God, Happiness, Marriage and Divorce


#1

Hi ,
this is my first post in these forums. I am 25 year old and a bit confused with my spirituality. I hope I could be enlightened by your reply. sorry to add this but I need to understand my faith through a universal view, not specifically through Catholic View. In short consider me null and i hope you you could straighten things up for me.
A fact I believe in: God is Love. God Wants us to be happy
Question: what is the importance of marriage ceremony in the eyes of God? if i am committed to my partner in my heart, isn’t that enough? it’s not that i have an issue with Church marriage but i just want to understand the relevance of that. Lets say my partner and I vowed to each other and asked for God’s blessing for our union(by praying together),Is anyone hurt? how could we be breaking God’s commands if we then lived together and brought a family? why focus on ceremonial activities?
Question 2: if i person is married and it happens that after a while for some reason or another, his/her partner changed dramatically. He/She is not the same person he/she used to be when married. For example lets say the man turned to be uncontrollable and violent against his wife( and maybe kids) or maybe the wife was a big liar or such; Why would God refuse divorce? and if divorce happens, wouldn’t it be just for each to look for a second chance to find another partner? Why have Jesus considered it adulterous. What if the marriage lasted a very short period, should the divorced stay single their whole lives?
What does God want from us other then “Love each other, as I have loved you”?

if this is not the right forum to ask these questions, please help him find where i can post these.
Thank You:)


#2

Oh boy. What your asking are wonderful, perfectly normal, and highly loaded questions!

As to your first question, I've never really thought about it, so I have no opinion (surprising, becasue I have an opinion and everything)

Number 2- I totally agree with you. I think you should be able to have a "mulligan" in rare cases. For instance, if your wife/husband drasticaly changes-let's say from a Christian to a satanist-than without a doubt, you should be able to get the heck out of there and re-marry. If your young and foolish, and get married and divorced quickly, you, again, should be cut some slack. I'm not advocating divorce, but I am advocating a bit more understanding.

Never, ever feel guilty for asking questions. Only feel guilty for screaming, yelling, and name calling!


#3

[quote="John_Ch, post:1, topic:188816"]

A fact I believe in: God is Love. God Wants us to be happy

[/quote]

Define Love. God wants us to be happy with Him in the next world, He never said anything about this one.

[quote="John_Ch, post:1, topic:188816"]
Question: what is the importance of marriage ceremony in the eyes of God?

[/quote]

The Sacrament of marriage is not for God's benefit it is for ours, just like all the other sacraments, through it we receive grace from God to help us fulfil our duties in our marriage. God gave us these sacraments because he loves us and wants to help us, He has chosen to do this through the sacraments.

[quote="John_Ch, post:1, topic:188816"]
Question 2: if i person is married and it happens that after a while for some reason or another, his/her partner changed dramatically. He/She is not the same person he/she used to be when married. Why would God refuse divorce?

[/quote]

Because divorce would be an injustice to the abandoned spouse, God been a just God cannot condone such injustice, furthermore the security from the knowledge that your spouse will not betray you and abandon you is a necessary prerequisite for the spouses to be able to freely give of themselves totally and unreservedly.

[quote="John_Ch, post:1, topic:188816"]
and if divorce happens, wouldn't it be just for each to look for a second chance to find another partner?

[/quote]

On the contrary the bond between the spouses cannot be broken by men and furthermore taking another as your partner would involve breaking the solemn vows a person makes when they marry.

[quote="John_Ch, post:1, topic:188816"]
Why have Jesus considered it adulterous. What if the marriage lasted a very short period, should the divorced stay single their whole lives?

[/quote]

Divorce does not make you single, the divorced is still married to their spouse.

[quote="John_Ch, post:1, topic:188816"]
What does God want from us other then "Love each other, as I have loved you"?

[/quote]

God does not abandon us in favour of another if we make Him unhappy or if our personality or behaviour changes and nor should we abandon our spouses if we are to obey the commandment you have just quoted.

God wants us to love and serve Him in this world and be happy with Him in the next. That means obeying His commandments.


