Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Mr. Kay's Taking Divorce off the Table

Normally I don't read Mr. Kay's blog.  I have no desire to listen to him banter on about his sex life.  I really could care less.  I realize that his blog is about marriage and sex, but it's like reading married people romance novels to me.  I know way more than I want to.

The only times I read his crap is when Hubby leans over and asks my opinion.  It goes something along the lines of  "it's really not that bad" and "see his logic here is good."  Except it isn't.

In one of his posts, he covers a topic near and dear.  Divorce and religion.  Which he over simplifies.  This may explain part of the reason why he is an atheist.  Here's the quote that shot my blood pressure up:

Here’s the key problem that Christians miss with their “no divorce” platform. Once you remove the possibility of divorce from the equation, there is no longer an effective consequence for what would otherwise be a genuine relationship breaking problem. Which means relationship breaking problems can never effectively be addressed and end up simply being tolerated. Oh sure you can beg and plead and pray and take her to the elders and they can frown at her yada yada yada, but that’s all just talk and making threatening gestures with the banana. Like she cares about that.

 I should mention that his version of "genuine relationship breaking problems" include sex, remain attractive, and working.  (as well as spousal abuse but that's a given.)

So let's tackle this.  The Church is very clear about divorce.  It doesn't exist.  This does not mean that you roll over and take things like abuse.  Quite the contrary.

CCC 2383:
The separation of spouses while maintaining the marriage bond can be legitimate in certain cases provided for by canon law.  If civil divorce remains the only possible way of ensuring certain legal rights, the care of the children, or the protection of inheritance, it can be tolerated and does not constitute a moral offense. 

In other words, if your husband beats you, hurts your children, or swindles you money through gambling addiction (for example) leaving your family destitute, then you have a legitimate reason to separate and even obtain a civil divorce in order to protect your family.  This does not mean, however, that you are no longer married and therefore can go and seek a new relationship.  You are still married, but you no longer live together until such a time as your spouse is able to overcome their problems.

Mr. Kay (I'm guessing was not a Catholic) equates civil divorce with spiritual divorce.  They are two separate things although in all fairness the vast majority of denominations do not see the difference.  One is a legal matter which is controlled by the state and the other is covenant/sacrament entered into freely between two persons before God.  Some people think a spiritual marriage is one contracted by God, but that's not true.   In this country, we have them both at the same time.  In other countries, you must obtain a license from the state and have the sacrament before the Church.

Most people don't realize that the reason the Church has such a problem with gay marriage being legalized is because marriage is both a legal and spiritual thing at one time.  In other words, gays could scream discrimination is a legal officiant will not marry them because they are also a Catholic priest.   But I digress.

The other problem is Mr. Kay doesn't set up clear guidelines for what he sees as "relationship breaking problems."  As I mentioned the article talks about what are his for him and his wife.  And I find it hard to swallow that working is one of those "relationship breaking problems" nor do I think attractiveness is.  I just recently watched a video on happiness and the woman in the video talked about her husband divorcing her because this once attractive-to-him lady was run over by a car.  She had to have several facial reconstructive surgeries and he simply divorced her.  She's happy now with a husband who loves her for who she is.  I get worried that people marry such jaded people who think looks can end a marriage.  We age.  We get into car accidents.  We end up with flesh eating bacteria.  Crap happens.  I would hope that you can depend on your spouse and their love for you enough beyond that.  And I worry for poor Jennifer, Mrs. Kay, who could loose her husband's love should something dreadful happen to her.  

It's not so simple.  Which is why the Church has these strict guidelines.  It puts things in proper perspective.

The other thing that bothers me is that a woman wouldn't care about her husband's feelings isn't really walking a very good Christian path.

CCC 1645 (quoted from GS):
The unity of marriage, distinctly recognized by our Lord, is made clear in the equal personal dignity which must be accorded to man and wife in mutual and unreserved affection.
 There you go. "equal personal dignity"  and "mutual and unreserved affection."  If there is a problem in the marriage, then the problem lies not just in her not hearing her husband out, but in the marriage and what it stands for.  

This doesn't, however, lead a person to ask for divorce.  What it does is put the problem squarely on the wife or husband's shoulders.  It's not really a marriage if a person enters into it without personal dignity.  But I'm not a canon lawyer.  I cannot vouch for whether or not this is grounds for not having a true marriage in the first place.  That's to be sorted out by people with a higher pay grade then myself.

My final point is that I worry that when we use divorce as a tool in which to put a person in their place or as Mr. Kay says "an affective consequence" it becomes a threat.  It tips the marriage off kilter.  It's a power play.  And just like the wife or husband should care about their spouses feelings, the person threatening divorce is culpable.

Divorce is only meant for civil/state affairs in order to protect the family and/or spouse.  It's not meant to make a person freshen themselves up more, get a job, or have sex with you.

As for the Jesus and Marriage 2.0.  Divorce was perfectly legal in Jewish law.  So was remarriage.  When asked about it Jesus very emphatically and very clearly said:

Matthew 19:8
Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning.  I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.
So no, Jesus wouldn't allow divorce.  Even in a hardened Marriage 2.0 society.  Because as he explained it, "it was not this way from the beginning."  God/Jesus never intended couples to divorce.  Period. (some translations omit the "except for sexual immorality" part.  I have no idea why.  That's for the more scholarly.  If you would like a more thorough discourse on the subject, please read here.)

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