your hands and keep on saying it… every day… so that you do not forget who you are.
    PS… The number one piece of marriage advice I received from BOTH Christian and secular friends during the hardest days was… “He is not the man you married. Nobody would blame you if…” To that I say… This is a no opt out marriage. Never will I leave you. I will help you remember my name.

  16. Donna says:

    Pat Robertson is in a position of leadership unlike the rest of us filling the pews. And the point is, it doesn’t matter “she doesn’t know,” but rather, “he” knows.

  17. dennis says:

    I read God’s word and the words of our Lord Jesus as saying “until death do us part”, not”until our spouse loses their mind”. Granted, it may be hard , but ,”we are to be imitators of God” ,as in Ephesians, maybe impossible. God wants us to realize that if we understand the context of “God’s Time”, then this short lifetime is finite compared to eternity with God in Heaven. Any terrible struggle we are to endure in this life is well worth it , in order to receive the promise of eternity with God. He puts TESTS in our life even as Christians to determine our future REWARDS in Heaven . How we handle these is up to us , but just how grateful are we for this PROMISE . Also, what about the children. Sure they will cope , but how well. I’m sorry , but, I see no excuse in the Bible , except adultry and abuse, for devorce ,because , in my mind , the children and Jesus are so , so important. God loves us anyway, no matter what we do , but do we really love Him enough to make the right hard choices. Look at Peter , do you think he regretted the choice he made ,3 times , before the cock crowed. Yet, we all know he loved Jesus. I love Jesus and I love my wife , who has M.C.I. ,and I WILL NEVER LEAVE THEM , God help me. Hope this helps someone , though I may be wrong. I’m not GOD!!!

  18. BARBARA CARTER says:

    Thank you, Mark Gungor, for sharing with us through emails, books, DVDs and whatever media we
    can subscribe to. We found you through a friend who turned us on to YouTube videos. We have ordered several sets of the DVDs for our adult children. And have invited neighbors into our home to see and hear you. You are the only person that my husband has ever sat and listened to for hours.

    About the comments from Pat Robertson: Do you suppose that he uses the “Til death do us
    part” as part of the wedding vows? Mark, you need to counsel him now, before he leads thousands astray.

    Thank you again for your boldness in speaking the truth. God bless you, your ministry and that “Redhead”

  19. Carolyn Swanner says:

    Thank you for your article. You are absolutely correct; regarding what seems to be just about any reason a person can find to end a marriage in divorce. I don’t think the majority of the people understand the “covenant” concept in marriage; they barely understand the word “commitment” and many admit they just can’t continue to commit to the person they promised to honor, love, and cherish.

    I have been through such a time, for reasons not related to physical or mental illness; unexpected and painful. I do not understand the justification of Pat Robertson’s comments; I just pray for families who watch loved ones live through this illness. Our lives on this earth are temporary. Obedience, not sacrifice, is what God expects; and this may mean being at the side of that loved one who may not know know, who many not respond, who may not speak. This is truly a selfless love for one’s mate.

  20. Julie says:

    I’m sure it’s true that women file more than men. And if we had accurate stats on abuse other than just the high profile physical abuse, we would know why women leave in droves. I’m just getting out of a very abusive relationship which was not physical. Nobody will ask or know why I left, I won’t be in any statistic except the one that says divorce rates are high and the women are the ones filing (yes, I filed, why should he file?? He’s got me right where he wants me!). Our marriage counselor told me she was glad I got out, my preacher is glad I got out, my family is glad I got out, my kids are glad he’s gone. If you want to know what this is like, please read the book “Why does he DO that?” by Lundy Bancroft. The counselor who wrote the book states that there are no accurate statistics about abusive relationships but he supposes the numbers are extremely high. Don’t assume that just because the paperwork says “no fault divorce” that she got out for selfish uncaring reasons. She was likely saving her children and saving her own sanity!! If she makes everything seem benign and low key she is much more likely to get out without his retaliating and trying to control her further, or worse, trying to take the kids. You have no idea.

  21. Clay Beiser says:

    Hi Mark! A few years ago my wife Jean & I attended one of your conferences at First Assembly of God here in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. It was wonderful. Thank you for the recent report. Married people, especially Christians really need to stick together for life. Inspite of the difficulties, the marriage must continue. For the sake of God’s work in people & in the lives of “generations yet unborn”. There is no need for people to let the enemy of our souls have any kind of victory of any kind. Jesus said that He came to give people life & that more abundantly! God’s people need to live in His abundance.

  22. Steve says:

    Dear Mark,

    I thank God for your powerful word re: Robertson/Alzheimer’s debate, and the epidemic of divorce in the Body of Christ…oh that there would be so many other men and women of God willing to speak out!

    Please know that your ministry and your insight, is a blessing and greatly needed!!!

