It happened just a couple of years ago: the first divorce where notification was given through Facebook. For some, it became a joking matter, but for Ellanora Baidoo it became a necessity. The couple had a civil ceremony and then they were supposed to have a traditional Ghanian wedding ceremony. He skipped out on that ceremony and the marriage was never consummated. In fact, he skipped out on a lot of things and claimed to have no permanent address. The alleged groom only contacted his wife through the phone and through Facebook, so, for lack of any other way to deal with the situation, the wife was allowed to file divorce papers through Facebook.
Obviously, this divorce involved special circumstances, so don’t start planning your own Facebook divorce. In fact, if you are a follower of Jesus and are contemplating divorce, you might want to try to find a way to keep the marriage together. Some of the Pharisees asked Jesus about proper grounds for divorce, and Jesus let them know that God’s plan was best. “’It was because your hearts were hard that Moses wrote you this law,’ Jesus replied. ‘But at the beginning of creation God “made them male and female.” “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.’” (Mark 10:5-9)
The Pharisees asked Jesus what seemed to be a valid question. Since God’s law included permission for a man to write a woman a certificate of divorce and send her away, could a man divorce a woman for any reason? Jesus’ answer sliced through their religious veneer: God’s plan doesn’t include divorce. Divorce was permitted only because of the hardness of a man’s heart. And, he had to make provision for the woman he sent away so that she would not be looked down upon for being unmarried and not a virgin at such a relatively late age. God created male and female so that a man would leave his family and become united with his wife. Since God brought them together, no one should separate them. The family thus formed is one of the building blocks of society. In short, Jesus said that divorce, while allowed, is not in God’s plan.
Godly marriage, as described by Jesus in these verses, is God’s plan. My wife and I have been committed to God’s plan for marriage for more than 38 years. While neither of us is perfect, we can say that God’s plan works. When couples are married in Christian marriage and they stay committed to God’s guidance in their lives, it benefits not only the couple and their children, but it benefits society as well. Yes, there are circumstances when couples should break up. When there is abuse and the promise of physical and emotional harm, no one should stay in that situation. But note that at least one person in that arrangement has already strayed from God’s plan. Adultery might be a reason to break up a marriage if forgiveness can’t happen. Again, in that case at least one of the partners has strayed from God’s plan. We must never forget, though, that God takes marriage seriously. God takes MY marriage seriously and because of that, I should also. As far as it depends on me, I am responsible for being faithful to God and to do everything I can to make my marriage successful and a model for others. If God’s people first committed to following Him and then committed to being the most godly spouse possible to their mate, a lot of problems we see in marriages and in society would fade away. We must set the example.
Lord, in a world where marriage is observed when it’s convenient, and dissolved when that becomes convenient, grant us grace. Make a man desire his wife, and a woman desire her husband.