#4

Interesting you say you want a universal view more than a Catholic view since the translation of Catholic = Universal; allaboutreligion.org/origin-catholic-religion-faq.htm

Sticking two pieces of metal together does make them one. The marriage through the church is God’s way of welding those two together. The priests and deacons who perform the marriage ceremony have a linneage tracing back to Jesus while here on earth and the commission he gave to the appostles has been handed down through the laying on of hands through the Bishops through the years. It is with this authority that the marriage is conducted in the Catholic Churches. The church is also there to support the marriage. It also helps avoid appearances of impropriety. As a christian you are a symbol to others. We wouldn’t want a couple of teen agers who do not have the same absolute commitment also deciding to mis follow your lead and shack up; they can’t see what is in your heart. By the way there is a screening process as well as months of preparation for a Universal Christian Marriage.

Marriage is a commitment for better or worse. We all make mistakes and expect a commitment from our spouses that they will be there for us regardless of what bone headed things we do. Now if things get out of hand a separation or secular divorce may come into play but that does not alter the permanent nature of the marriage if it was valid at the begining.


#5

#6

"but in order till the doubt i have to be the “Devil’s advocate”"
I meant to say in order to clear the doubt I have, I have to be the “devil’s advocate”.


#7

I have been married for 46 years. My husband left me and a teenage son in 1995. I have not chosen to get a divorce. People can change both for the better or the worse. Just because those around you have separated or divorced should not keep you from marrying. Living together before marriage is not the same. Commitment is of the utmost importance in any relationship. Are you able to commit? Do you have any real hang ups? Can you live with the worst quality you see in your relationship and not want to change it? Is there real chemistry, not lust? Do you know that being on a birth control pill does something to interfere with the chemistry between a man and a woman? Have you spent as much time looking for a spouse as you have looking for a new outfit or a new car? If your spouse became seriously ill or had other major problems would you be able to live without the marital embrace as this is not the only part of marriage? Have you ever seen the annulment questions? They are a real eye opener. Are you listening to the opinions of your parents and friends? Take off the rose colored glasses and look at yourself and your intended with reality. What do you see and feel? Take a leap of faith either towards or away from marriage and be confident in your decision.


#8

I am going to tackle question1:

  1. Marriage is sacramental - the definition of a sacrament is a moment or ceremony where God is present. In other words Eucharist is a sacrament because Jesus is present in the Host. Marriage is a sacrament as well. It is not that you pray to God for His blessing - Literally you, your spouse, and the Holy Spirit are joined in Matrimony. Without this there is no sacrament and there is not marriage. The reason that there must be a priest to do this is that the priest/deacon has the ability to do this through the Sacrament of Ordination. The Sacrament of Ordination is made possible by Apostolic Succession. Meaning Christ gave that authority/ability to Peter who laid hands on Simon and Stephen down the line to the Priests and Diaconate that we have today in all of the Catholic faiths - not just Roman.

  2. Nothing Wrong with playing Devil’s advocate- as long as you keep an open mind and are willing to learn.


#9

[quote="John_Ch, post:1, topic:188816"]

A fact I believe in: God is Love. God Wants us to be happy

if this is not the right forum to ask these questions, please help him find where i can post these.
Thank You:)

[/quote]

This might be a good one for Apologetics...

God is Love. True.
God want's us to be happy. True But...
We must find both His Love and our happiness in any suffering that comes our way. Being happy does not trump doing God's will.


#10

Question: what is the importance of marriage ceremony in the eyes of God? if i am committed to my partner in my heart, isn't that enough? it's not that i have an issue with Church marriage but i just want to understand the relevance of that. Lets say my partner and I vowed to each other and asked for God's blessing for our union(by praying together),Is anyone hurt? how could we be breaking God's commands if we then lived together and brought a family? why focus on ceremonial activities?

The cermony is extremely important in the eyes of God; it is not enough to be committed to your partner in your heart except under the most dire of circumstances which probably won't ever exist in today's reality. Why?

Everything I say can be backed up by citation to authority, but I will omit those to save time and space. If you challenge any fact, I will back it up for you.

Now, the answer to your first question boils down to authority. Jesus gave the keys to the Kingdom to Peter and his successors. Literally, Jesus said what you bind on Earth is bound in Heaven and what you loose on Earth is loosed in Heaven. Thus, the Church as real power and authority*, God's power and authority,* over matters of faith and morals.