  23. Scott says:

    My wife of nearly 10 years told me right up until the day she filed (which happened to be on our 9th anniversary) that divorce would NEVER be an option. Our extremely young children are now forced to live with her parents whom use them as leverage and are passed back and forth between us like a trophy. They have NO concept of family and are forced to constantly spend more time with her parents than with the two of us combined. My ex-wife’s father is a control freak and constantly attacks me and pushes my ex-wife to set goals for herself that she never wanted. The worst part: the church that all of us attended turned on me because I refused to accept the divorce, going out of my way to hold us together to the point of losing my physical health. That church upholds her dad into positions of leadership because they refuse to see him for who he is; a selfish, family destroying, arrogant, person who is beyond hypocritical.

  24. Lawrence Namale says:

    I love it. I love the approach to this post, I love the boomerang effect. For one second, all the fingers are pointed on OTHERS, until Mark comes in and reminds us what the Lord said, “Throw the first stone if you are that clean”.

    I agree with you on Pat’s issue. It is till death do us part.


  25. Kurt says:

    WOW, great article, I never thought about it like this. But again it’s to bad that CNN, CBC, etc or other major media will never pick this up.

    God Bless

  26. Karen Helsel says:

    I have been married for 40 years. Childhood sexual abuse wreaked havoc on my husband, and he lived a life of shame and sexual addiction. The first time I knew anything of his true story and his acting out we were serving as missionaries. We left the mission field and came home broken people. I stayed with him and we worked on trying to get help. As he began to find healing he also began showing signs of Huntington’s Disease, a genetic disease. I had many angry discussions with God about it: my willingness to work on the marriage and now this? Am I going to have to take care of this man who has made my life a living hell? I could have left. I could have divorced him. I had the biblical right to do that. But again I stayed. The 24/7 care finally became too much for me, and he now lives in an adult home near me. I can say however, that I feel a different kind of love for him. Because of his disease, he is becoming more child-like. I feel like I’m learning to know him all over again without the chains of sexual addiction. His long-term memory is exceptional and we laugh about the old days. HD and Alzheimers are different in that my husband will always know me, but he can’t talk much or do much for himself. I could never judge anyone for their decision to divorce or to stay. It’s a terribly difficult situation to be in – and only God truly, fully understands. But He DOES UNDERSTAND. If it were not for Him, I would never have made it this far.

  27. Jane says:

    My mother suffered with Alzheimers for 18 years and my father cared for her in their home for 5 years until he had a stroke and was left with no other choice but to place her in a nursing home where she was well cared for. Even though my dad lost the use of his left side and spent most of his time in a wheelchair, he faithfully visited and cared for her daily at the nursing home for 13 years. He spent at least 8 hours a day with her, EVERY day, never missing a day unless illness kept him from her. When she passed away 5 years ago, he was at her side as he had been throughout their 55 years of marriage. He truly loved her, honoured her and stayed by her side until death parted them. What an example of faithfulness and devotion he was to everyone around him – his children, grandchildren, extended family, nursing home employees and their families… How many lives were touched by his Christlike example? My dad passed away 3 years ago and people still comment on his faithfulness to my mom for all those years. What a testament of God’s faithfulness to us. What a wonderful legacy. And what a reward he is now reaping on the other side for keeping his covenant to his wife and to God. This life is so temporary. Isn’t that what it’s all about?!

  28. Katrina says:

    I just wanted to share my own experience as an older child of a mother with Alzheimers and my father’s actions. Mom and Dad had been married for 40 years when my mom was officially diagnosed with Alzheimers. The disease process had been going on before that, but Mom was good at compensating so it was a little harder to be definitive until the degenerative process was further along. The recurring argument they had was over memory problems related to the disease process. The sad part here was that because of a more delayed diagonsis, the arguments led to a drifting apart emotionally from one another. Dad took care of Mom until she was no longer physically mobile and then needed to be in a nursing facility. While he took care of her day to day needs, he found himself drawn emotionally to another woman whom he met playing bridge. He allowed this relationship to grow and eventually moved in with her after mom needed to be in a nursing home. He had told me and my siblings that while he wouldn’t abandon my mom and her care needs, he had long ago stopped loving her as a spouse and thought of her more as a sister. After mom died he married this other woman and then died of cancer about a year later. This “other woman” issue was very difficult for my and my siblings (all adult children with our own families). As Christians it didn’t line up with our beliefs about “Til Death Do Us Part” and made it very difficult to explain to our children why Grandpa was with someone other than Grandma. Personally I felt abandoned by my father as he chose another woman over our whole family. My father was a Christian who believed his choice was okay with God. He was “at peace” with his decision. However, after he passed away his decision has wreaked havoc with our family as his new wife has come after a couple of my siblings trying to collect money my father had loaned to them. I believe my father was wrong in his decision to allow another relationship to develop while my mother was still alive, although my heart aches with compassion for the lonliness he had to deal with. We children were active in helping Dad care for Mom and just wished he could have been content for a short while with just us and his grandchildren.

