The Deconstruction of Marriage Refuted
by Deborah Peterson
The following is a response to the article by David Hayward, Can Your Relationship Survive the Deconstruction of Your Beliefs?
- An important question to start with is if the couple started unequally yoked or not. There's a reason a believer shouldn't marry an unbeliever, or someone passionate for Elohim should marry a luke-warm believer (or nominal Christian).
"One thinks it's still okay to believe in God and the other thinks it's stupid to. One still loves the faith and the other hates Christians. So their relationship falls under strain, and they may end up separating and divorcing. This not only happens in marriage but in all our relationships."
BUT, if both came into the marriage as believers, and they begin to have diverging beliefs, it is something that needs to be dealt with *in Christ*.
That is the big thing that I think this article misses - it is not focused on Messiah and what Scripture says is the right way to handle: conflicts (a), and marriage relationships (b). It doesn't point to Scripture, to what is right in YHWH's eyes.
Rather, it's as if it wants to claim some "god-absent neutral ground / authority" that defines what is 'right' and authoritative, and from it define rules that are supposed to be followed.
And what we need (as believers ) to acknowledge first and foremost is that there are no definitions or principles of what is right and wrong apart from what Yahweh says is right and wrong. It is not about what is right in our eyes, but what is right in His eyes that matters.
And the same should be with disagreements about faith - both in how you handle the disagreement relationally, and when you are making the case for your beliefs.
"All the ways of a man are pure [right/fair] in his own eyes,
But the Lord weighs the spirits.
Commit your works to the Lord [submit and do what he says is right],
And your thoughts will be established" (Proverbs 16:3-4 NKJV).
"There is a way that seems right ['fair'] to a man,
But its end is the way of death" (Proverbs 14:12).
Thoughts per point:
It is true that when there is disagreement that that Yahweh doesn't want us to "dash out the door and abandon your partner or the relationship."
That is in line with what Paul said to those who cam to faith after they were married - the biggest examples of divergence in beliefs:
"Now to the married I command, yet not I but the Master: A wife is not to depart from her husband. But even if she does depart, let her remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband. And a husband is not to divorce his wife. But to the rest I, not the Master, say: If any brother has a wife who does not believe, and she is willing to live with him, let him not divorce her. And a woman who has a husband who does not believe, if he is willing to live with her, let her not divorce him. For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband; otherwise your children would be unclean, but now they are holy. But if the unbeliever departs, let him depart; a brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases. But Elohim (God) has called us to shalom (peace). For how do you know, O wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, O husband, whether you will save your wife?" (1 Cor.7:10-16 NKJV)
Within itself, this statement is a dangerous half truth. Yes, there is a place for making sacrifices and compromise, but it always should be first to honour Yahweh above and before making our spouses happy. It is easy for someone's flesh to point to this statement and demand that their spouse agree with them or do things the way they want it done, because they are 'obligated' to '[make their] partner happy'.
"We make compromises (translate: improvements) in order to make our partner happy and our relationship more pleasant."
There was a reason Yah'shua (Jesus) said that if we aren't willing to lose husband or wife for the gospel, we are not worthy of Him. On what is clear Scriptural truth, we cannot compromise without sinning against Yahweh and going down a dark path. 'Unity' outside of truth is dead - and still won't satisfy the parties involved.
It is true that we can't pressure or control others to come to believe what we believe, even if what we believe is Scriptural truth, and that the healthiest relationships are ones where we "don't manipulate or coerce one another."
This doesn't mean that there shouldn't be a space to (in humility and gentleness) to express and build a case for what you believe is scriptural truth without you being accused of trying to 'coerce or manipulate someone'.
We should also not use this as a license to avoid being accountable to Scriptural truth or sin issues, claiming 'I don't believe this is wrong or an issue, so you can't hold me accountable for it'. Somewhere there has to be a base of accountability on what is plain Scriptural commandments.
True love isn't romantic love or warm feelings for each other (or feeling special to someone else), but Christ-founded love. Is the way we are handling these issues and each other the way YHWH has called us to handle them? And is His honour truly first in our hearts while trying to handling them?
Every relationship will have disagreements - it doesn't mean that there automatically has to be distance or separation between us though. The questions rather, are:
Yes, ahavah (love) and humility and respect means being willing to humbly and gently/calmly discuss and debate as we seek unity in what we disagree in. When there is a sense of godly respect and humility - first for Christ, and then for each other as we treat them and situations how Christ says we should - it results in a safe space (where spouses won't simply attack the each other), where we can feel safe and loved and move towards Christ, even while we seek to establish together what truth is.
- (a) What do we *really* want deep down that is driving this conflict?
"What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions" (James 4:1-3 ESV).
- (b) How are we handling it? Are we handling it the way that is right in YHWH's eyes?
"Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Messiah. For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbour. For each will have to bear his own load" (Gal.6:1-5).
"Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct. Do not let your adorning be external - the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear - but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in Elohim's (God's) sight is very precious. For this is how the qadosh (holy, set-apart) women who hoped in Elohim (God) used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him master (lord, sir). And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening. Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honour to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered" (1 Peter 3:1-7).
"Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling [insult for insult], but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing. For 'Whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil
and his lips from speaking deceit; et him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of Yahweh are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of Yahweh is against those who do evil.' Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good? But even if you should suffer for righteousness' sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts honour Christ the Master as qadosh (holy, set-apart), always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you [of what you believe is Scriptural truth]; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behaviour in Christ may be put to shame. For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be Elohim's (God's) will, than for doing evil" (1 Peter 9-17).
"Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. This [wordly logic or sense of 'fairness' that produces sin] is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace" (James 3:13-18).
"Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of Elohim (God)" (James 1:19).
"So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, emunah (faith), ahavah (love), and shalom (peace), along with those who call on the Master from a pure heart. Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies [arguments about small side issues]; you know that they breed quarrels. And the Master's servant must not be quarrelsome [jumping at unneeded conflict, to prove themselves 'right'] but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. Elohim (God) may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the emet (truth), and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will" (2 Timothy 2:14-19).
Yes, there may sometimes be a place for something like the 'fresh flowers and treats' for a loved one you are having a disagreement with, IF it is moved by the Ruach (Spirit) to show you are still choosing to love them with covenant love, rather than trying to build on fleshly 'romantic gestures' to fix things or your flesh trying to bribe towards a false sense of peace.
Yes, there will be times for difficult conversations - but again, are you handling it respectfully in Christ? Or are you seeking conflict for a chance to bully or accuse the other to your way of seeing things? (To submit to you and your fleshly self claimed 'authority.')
This is a half truth. Yes, there can be a place for sex where we have put disagreements aside - that can be a expression of choosing to continue to love them in Christ, of trust and surrender, of being willing to be vulnerable and continue with each other in Yah'shya (Jesus). And it can be a powerful blessing when spouses hearts are like this, in Messiah, even while they are trying to work some things out.
We should NOT however take this as separating our relationship with each other and our sexuality from our relationship with Yahweh. That would mean you are building your relationship (and sexuality) on something else than Yahweh - a wordly romance or sexuality - and that won't satisfy. True sense of being and belonging comes to being and walking together in Christ.
This page was created on 3 June 2017
Last updated on 4 June 2017
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