A friend forwarded me an article posted in Huffingtonpost on September 16, 2009 about a loving couple who plan to divorce to stay afloat financially. It is one of those paradoxes that make you cringe at face value. Divorce is a costly exercise that has pushed many to kill just to save them from the expenses when one reads the news below.
In January, 2009, a company director murdered his wife and tried to burn her body in pet cemetery incinerator to avoid a costly divorce . In April, 2006, Sullivan was convicted for hiring a hit man to kill his wife to avoid a costly divorce . In June of 2005, BBC headlines read: “A lab technician has been jailed for life for murdering his second wife so he could avoid a costly divorce” . These few examples are mild as compared to the ones you have heard. So how would they be gaining financially when others regard divorce as a black hole?
Money trouble had led Mary McCurnin and husband Ron Bednar to declare bankruptcy in 2003 due too cumbersome health costs their insurance companies could not cover. Efforts to refinance their house to pay the medical bills were futile. McCurnin is a widow whose 20 year old husband died in 1989. If she is single and ready to mingle, she could claim his survivor benefits when she turns 60 in November 2009. After her widow’s benefits start to flow she will remarry .
Isn’t this digamy many inquired? Is there any righteousness at all in what they are doing? Rather this reinvites the question "when is a couple said to be married". Is it when they sign court papers or when they make a vow before God?
We must first acknowledge that the Bible is against divorce (Mt 19:9). Why then would we say they are not sinning by divorcing to remarry? Marriage is the bond in blood sexually administered. That means; once a couple makes a bond, and they start to have sex, they are married. In other words; whether they sign legal papers in court or not, they are husband and wife. For marriage to have taken place it suffice the husband to leave his parents and to cleave to his wife as one flesh (Gen 2:24; Mt 19:5-6). It is like two people under a balaclava!
There is no Biblical injunction for court papers and church approval before a couple could be considered married. The presence of the court and church is to have a witness to the marriage for earthly benefits as they are having now. They already have God as their witness on the day they made the proposition vow, and sealed it in sex thereafter. That is why sex is sacred and not just an emotional exercise.
Actually, marriage takes place when they start to have sex after proposition and not on the day of the ceremony. The wedding day is a ceremonial day. That is the day that humans who live here on earth with you stand to testify and witness that you are truly husband and wife, and on this day you benefit from the earthly spousal advantages.
Therefore, if you do not declare your marriage before men then you cannot be entitled to earthly benefits too since God does not give you those earthly benefits like spousal and survivor support. The social security and welfare do.
So if this couple decides to break off before the law for the wife to benefit from her ex husband’s survivor benefit plan she has not sinned after all, the court and church approval are for societal recognition and inconsequential before God. In Ecclesiastes 7:16, Solomon says “Be not righteous over much; neither make thyself over wise: why shouldest thou destroy thyself? Be not over much wicked, neither be thou foolish: why shouldest thou die before thy time”?
I don’t think that by creating a fake divorce they are putting money at the center of the institution of marriage. It simply means they are “rendering therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's” (Mt 22:21). The confusion comes from the fact that you think there is a divorce. Does it mean that if someone tore his marriage certificate they are divorce?
Again it looks like a lie but there is no lie since before the law they are divorced but before God they are not. There are times when the human law conflicts with the divine law like the case of Daniel and King Darius. Darius passed a law that no one should pray to any other God but Daniel challenged that (Dn 6:10). I t could be a defiance of the human law but then God still protected him because Daniel has decided to obey the superior law to the inferior one. Wasn’t a lie that Rahab told to the officials of Jericho (Joshua 2:4)? Why then did God honor her (Joshua 6:17)? Why is that considered an act of faith (Heb 11:31)?
The crux here is not whether marriage is a process but if the beginning of marriage. In clear terms: when does marriage begin? Every process has a beginning and marriage should have one. That is where I say marriage begins when a proposition vow is made before God whether in private or in public and then sealed with sex. In this case, sex becomes a sacred act rather than an experimental act to satisfy the flesh. It is the consummation of marriage which is a process but it must have a beginning. In addition, the approval is not that of humanity since the institution is not theirs.
