By Randy Blackaby
Perusing the new book shelf at the library the other day I came across a book entitled Healthy Divorce. That title started me thinking about the sad confusion about marriage, family, and children that exists in our country today.
The very idea that divorce breaking up a family can be “healthy” is contrary to everything we learn in the Bible and from practical experience.
In Malachi 2:16 we learn that God “hates divorce.” Jesus himself taught that divorce is sinful except when your spouse commits adultery (Matt. 5:31-32; 19:1-9).
In that latter Scripture, Jesus showed that it was God’s plan from the beginning that a man and woman live together for a lifetime and become as “one flesh” and not separate.
Contrary to popular thinking, this commandment was not devised as some sort of divinely imposed suffering. It is the wisdom of God that leads men and women to the best life in this world.
Let me present some evidence from our world to support this.
Each year in our country more than one million children experience a family break-up and 500,000 are born out of wedlock. As this phenomenon has increased, teen suicide has tripled and juvenile crime has become epidemic. Statistics show that 70 percent of juveniles in state reform institutions come from homes without both parents present.
Further, we see that five years after family break-ups, more than a third of children in those situations are experiencing significant mental depression. Girls in these situations are statistically at much higher risk of becoming promiscuous, getting married as teens, getting pregnant without benefit of marriage, and themselves eventually going through a divorce.
Children from broken homes are much more likely to have trouble academically in school and even to drop out. In two-parent families, about 30 percent of students are ranked as high achievers. In broken families, that figure is only about 17 percent.
Children in families with a woman as the head are twice as likely to receive mental health services. That isn’t a slam at mothers. It is evidence of the need for fathers in the home.
Divorced men have ten times the risk for psychiatric disorders requiring care and divorced women are five times at risk, compared to married men and women.
Knowing what God says and what a study of actual divorce results shows, I’m hard pressed to embrace the idea of “healthy divorce.”
What about you?
Guardian of Truth XLI: 3 p. 5
February 6, 1997