I have heard the argument that unhappiness in a marriage is an OK reason for violently dismembering your One Flesh Marriage Covenant. For the record, I totally disagree with that notion. That said, I am terribly unconcerned about it if there are no children in the marriage. “Grown Ups” have a God-gifted free will to screw up their own lives all they want. For the sake of this article, I’m talking about marital unhappiness WITH children in the family.
THE TWO MAIN POINTS
From what I’ve heard, the arguments for divorce in an unhappy marriage revolve around two central points:
- “If I have to fake being happy, then I’m living a lie.”
- “Children shouldn’t grow up believing an unhappy marriage is normal.”
Let me get my cynicism out of the way first…
- This is not the very first time you’ve lied. Of all the lies you’ve told, lying about this will have the very best outcomes for everyone you’re lying to. Including you. Suck it up…live the lie.
- Oh…so divorce is better for your children to believe in? Get over it.
OK…I’m done. And now, some truth about divorce…
- The Red Letters in The Bible only provide for adultery [KJV says “fornication”] as a reason for divorce.
- Arkansas’s Covenant Marriage Law also provides for the Commission of a Felony & Sentenced to Death or Imprisonment; Physical or Sexual Abuse; and/or Living Apart continuously for two years.
- Studies show that children have better outcomes in an unhappy marriage [with no abuse or violence] than with divorce.
- Any one spouse in a marriage is exactly 50% of that relationship. Not more. Not less. Half.
- There is only one person on the planet responsible for your happiness: you. While relationships impact a person’s happiness, no one can force you to be unhappy [absent medical issues, abuse, or criminal behavior]. And certainly not for years on end. Your happiness is your choice. Your inability to fix your unhappiness is your problem…take ownership of your happiness.
HAPPINESS vs JOY
- The Fruit of The Spirit includes Joy [it’s there right after Love]. Dangit…happiness ain’t nowhere to be found. For those of you who desperately want to hang on to “Happy”, I hate it for you.
- My NIV  Study Bible’s Concordance has 32 references to “Happier, Happiness, Happy”. According to my ruler, this list is one notch over 3 inches [not even half a column]. “Joy, Joyful, Joyous” spans two notches over 20 inches [over 2½ columns]. In other words, the references to “Joy” cover 6½ times the column space as “Happy”.
What’s the point? The point is there is no Biblical value to Happy/Unhappy; it’s temporary in nature, goes through highs and lows depending on the event, and tends to be SELF indulgent. On the other hand:
- Joy is permanent in nature because it’s a condition of how we live life and how we interact with others.
- Joy is not blind to the fact that life sucks sometimes; it just doesn’t let life [or Satan] beat us.
- Joy focuses on a bigger picture with a longer term view. In a relationship, bad times can feel unhappy but joy comes from working and sacrificing together to overcome life’s [or Satan’s] obstacles.
- Joy requires us to have purity and purposefulness in our perspective and, with an unwavering resolve, to stubbornly hold on to the love that drives everything we do.
THE FRUIT of THE SPIRIT
So…Joy is one of the slices of Fruit of The Spirit, huh? Well then, let’s revisit The Fruit of The Spirit and remind ourselves of what else is in there.
Understand this: it’s an all-or-nothing proposition…take one slice of the fruit out and you no longer have The Fruit of The Spirit:
Love. Joy [Gladness]. Peace [Serenity]. Patience [Forbearance/Longsuffering]. Kindness [Compassion]. Goodness [Benevolence]. Faithfulness. Gentleness [Humility/Meekness]. Self-Control [Self Restraint].
Why all-or-nothing? Can you imagine The Spirit without Kindness or Faithfulness or Love? Yeah…didn’t think so…me neither.