    That’s my story, but I do agree with you, Mark, that leaving someone with Alzheimers is no worse than leaving a spouse just because you’re not happy anymore. That happened with my brother-in-law and his wife who was my best friend in high school. She decided she wasn’t happy anymore and left after their second child graduated high school. What heartache she left in her wake. When I confronted her on her decisions, she responded that she didn’t make a one of them without praying first. She believed God was okay with her decision. She broke my heart too when she said that.

    Thanks for letting me share my stories and for your ministry to marriages. Keep up the good work!

  29. Yvette says:

    It is interesting that people quote numbers about more women divorcing their husbands than men divircing their wives. Could you ask yourself this question? How many shelters are there for abuse women and children and how many are there for abused men and there children? That should put an end to the why questions! It is an epidemic!

  30. Joy says:

    I’m agreeing with Holly, and would love it if Mark would address this issue at some point. I have left my marriage of eleven years because it was not a marriage at all. It was slavery based on scripture (no offense to the Lord or His Word). My exhusband quoted only those scriptures that told me what my duties were to him, how I was to be submission, how my body was not my own, and how “the marriage bed is undefile”…which he twisted to mean that he could introduce whatever he wanted into our bed and as long as I was obedient, then God was okay with it too. He had affairs, other relationships that I was not privy too, and kept his life in many ways separate from mine and our children. He called himself a Christian, but he didn’t seem to know God in a personal way. He used God’s Word to control me, our children, and our lives for his own selfish wants.

    Our church instructed me for the last five years to “keep praying, and God will sort it out”. But they refused to help us. They went so far as to say that he could be angry because I am not giving me enough sex. But I was, often and obediently. By our third year of marriage, I felt like whore, a pet, and the slave. And one day, his behavior crossed the line. He physically hurt me. As if the yelling, the emotional abuse, and the control and the isolation wasn’t enough, he decided I deserved to be hit.

    I didn’t leave because I wanted to “be happy”. I wanted to be protected, to be safe. And I firmly believe that God wants that for me too.

  31. Lori says:

    Thank you for your response on this topic. My Mother was 55 when she was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimers. My Dad’s response – “she’s taken care of us for almost 40 years, I can take care of her now”. Mom just turned 70 and Dad is still bathing her, feeding her, driving across the country to visit family with her by his side. She hasn’t known who any of us are for over 10 years, but He talks to her and loves on her as if she hasn’t changed a bit. He is the picture of love and sacrifice to his kids and grandkids!! I’ve also experienced a marriage of my own that almost ended about 6 years ago. Determined that wasn’t going to happen I chose to forgive and we chose to fight for our family. We are about to celebrate 23 years together and our marriage is better then ever. It was painful. It’s been worth it. Our kids were worth it too! Through both of these situations our 3 teenagers know walking away isn’t an option. I love to see how strong and determined each of them are because of this!

  32. Donna says:

    I totally agree with what you say about divorce. I have never been divorced,(certainly came close) and it grieves me to see this in the church especially. It just doesn’t compute with God’s word and the vows we make. Where is the committment? People give up so easily, where is trusting God to resolve the marital issues? There are answers. If your arm is broken, you go to the Dr. to get it fixed. But if there’s marriage problems, ‘eh oh well, don’t want to get help to fix it, I’ll take the easy road out. I’m done.’
    My christian Grandfather stayed with Grandma who was bedridden for 11 years until she died. All my grandparents never divorced having gone through poverty, deaths of children, disappointments, etc. I know that they, and my parents of 65 yrs. of marriage, have been a strong influence for my marriage.
    Our marriage had been touched by adultry, acoholism, drugs, … and we are still together, going on 38 yrs. this June. It wasn’t easy , but God was there and we are so glad we didn’t give up on each other. We have 3 wonderful children and beautiful grandchildren. I cannot imagine their lives be filled with confusion and the pain of mom and dad divorcing. It hurts my heart to think of it. I have seen what divorce does to families. My Christian inlaws divorced after 40 + yrs. of marriage (and even I) and their adult children were shaken. My husband forgave but things were never the same. What a heavy price to pay.