Joe, you make me laugh indeed. If the blessings of a couple was not ceremonial then why is it that some whose parents refused them blessings ended up having a happy and prosperous marriage while those whom the church blessed ended up in a divorce after two years. Some of them though they stuck inside remained very unhappy. I don’t remember when I said that only one partner’s opinion is valid. I have defined marriage as a bond in blood sexually administered.
In Mosaic Israel, if a man was to marry a woman even though he had paid the dowry but she was not his wife until the proof of virginity took place. It was the sexual administration that sealed the marriage. If she did not pass this test there was no marriage. While the test was to test her virginity; it could only be sexually administered. While the elders sat at the city gate waiting for the results so they could endorse it as witnesses, they whole thing depended on the first sexual intercourse.
Joe, marriage is a process but with a beginning. It is like the debate when does a fetus become a human being. No one refuses that it is human but when though is the question. No one refuses that marriage is a process but when does it begin is the question.
When Rebecca was brought to Isaac he did not become his wife immediately. When Abraham’s servant saw Rebekah and took her from her parents as wife for his master’s son, she did not become his wife immediately despite having paid the dowry (Gen 24:51). Yet marriage did not start there because the other partner to enter into the bond which would be sexually administered was not there. Her parents gave her blessing (gen 24:60) but marriage has not started. Isaac took Rebekah to his father but remember she is not yet his wife. She only became his wife later after the bond has taken place in his mother’s tent (Gen 24:67).
You asked me if we could then have sex before the wedding day. Yes, we should if we have made the vow. If not you mean that a couple that is trapped in a forest cannot marry because they are not where they can celebrate in a church or sign papers in a court for people to bless them. So if a couple was washed ashore an island where they are the only inhabitants and they make vows to love in happiness and in sadness, in sickness and in health, in poverty and in riches then they are not married until that is done in church?
The lie incident you raised about Isaac and Rebekah in Gerar (Gen 26:1-7) is really not founded. His lie to Abimelech was to save him from the envious and promiscuous men. Yet that does not break the bond just like our couple has not broken their bond. If I am an athlete I can decide to reject the enbdorsment of my sponsors but that does not mean I am no more an athlete. It will only make me suffer financially. Like it will make a couple suffer from lack of advantages that come with those institutions endorsing the marriage. All they had broken was the human endorsement. God intervened because the marriage was still valid before him though the endorsement before men had been rejected.
Joe, if God had considered it a sin he would have at least rebuked them; a thing He never did. Perhaps saying fake is hard but let us say: “creating the appearance of a divorce thereof”; a semblance of a divorce which does not exist. The public declaration he made does not annul the wedding vow he made. Not all public declaration is meaningful!
Indeed the blessings of our parents, church and law are perfunctory in endorsing a marriage. But the blessings are important as custodians of the child since children must obey their parents so that their days must be long (Eph 6: 1-3). Your parents, church and court do not approve a marriage; they merely bless it. In other words, simply because the church says the marriage is annulled does not mean you are divorced. Else it would mean that before God too your marriage is over? If your parents say they do not like your wife does it mean the marriage is annulled?
Consequently, there are certain things that may be wrong in our eyes but not wrong before God because he never ever established them that way in the first place. The reason why this is not a sin is because they are not really divorcing since they are keeping their bond in blood and administering it sexually, but they are complying with the human law since they are subject to the law of the land. The divorce is on paper which is not different from a couple sleeping in two different bedrooms. Their union is not approved and established by the court or the church; it is by God to whom they made the vow as the union Binder. In their case, there will be no deuterogamy if they return to court to remarry after the survivor benefits kick in. They will remarry merely to benefit from the law of the land which they must scrupulously adhere to fulfill their civil obligations.
Until then, the couple is not sinning in anyway.
Prince & PA Hamilton Ayuk
“Bonyfish beware because the same net that caught the jawless fish, caught the cartilaginous fish” (Hamilton Ayuk).
Beware earthly paradise seekers because there is a serpent in every paradise"(Hamilton Ayuk).
Idle people write, idler people read, and idlest people read and whine that idle people are taking their time (Hamilton Ayuk).