This authority extends to marriage in general. Why? Because Jesus elevated marriage to a sacrament at the wedding at Cana. Jesus also explicitly forbid any kind of divorce, and reinforced his teacing even though the apostles and everyone around him recognized just how hard this teaching was. They saw, just like you, that the wronged partner of a marriage might suffer horribly without the ability to divorce - but Jesus stuck to his guns and still forbid divorce. Because Jesus took marriage under his authority, by extension of Jesus' conferring authority to Peter, the Church has authority over marriage.

Now for a little history lesson for you. Several hundred years ago, particularly during just before and around the reformation era, people could get married to each other just as you have suggested. People would profess perpetual vows to each other in secret, and sometimes would do so in secret in front of a priest willing to condone the clandestine marriage. The key is the exchange of vows. Ultimately, the sacrament of marriage is enacted by the couple and God, and the priest is only the witness. That is still true today. Such marriages were considered valid.

However, there is a HUGE "but." Clandestine marriages were causing all kinds of problems, sometimes very serious problems. As a result, the Church issued a decree stating that all clandestine marriages (i.e., not performed in a regular ceremony in public before a priest as witness) were invalid.

As shown above, the Church has that power - because what is declared bound on Earth is bound in Heaven. Thus, if you were to exchange vows with someone by yourself, you will have attempted marriage - but God will not recognize it because the Church has asked him not to and he respects the Church's decision in this matter. There is an exception provided if for some reason the Church cannot have a role, but in the modern world nothing save for nuclear war, super comet, or some other global catastrophe would cause such an exception to be engaged.

Therefore, in view of the above, the leading answer to your first sub-question is, "yes," the ceremony is critically important in the eyes of God.

The answer to your second sub-question is "no," committment in your heart is not enough.

The answer to your third sub question is "yes," you are both hurt by not following the requirements of the Church as any subsequent sex would be at least objectively fornication (though possibly not a mortal sin depending on the subjective mental state of the people involved). Additionally, as discussed above, non-public or clandestine marriages can cause others pain.

The answer to your fourth sub question is "yes," you are breaking God's commands by not obeying the Church. Jesus said to the apostles, "those who accept you accept me and those who refuse you refuse me." Knowing disobediance to the Church in such a clear and grave matter is breaking God's command. The fact that you lived together as man and wife and even made a family does not change this fact. God is more than just the warm fuzzies of love, but God is also infinitely just. Fortunately, God is also infinitely merciful, so all it takes to get back into God's good graces is to repent - that's what the sacrament of reconciliation is for.

The answer to your fifth sub question is that focus on ceremony is important for the kinds of historical reasons given above. They still apply today. Marriage is fundamentally not just about the couple and your personal feelings, but also of the entire community, especially with the procreation aspect of marriage. The ceremony satisfies this need of the community to be made aware of what is happening and to avoid the sin of secretiveness in such public and important relationships.

I will address your second question in another post.


#11

Question 2: if i person is married and it happens that after a while for some reason or another, his/her partner changed dramatically. He/She is not the same person he/she used to be when married. For example lets say the man turned to be uncontrollable and violent against his wife( and maybe kids) or maybe the wife was a big liar or such; Why would God refuse divorce? and if divorce happens, wouldn't it be just for each to look for a second chance to find another partner? Why have Jesus considered it adulterous. What if the marriage lasted a very short period, should the divorced stay single their whole lives?

Ultimately, we don't know why God would forbid divorce in such circumstances. We can speculate, but we don't know as that has not been revealed to us. We are, however, to simply trust that God knows and that we should accept it as we are his creations, not his master. God said to Isiah that, "Your ways are not My ways, and My ways are not your ways. As high are my ways above your ways as are the heavens are above the Earth." Knowing what we do about modern cosmology and how far the stars are from the Earth, that is really pretty mind boggling. Ultimately, we have to trust - i.e., have faith.

Remember, marriage is not just about you and your spouse. It has profound meaning and implications beyond that. Also remember that love is not just about warm fuzzies. Jesus' death on the Cross is the supreme act of love, but we know he wasn't feeling warm fuzzies while he was tortured and executed.

In view of the above, I will try to speculate to answer your questions.

**Sub-question 1: Why would God refuse divorce? **Speculation 1: Perhaps because God knows that marriage is extremely difficult, and that husband and wife are intended to help each other when the going gets horribly rough.

