Dear Jack, can you help me get this letter to Jil?
“My dear Jil, let me tell you a little bit about divorce, what many people don’t get… I’ve listened to all you said about your friend and his marriage. But these things are more complex than we imagine. And divorces don’t happen overnight, except of course in Vegas. Everywhere else things build up, like plaque. There’s always that approach…that emotional distancing, until the couple settle on separate emotional islands. The real divorce is emotional separation. It’s why we have married divorced couples.
To be sure, there are marriages that should never have taken place. People marry for all the wrong reasons. The most common is gravitational attachment…the finding of oneself bound to an irrational commitment. Can happen when a girl loses her virginity to a guy. Can also happen on a pastor’s matrimonial recommendation. Please don’t marry someone you don’t love, or who you don’t know, or who doesn’t love you. It doesn’t matter who recommends. Being a good usher in church is not the qualification for spouse. The head of children’s church can be a terrible mum. The reason premarital classes can’t stem the divorce tide is because by that point the mistake of choice has been made. And so the number one cause of divorce is wrong choice of partner.The real divorce is emotional separation. Click To Tweet
The second cause of divorce is not getting out of a relationship bound for the altar when a definitive warning comes. There’s always that incident…that particular discovery, a quarrel… It’s your last warning, your last opportunity to get out. Every divorcee remembers that particular incident. It’s a signature event – God’s last ditch effort to save you from trauma. Most people don’t get out because they’re locked up in social commitment. Families are involved, wedding date fixed. Thus two people who shouldn’t marry are inexorably marched to the altar. Emotional disconnect is around the corner.
Here’s what you don’t realise: there are two classes of divorce – there’s the standard variety, then the scary version. Standard divorce is event-based. It many times results from a clash of wills, unreconciled cultural worldviews. Sometimes, it’s that present continuous feeling of hurt from unattended issues, issues unsatisfactorily discussed, things not thrashed out, or subsumed. As a result, communication suffers. The sex becomes perfunctory and uncaring. The marriage devolves into an escalated intransigence. There are also repetitive offences, willful betrayals, insensitivities. They build up into pain and disappointment. The divorce checklist is basically nine items – money issues, manipulative tendencies, willfulness, selfishness and self-centeredness, clash of cultural philosophies, abuse – be it emotional or physical, in-laws, unforgiveness and sex. Men are particularly prone to money and sex pressures. Lack of money castrates testes, reduces masculinity. When men don’t have money they begin to malfunction in marriage. They become irritable and extra sensitive. It’s a defensive posture. As per sex in marriage the make-up of a man is such that denial makes him prone to alternative sources of supply. That’s not justifying adultery, it’s just a statement of reality. Sex is a major thing in marriage, especially for men. Now, these standard factors are what the world understands about divorce. They’re what most pastors can relate to. They’re quarrel-based and are thus considered “solvable.” Just call the two parties together and mediate. Which is why once we hear a couple has an issue our first instinct is to try and “settle the quarrel,” apart from gossip.
Yet there are hellish marriages without quarrels. That is something we can’t contemplate or imagine, yet these are very real. Unfortunately it’s what your friend is going through. It’s why you don’t understand. It doesn’t make sense. If he tries too hard to apprehend the marriage, or tries to retrieve it with his willpower, he’ll land in a place far beyond him. If he pushes beyond that point he’ll fall into a void – a scary, horrible dimensionless void with no coordinates. The other name for this void is clinical depression. That is something nobody should experience. It’s indescribable. It is this kind of marriage that makes the heart pray, “Lord, lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.” To solve the problem you have to solve someone. And nobody can solve anyone. Only God can solve people. But even God requires cooperation. The cooperation of your friend’s wife is thus required, but God won’t get it. She’ll never admit she has a problem. That’s because she’s blinded with anger, jealousy and resentment. She actually thinks he’s the problem!
Your friend is going to pay a terrible price. The trial will test his faith and beliefs. He’s going to go on a fool’s errand searching for answers from the facts of the marriage. It’s a futile effort. The problem is not in the marriage. The problem is in a person who just happens to be in a marriage. Those are two different things. The problem started way, way before the marriage, from his wife’s adolescence. It has to do with her parents. Their home will be full of atmosphere – a dark foreboding cloud, depressive and oppressive. The scant pocket of happiness there was has flown the coop, replaced by industrial strength moodinesses. Your friend’s health won’t survive this marriage. It’ll break him down physically, mentally and emotionally. She’ll hold up because she’s inoculated with hormonal revenge and adrenaline bitterness. It will keep her going for years in a state of malfunction. What started out as resentment has turned into hatred. And that’s partly because she can’t do him satisfactory harm. Her state is akin to that of those men who accuse their wives of causing their misfortune. Expect the witch label next. I predict she’ll soon go on matrimonial sabbatical, likely out of the country. He’ll be married but not married. I feel for him. He’s going to be sexually punished, and if he engages in self-help his conscience will punish him. She’s punishing him because he’s the surrogate of her dad. Whatever her dad deserves he deserves. Some people punish those who love them because of the failure of those who should have loved them. If a man, you’d have seen wicked aggression ¬– psychological and physical violence meted out to the woman. This may be politically incorrect but truth is, some divorces are deliverances! They’re salvations from death. The sad thing is people like these are often married to wonderful and caring people. But in doing good to them they facilitate their further punishment. Their kindness breeds guilt-induced resentment. And so the problem is hidden in a time capsule lodged in a human heart. She’s bitter and angry, which is why I tell you solve yourself before going into marriage. Resolve the anger and bitternesses from the past.
If you do find yourself married but unresolved, still take steps to solve yourself. Resolve the bitterness from your past. Those who don’t resolve bitterness from the past punish their spouse, treat them with despite – like emotional disposables. In the male version of this problem, the man does everything to frustrate the woman, to make her pack out of the marriage. He won’t sleep with her, won’t eat at home. He’ll deny her intimacy, seek to destroy her self esteem and public esteem. (Probably has an affair).Those who don’t resolve bitterness from the past punish their spouse Click To Tweet
Your friend’s wife is pushing the envelope, feels she can do whatever she likes. Because she keeps getting away with it she keeps tempting fate. One must not tempt fate in marriage. Fate has been known to misread actions for desire. Knowing what I know Satan has taken up prosecutorial appointment in that marriage. Your friend will suffer relentless accusation. It will morph dynamically. She’s probably accusing him of all sorts of things by now – fabricated suppositions. Repeated often enough speculative accusations become facts in the marketplace. She’s created a congregation. But what she doesn’t realize is that those folks are envious of her. She married a responsible and successful guy. They’ll egg her on to destroy her marriage. And some are on the way out of THEIR marriage. They’ll just take her along. Men in this state often accuse their wives of “prostitution,” especially if she’s doing well in career or business.
There are many causes of divorce but the most potent is when we refuse to solve ourselves. The main ingredient, the main factor is unforgiveness. It’s a cancer. Learn to forgive. Let go of the past. Those who don’t forgive invariably destroy their marriage. Or they turn it into a living shell and hell. And yet marriage is so beautiful… When there’s love, patience, commitment and sincerity of heart. I wish you the best in YOUR marriage.
Your mentor, LA”
© Leke Alder | email@example.com