I have been happily married 21 years...relieved the toughest periods are perhaps over only to be perturbed that after another two decades, if unwatchful, all my “dignity and grace” can still plummet into a chasm of separation. I pray not.
By the altar we made our vows ... Numbers 30 If a man vows a vow to the Lord or swears an oath to bind himself by a pledge, he shall not break and profane his word; he shall do according to all that proceeds out of his mouth.
The Washington Post - The Gift of the Gores heralds a new world-view and model “... there's another way to look at it. The Gores have handled their decision to separate with dignity and grace. In doing so, they have given us all a great gift -- an opportunity for a deeply important and mature conversation about the changing nature of marriage in a time when women have equal opportunities, when people are getting married later in life and when life expectancy is much longer....Not only should we respect their decision, but in some ways we should rejoice in it.... I have known Al and Tipper Gore for almost as long as they have been married. There is no question they were very much in love. They were affectionate with each other, warm, teasing and respectful. I never heard a hint of any scandal....They were together for 40 years, raised four kids, shared a lot of pain and a lot of joy, they have had an extraordinarily exciting life together and they should be proud of that. But people change, even those who are deeply committed to each other...”
Many cite lack of money and falling out of love as two prime reasons for separation. The Gores had more than enough of both it seems ...so what went wrong... or perhaps we should ask...did anything go wrong ...even as this is presented as a new social benchmark to celebrate.
How important is God to us.
In Judges 11  And Jephthah made a vow to the LORD: “If you give the Ammonites into my hands,  whatever comes out of the door of my house to meet me when I return in triumph from the Ammonites will be the LORD's, and I will sacrifice it as a burnt offering.  Then Jephthah went over to fight the Ammonites, and the LORD gave them into his hands. ... When Jephthah returned to his home in Mizpah, who should come out to meet him but his daughter, dancing to the sound of tambourines! She was an only child. Except for her he had neither son nor daughter.  When he saw her, he tore his clothes and cried, “Oh! My daughter! You have made me miserable and wretched, because I have made a vow to the LORD that I cannot break. ”  “My father,” she replied, “you have given your word to the LORD. Do to me just as you promised, now that the LORD has avenged you of your enemies, the Ammonites.  But grant me this one request,” she said. “Give me two months to roam the hills and weep with my friends, because I will never marry.”
The modern era has perhaps justifiably emphasised falling in love, convenience, equal opportunities for women, and a long happy life expectancy – to be lived in self administered mirth and variety...over commitment to vows made to God concerning His gift of marriage to mankind...noting that while animals cohabit and procreate - only human beings marry.
Many today separate out of boredom! Money however is often pertinent in most separations and I do not mean inability to pay the bills. When couples drift...perhaps one of the first things to unglue tends to be the financial bond. A single financial plan that unites the family managed in a joint approach built on trust was presented at a recent marriage seminar I attended as a better practice to embrace. Openness and trust must be preserved. In plain words - be married to someone you can trust completely in money matters. An elder once commented that true Christianity, self sacrifice and love of God is tested and confirmed primarily in marriage.
Let me leave you with a more foreboding thought. If you think your spouse to be a waster consider that one easy way to usher the devourer (I do not just mean your attorney) into your finances is through divorce. I came across an apt headline on a divorce lawyer’s site “ Divorce your spouse not your money”. In my book Wealth out of Ashes, I wrote that divine displeasure has many serious implications including and especially financial costs. You will pay a heavy price in your attempt to buy yourself out of your vows as you ponder over...Who keeps the house? Who pays for the extra home? How do we ensure both get a fair share? The expenses of running two misaligned households, legal fees, child support, marital liabilities can be cheap in an online world but the enemy of our soul has a wide range of new levers for his devices. Wikipedia actually lists a range from $15m to Rupert Murdoch’s divorce bill of $1.7B. Divorce will in most cases make you much poorer...than letting your spouse be an active partner in your finances or indulge in another buying spree.
Do we wonder the Bible derides the fool in Ecclesiastes 5 When thou vowest a vow unto God, defer not to pay it; for he hath no pleasure in fools: pay that which thou hast vowed. Ecclesiastes does say all vows involve costs ... marriage is no exception. God help us to be committed to our vows to you ... and I have so much to learn.
Proverbs 4 Keep and guard your heart with all vigilance and above all that you guard, for out of it flow the springs of life.
Those who keep their vows at all costs have God’s eternity in mind. Suppose indeed you find like John Wesley (Church History Blog) that you married “trouble”... your reflections on destiny and eternity will make forgiveness and forbearance suddenly a cheaper option.
Wesley is largely credited, along with his brother Charles Wesley, with founding the Methodist movement ... Wesley married very unhappily at the age of forty-eight to a widow, Mary Vazeille, and had no children. Vazeille left him fifteen years later. Despite his achievements, Wesley never quite overcame profound self-doubt. At age 63, he wrote to his brother, "I do not love God. I never did. Therefore I never believed, in the Christian sense of the word. Therefore I am only an honest heathen...And yet, to be so employed of God!" ... Wesley travelled generally on horseback, preaching two or three times each day. Stephen Tomkins writes that he "rode 250,000 miles, gave away 30,000 pounds, . . . and preached more than 40,000 sermons."He formed societies, opened chapels, examined and commissioned preachers, administered aid charities, prescribed for the sick, superintended schools and orphanages....Wikipedia on John Wesley.
Lord ...Help us to love you more than ever...and through Christ Jesus make us more than conquerors in our marriages. Help us make the right choices and embrace the right models - shunning ways that displease you. Help us to have more grace to be what you have destined us to be. Amen