Speculation 2: Marriage is a reflection of the **total ** committment that God wants us to give Him. God gave himself totally and utterly in the life and death of Jesus, and he wants us to know what that means in marriage.

Speculation 3: Marriage is also about producing children. The harmful effects of divorce on children are irrefutably and extremely well documented. It is better for kids to be in a family with an unhappy marriage than a broken home.

I'm sure others could come up with more and better speculations.

Sub-question 2: The justice of finding another partner. You have *assumed *that it is just to find another partner. God, through Jesus, has told us it is not just. Therefore, by definition, finding another partner is not just. You can try to seek understanding (faith seeking understanding) but don't assume you know better than God. That way lies madness and death.

Of course, that begs the question. To us, it seems unjust for an adulterous partner to leave a spouse and leave him/her unable to seek comfort in a marriage relationship. Well, it IS unjust. However, justice is not satisfied by seeking another relationship and essentially committing the same crime as the first partner. God will exact that justice. It is for us to follow the example of Jesus by uniting our sufferings to his Cross for the salvation of sinners, particularly the offending spouse.

This whole situation leads into the nature of suffering. Why does God tolerate suffering and evil, particularly moral evil? Free choice. God has given us the dignity of choosing Him or choosing against Him. To make the choice meaningful we really can go out and do terrible things to each other.

Jesus' answer to our own sinfulness was not to wipe out suffering, *but to join with us in suffering, * even to the most horrible suffering we humans could conceive of inflicting - the Cross.

So, the answer to adultery and a whole lifetime of suffering of a wronged partner is to turn to God with all our heart and join our suffering to His. In doing so we enter into the mystery of the Cross and will attain happiness that we couldn't even conceive of by living a regular life.

OK, so what about some of the worst cases, like spousal abuse? Other really terrible cases come to mind.

Nothing prevents a couple from separating - for grave cause. A "legal" divorce (in an American court, for example) would be a mere separation in the eyes of the Church. There is no reason to allow someone to keep beating you, or worse. However, the secular divorce has no effect on the fact that the couple is still married in the eyes of God. See above for the issue of the resulting suffering of the wronged spouse.

Briefly on annullments. The Church, in her mercy, recognizes that not all marriages are valid. If a marriage is not valid, then there is nothing to divorce. Anullment is NOT a "Catholic divorce," - it is a finding that the marriage never existed in the Eyes of God in the first place. If the Church finds that the marriage was not valid, then that person may rely on the very same authority the Church has to bind and loose and state unequivocally that he/she was never married - and therefore is free to marry. Many marriages that end in secular divorce are also annulled; so that is the path the aggrieve spouse may take.

By the way, I am not just talking the talk here. I have lived it. I have been divorced and have received an annullment. I was about your age at the time. I had all of your thoughts, I know them intimiately. This stuff is NOT JUST A THOUGHT EXPERIMENT FOR ME. It's real.

I am currently in a difficult marriage that sometimes causes me a lot of terrible emotional pain. However, because my marriage is presumptively valid, I choose to live my life according to the principles laid out above - God's principles.

I will pray for you. If you have more questions, ask me here or with a private message.

God Bless,


#12

Note to everyone - I saw the last post on this was 2006. However, the issue is extremely relevant today, so I feel compelled to answer anyway.


#13

[quote="ContegoFides, post:12, topic:188816"]
Note to everyone - I saw the last post on this was 2006. However, the issue is extremely relevant today, so I feel compelled to answer anyway.

[/quote]

You must have been looking at my join date... This is a fresh thread.


#14

[quote="John_Ch, post:6, topic:188816"]
"but in order till the doubt i have to be the "Devil's advocate""
I meant to say in order to clear the doubt I have, I have to be the "devil's advocate".

[/quote]

Any one I ever heard that "plays devil's advocate" isn't really playing. Asking for justification or leaning faith rarely requires anything except stating that up front. "Why?" is an question we are not only allowed, but encouraged to ask.


#15

It is for better or worse. Now keep in mind the distinction between separation and divorce. Nothing says someone has to remain with an abusive spouse. But that is different from leaving one person and living with another. I think part of the problem with marriages today is that we rush into marriages to quickly and do so with out the input of relatives who are not raging with hormones. If two people rush into marriage before they are willing to make a life time commitment the problem is not with marriage the problem is with those two individuals.

