Mailbag: Would YOu Recommend Divorce?

Would you ever recommend divorce/separation to a friend based on a complete and utter lack of respect from his wife?

A Question from the Blog of Manly mailbag…

Would you ever recommend divorce/separation to a friend based on a complete and utter lack of respect from his wife? Obviously assume years of him trying, going to counseling, etc. Imagine your friend is married to the spawn of Satan and is the embodiment of all that has killed masculinity.

The shortest true answer is: No! Emphatically.

If marriage is a metaphor for Christ’s love for and redemption of this bride, the church…
If, within this marriage metaphor, the husband analogizes Christ, the redeemer…
If, within this marriage metaphor, the wife represents the church…

Then we should never encourage or recommend the dissolution of the marriage.

If our lives are telling eternal stories, and if we were created to reflect timeless, spiritual truths, then marriage is the most sacred story we’re telling.

The redeemer and the unlovable redeemed.

Re-read the question with this metaphor in mind. We are the disrespectful, hateful, unlovable bride. And though Christ, more than any abused spouse, would be justified to “divorce” us, he stays. He forgives. He loves. He wins us back to himself.

If that’s the role I’m called to play as a man, I want to tell that story faithfully.

If the only thing that matters is this temporary, physical existence, then sure. It would easy to recommend leaving the hard thing to go find the easy thing. Pursue your bliss. Abandon any commitment that becomes too painful keep.

But even to men not convinced we’re living out a redemption story, there’s something sad about bailing when it gets tough. It’s easy to cite the sins of the other to justify our own willingness to quit. But there’s no courage in that. There’s no strength in that.

Rather than walking away from the disrespectful, emasculating wife, live more fully and freely as a man. Don’t ask permission to do the things men do. Don’t wait for approval to act in accordance with your noble nature. Be respectable even if you’re not respected. Be manly even if its mocked. Be wild even if tame buys you a facade of peace. Fight the right fights; walk away from the bullshit. Just don’t sink to that level.

Fires don’t burn without fuel. Don’t fuel her bad behavior with bad behavior of your own.

But before any of this, ask yourself (or challenge your friend to ask himself) if he’s got any culpability in this? Did he lead well during their courtship, or did he defer all authority to her? Is he a strong a capable head of house, or is he a passive honey-do-lister? Does he address the behavior that emasculates him directly? Or is he a passive-aggressive weakling?

Make sure you/he isn’t part of the problem, then live like a man ought to live. Honor commitments.

Shout the eternal story through a life of courage, long-suffering sacrifice, a real desire to reconcile.