  33. Fiona says:

    Hi my mother has passed away and my Father is suffering from dementia now, he still knows us. My sister and I cannot continue to care for my father and advocate on his behalf, we cannot legally give up power of attorney even if we wanted to ( which we don’t ). Just because you don’t know who is visiting you doesn’t mean you don’t enjoy being visited, and loved. I realize that a spouse may wish to remarry and move on this is a stressful time but there is more to consider here. I would not drag a new person through the pain suffering and effort to deal with this disease, the hours spent in hospital visits, legal issues, phone calls, financial matters, it would not be loving to the new spouse and their family. I consider it a loving and biblical responsibility to care for and advocate for the best care for my father, and I believe that same responsibility occurs in a marriage and despite it being like death, it is not death therefore it comes with responsibilities. All that being said, just because someone makes a wrong decision in this difficult case doesn’t mean I don’t empathize and have grace for their situation, and I would hope at least that they would be involved in the care of that spouse after divorce and not leave that up to others. Any adult children going through this would likely feel left holding the bag and also abandoned by the parent who is still healthy as well as losing the sick one. Divorce is never a compassionate or healthy choice, although I believe in separation for abuse cases, and sometimes that will lead to divorce. In those cases remarriage is a difficult option and all roads can lead to difficulty and heartbreak. Seriously folks do not bring your baggage into new relationships, seek Gods healing companionship compassion and love and become whole and one with Him first and then see what He does. Who is to say that He would not heal that spouse of dementia, there is nothing God cannot do. Then where would the excuse for divorce be. Same with any other situation, He can heal and turn hearts and then if remarriage has occured it is too late.

  34. Bruce says:

    Unfortunately, this rests on the husbands/fathers. Men are the leaders, shepherds, and priests of the family, yet they have never been taught how to lead. They have never been taught the difference between Biblical leadership and dominance. They don’t truly understand servant leadership.

    It was because of marital difficulty that I accepted Jesus into my heart. My wife and I nearly divorced. I did not have a temper, and I never tried to dominate my wife into submission. I never hit her or put her down verbally. But I was not a godly man either. Then I crossed the line of faith, and Jesus turned my whole world upside down. That is when I began to learn what it means to be a real man.

    I am still working on getting it right. The biggest hurdle is overcoming my own selfishness. I think this is true for all of us. We are called to love our wives as Christ loved the church. He died an agonizing horrible death for us. That is a huge sacrifice. But during His ministry here, He also sacrificed for us on a daily basis as He ministered, loved, and taught people who would not love Him back. Even worse, He was ridiculed, threatened, and mocked.

    I have no doubt that most husbands would take a bullet for their wives without even thinking about it. But, to truly loves our wives as Jesus loved the church, we are also called to sacrifice for our wives on a daily basis. That is the really hard one. I was recently reminded of this when I was on a trip. One thing I really dislike is making the bed. I think it is pointless. After all, I am going to get in it and pull the covers over me whether it is made or not. But it is important to my wife. So, I started making the bed. It became a symbol of the covenant I have with God to love the woman He gave me to love. When I was on the trip, I made the bed in the B&B I was staying in. Just because she would never see it, didn’t relieve me of the responsibility to sacrifice myself for her. And it didn’t relieve me of the responsibility to continue with that act that reflects my covenant with God.

    Change in the family starts with the leader of the family. For better or worse, that burden rests on my shoulders and the shoulders of every other father and husband. Sometimes it sucks and isn’t fair. But, it is what it is. If we want our family to change, then we have to change. We cannot control our wives, but we are not called to do that. We are called to lead them and that is something we can do. If we even get this one thing half right, the incidence of divorce will drop like a rock.

    … as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD. Joshua 24:15

  35. Denise says:

    I did not hear the Pat Robertson comments, but found this blog interesting and wanted to share a real life circumstance on this subject. My sister-in-laws husband is in his 60′s and she is in her 40′s. He was married previously and his wife had Alzheimer’s. He cared for her at home until it became impossible for him to do so and then he transferred her to a nursing home that was more equipped to take care of her. If you have ever dealt with Alzheimer’s, it often come to that, where it is not possible to legitimately provide adequate care in the home environment. She no longer knew who he was. She did not know he was her spouse, literally. Anyway, he absolutely would not divorce her or abandon her. If he divorced her then his retirement medical insurance would not contribute financially to the care facility that she was in and what would become of her or his 3 daughters would have to foot the bill, etc. However, he did move on with his life, meeting my sister-in-law. They lived together, yes unmarried! Because he was still married to the Alzheimer wife who did not know who he was anymore. They lived together approx. 3 years and married one year after his wife passed away. Many will not agree with the living together thing and I am not necessarily advocating that, but we are talking about two mature adults who were committed to each other and married as soon as his obligations were fulfilled. Not college students who thought they were committed or hormonal teenagers. His wife was in the nursing home for many years and he was past 67 when he married my sister-in-law. His three daughters were very accepting of the situation, because he did not abandon their Mother. Anyway, my point is that God’s commands are there to protect us from hurting ourselves and those around us, not to make life more difficult than it already is. it’s not my place to judge the living together thing, that’s up to God. The situation was handled with responsibility and integrity.

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