Perspective Shift: A New Look on Marriage and Divorce

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By John McDowell

I believe a change needs to occur as is evident by the high divorce rates inside and outside of the church. There are lots of theories as to why this is occurring and many books have been written to provide remedies to the problem. Some are better than others but I have yet to find anything remotely useful for true change. If true change was happening then we would see the fruit of it. I believe that the only way to keep relationships, marriages, and commitments strong is for unconditional openness and honesty with maturity, mature growth, and mature responses. This is no easy feat and will cause pain, required change, and certain expectations destroyed. However, in the long run it will produce a strong bond, freedom, relief, joy, and love. 

Intimacy is at the core of every person. From birth we need intimacy with not only a mother but also a father. Children first learn what intimacy is as they interact with their parents. If this interaction is not met early on by both a female and male figure, deficiencies in the child can arise. Most children are resilient and will overcome this but even the resilient ones will still have to learn how and what it means to be intimate. This is not to say children who have parents that foster intimacy will not have deficiencies, they will just be able to mitigate them easier and better as they grow older. 

Everyone longs for intimacy and in American society the pinnacle is reached in marriage. Intimacy can occur in multiple forms but it is most prevalent and deepest in marriage or a strong commitment. Let me clarify that intimacy can only be accomplished where honesty resides. 

After Adam and Eve sinned they lost intimacy with God, and the first thing they did was hide from God and become secretive. They hid and were attempting to deceive God. Hiding is the physical aspect while lying and dishonesty is the verbal aspect.  

“Just be honest with me, that’s all I ask.” A popular phrase you hear in many relationships. Yet, generally most partners are not honest with each other. Do not mistake “I’m just being honest” with justifying your own bad behavior and meanness. It is also worth noting that not everyone can handle honesty, yet before you get married or enter into a relationship asking these sorts of questions about “can you handle honesty?” is extremely important. 

We have varying degrees in our ability to handle honesty in life and it usually is correlated with your maturity level. Living and speaking honestly is extremely difficult but learning and listening is even harder. The truth hurts and generally people seem to run from it. Certain truths are inevitable in life and many times the Church superficially discusses these topics. Just because we tend to steer away from honesty doesn’t mean it’s the best outcome or choice for our lives. Maturity grows as we face certain truths in life but more importantly intimacy is built by open and honest communication. Humans have an innate desire to be known and to know. True love is found in the honesty of life.

This is the 1st part of a three part series.

2 Comments on “Perspective Shift: A New Look on Marriage and Divorce”

  1. Great article, can’t wait to read part 2 & 3…

    Question….what do you do about a spouse who is living in such a fantasy/false reality that you have to let yourself and your own personality be lost in order to make the marriage stay peaceful? The truth seems to threaten them and their reality to the point that there is zero intimacy and tremendous emotional and mental damage happening.

    Also, is this type of situation increasing in our society? Seems that many people are decieved and refuse truth.

    1. Thx for the questions. This is a difficult situation and one we won’t be able to speak a lot to here, but certainly do speak a lot to in our counseling services. Anyway, it is always a bad sign when a particular spouse is being or even feeling like they are being snuffed out. This is never the purpose of marriage, and this is certainly a sign of something unhealthy occurring. When we feel like we can’t live in reality together with our spouse, it can be a sign of something deeper emotionally or psychologically going on. Of course, it can also be related to fears and significant communication issues as well. It is very possible that these things are increasing these days in our society, but that is also very hard to know because it isn’t something that has been well documented throughout history. All of this to say, we’d love to help you out personally with your situation in greater detail and to be able to offer you much more sound and specific advice. We hope you can make an appointment with us soon if you feel lead to. All the best to you and yours!

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