As for condemned to hell for shacking up… That is not a guaranteed ticket to hell, but it does not improve your chances of getting to heaven.
[/quote]


#16

Just a point of clarification that this authority of succession flowed through all of the apostles not just Peter. Peter was just identified as the “senior partner” so to speak.


#17

[quote="John_Ch, post:6, topic:188816"]
I meant to say in order to clear the doubt I have, I have to be the "devil's advocate".

[/quote]

No, you don't. What you need to be is open to hearing the truth. Jesus instituted the Catholic church. He gave the Apostles the authority to bind on earth and told them that what they bind on earth will be bound in Heaven. This means that what they declare as dogma and doctrine is so and what they determine as discipline is so.

Jesus instituted all the Sacraments, including Matrimony. The Church has determined how this is to be.

The Church has spoken. Dispel all doubts and cleave to the Church. Being the Devil's Advocate can be a very dangerous thing.


#18

[quote="royal_archer, post:16, topic:188816"]
Just a point of clarification that this authority of succession flowed through all of the apostles not just Peter. Peter was just identified as the "senior partner" so to speak.

[/quote]

Thanks for the clarification.


#19

Thanks for all your replies and experience sharing. I followed up with some other online readings about the subject, and I have understood the link through the Christian Catholic faith. When I first posted this, I was hoping to get a logical scientific explanation for the role of ceremonial celebration of marriage, but now i understand that one has to be catholic in order to appreciate this sacrament.
God Be with all of You and Thanks:)


#20

Thanks for all your replies and experience sharing. I followed up with some other online readings about the subject, and I have understood the link through the Christian Catholic faith. When I first posted this, I was hoping to get a logical scientific explanation for the role of ceremonial celebration of marriage, but now i understand that one has to be catholic in order to appreciate this sacrament.
God Be with all of You and Thanks

I'm glad we could help (I'm the one that gave the detailed answers to all your sub questions).

However, I'm not sure why you would think that you could get a scientific explanation for the role of cermonial celebration of marriage? Even a die-hard atheist anthropologist would tell you that these matters are not subject to positivistic measurement and therefore not subject to scientific judgement or review.

I also don't think you have to be Catholic to understand the Catholic perspective. So, I'll give it another shot and take out alot of the supporting detail - see my earlier posts if you want more detail. If you take the time to look at it, you'll find Catholic thought on marriage to be highly logical - even if you don't accept the premises.

First, what is marriage? To Catholics, a consumated marriage is a permanent, unbreakable union between one man and one woman in which the relationship is ordered to the procreation of children. In other words, sex without birth control is an important aspect of marriage (whether or not the couple is sterile is irrelevant because the union is ordered towards procreation). Catholic teaching provides that it is the couple that administer the sacrament of marriage to each other, with God doing the binding together. Catholic marriage is a commitment for life and is unbreakable by anyone. Catholic marriage is a sacrament - meaning that God's graces flow through the marriage to the couple to help them get to Heaven. Catholic marriage is a vocation, meaning that it is the Divine calling and work for the two people exchanging vows - an important purpose for them having been born.

The Catholic Church has the authority to regulate marriages because God in the incarnation of Jesus gave us the rules for marriage and then Jesus gave to Peter (hence the Church) the keys to the kingdom of Heaven. What that means is that the Church, meaning the Pope and his bishops, can regulate how Catholics get married - and God recognizes those human-made rules through the authority Jesus gave Peter.

For example, that means that if the Church issued a canon law saying you have to be married in a ceremony approved by the Church or else the marriage is invalid - then it is so. If two Catholics tried to get married by exchanging vows to each other without going through the approved Catholic ceremony, then in God's eyes they would not be married. An resulting sexual activity between them would be objectively fornication, or perhaps adultery (whether or not such a couple would be guilty of a sin is an entirely different question).

The reason the ceremony is required for Catholics has to do with preventing secret marriages and also has to do with informing the community of important changes in relationships. It's a good reason.

So, perhaps you might refuse to accept this, but I don't think it's that hard to understand. If you have questions, please ask - you can even send me a private message and I will help.

God Bless


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