Paul Byerly “Not Divorcing isn’t Enough”

Other non-sexual marriage issues.
Forum rules
Post in this section can be read by guests, but ARE NOT seen by search engines.
User avatar
Claymore
Queen bed
Queen bed
Posts: 182
Joined: Sat Jan 09, 2021 9:00 am

Re: Paul Byerly “Not Divorcing isn’t Enough”

Post by Claymore »

"Till death do us part" is the marriage vow. It defines the vow. Without it, marriage is just dating. I commend DG's parents for honoring their marriage vows. Sounds like they are still doing so.

Jesus was actually stricter than the Pharisees when it came to divorce. They weren't looking for reasons to keep married couples together. After hearing Jesus' teaching about divorce, even the disciples concluded that it was better not to marry.

I have a challenge for Paul B: Draw a hard line against divorce. It shouldn't be controversial in a Christian forum dedicated to marriage. Don't be afraid when the world comes at you with its whatabouts. Do we, or do we not worship a God of resurrection? Of restoration? Lots of couples have seen their formerly "dead" marriages restored, but no one ever did so who divorced.

I note that Paul didn't even recommend anyone get a divorce, but that's not necessary. People have an almost unlimited capacity for rationalization. All that's necessary is for him to ask the question - "is it really enough just to stay married?" - and rationalization engines everywhere start a-turning. Give no one any fuel. Some will rationalize anyway, but they don't need any help from someone with such influence.
User avatar
SeekingChange
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 7238
Joined: Sun Dec 20, 2020 8:45 pm
Location: All I know is I'm not home yet

Re: Paul Byerly “Not Divorcing isn’t Enough”

Post by SeekingChange »

Marriages would go so much further and be so much more enjoyable if both worked on thriving rather than just surviving.

I have felt that the "divorce is not option" mindset allowed for complacency and taking things for granted in our marriage. Why does one need to change or improve when they feel their spouse "has to" put up with it and continually forgive because "that's their duty"? One can address and confront in every manner possible, including taking Biblical steps, and that doesn't mean that the other will see and change.

I have lived long enough, and been through enough, that I have stepped back on believing I have all the right answers, and believing I know what the answers "should" look like.... I have been in a very low, dark place, that I can have empathy and grace to those who feel divorce is really the only answer....I. Get. It.

Some of the biggest works of grace God has done in and for me, the mess of sin was right there...my own &/or others'.... how God revealed Himself and His purpose in those times, really makes it hard to reconcile such a holy purpose with the mess/sin involved.... and without that mess/sin, those works of grace couldn't have happened. I am learning to rest in God's grace all the more....and there's truly rest in presence....no matter the mess that seems to swirl around me.
God can change what people do, behavioral patterns that have been in play for decades. He can change what we do to cope, to find comfort, to survive conflict, to count. Rahab had done a same old thing for years... and then she did something new.
mwpastor
Queen bed
Queen bed
Posts: 140
Joined: Wed Feb 16, 2022 3:11 pm

Re: Paul Byerly “Not Divorcing isn’t Enough”

Post by mwpastor »

SeekingChange wrote: Tue Jan 17, 2023 11:25 am
I have felt that the "divorce is not option" mindset allowed for complacency and taking things for granted in our marriage. Why does one need to change or improve when they feel their spouse "has to" put up with it and continually forgive because "that's their duty"? One can address and confront in every manner possible, including taking Biblical steps, and that doesn't mean that the other will see and change.
This feels like a factor in many of the sexual problems that show up in Christian marriages on both sides The LD side is content, and figures the HD has to put up with it, because it's their duty and divorce is not an option.

The HD side, (this is me doing self reflection more than accusation) thinks sex is owed them, and divorce is not an option so will use all manner of guilt, coersion and scripture to convince their partner to have more sex.

On both sides this belief can lead to selfishness, and distance, rather than growth.
User avatar
Claymore
Queen bed
Queen bed
Posts: 182
Joined: Sat Jan 09, 2021 9:00 am

Re: Paul Byerly “Not Divorcing isn’t Enough”

Post by Claymore »

No-fault divorce has been the law for two generations now. We have enough data to conclude that the effect has been a net negative. Taking away the “divorce is not an option” backstop has not proven to be the incentive to make couples improve their marriages. In practice, adding the threat of divorce has just resulted in more divorce. Half of marriages end that way. Nearly all the rest are worse than the couples expected when they married.

Marriages don’t improve under threat of divorce. Maybe your marriage is lousy, but it’s a much shorter distance from a lousy marriage to a good marriage than it is from a divorce to a good marriage. And that’s just from a pragmatic standpoint; no matter what, we must honor God with our vows.
User avatar
newwifenewlife
Under the stars
Under the stars
Posts: 4423
Joined: Sat Jan 09, 2021 9:00 am
Location: Place colder than I want to be

Re: Paul Byerly “Not Divorcing isn’t Enough”

Post by newwifenewlife »

Claymore wrote: Wed Jan 18, 2023 6:24 pm No-fault divorce has been the law for two generations now. We have enough data to conclude that the effect has been a net negative. Taking away the “divorce is not an option” backstop has not proven to be the incentive to make couples improve their marriages. In practice, adding the threat of divorce has just resulted in more divorce. Half of marriages end that way. Nearly all the rest are worse than the couples expected when they married.

Marriages don’t improve under threat of divorce. Maybe your marriage is lousy, but it’s a much shorter distance from a lousy marriage to a good marriage than it is from a divorce to a good marriage. And that’s just from a pragmatic standpoint; no matter what, we must honor God with our vows.
Your "facts" are wrong regarding "50% of marriages fail". That has not been the case for decades (if ever) and it certainly isn't in the truth in the church. Secular stats say it peaked about 35 years ago between 40-50% and has been decreasing ever since (we can talk about a variety of influences) but that 50% rate is a myth. Research has been done in the secular and Christian realm that has shown that in reality, couples who move across the following scale/activities are less likely to get divorced than other couples (this gives an even lower rate of divorce compared to culture as a whole): attend church, serve together, pray together, and have/experience Christ in a personal, life-changing way. Oh, and lest we forget, having regular (at least 1-2/wk) MUTUALLY pleasurable sex life also decreases the potential for divorce.

What should one tell a mentally, emotionally and physically abused spouse? That they have to stay in the same house as an unrepentant and unwilling-to-change person? Please don't say, "Turn the other cheek". That they need to remain a verbal and emotional punching bag? I certainly am not, nor do I think Jesus would. I'm not saying that means they should immediately go out and get a divorce but a separation with a plan to allow for clarity of mind and a path to reconciliation and restoration is certainly in order. Sadly, I've heard too many stories and seen too many churches protect the abuser and not victim (even her on this board I've seen people attacked); this actually has the potential to push people to a point of divorce more than you would espouse BECAUSE the victim feels so alone, hurt and experience such physical and mental health issues (even to cause permanent physical issues) that it becomes in a victim's mind the only way of escape other than suicide. IOW, the only protections they feel they have are suicide or divorce, including walking away from everything they know, (including friends and church, while the supposedly safest place and people are condemning and accusing them the entire time of not being submissive, extending grace, and obedient, all while the abuser is allowed to ignore their lack of 1 Cor 13, Eph. 5 and 1 Pet. 3 responsibilities)? Can you imagine the hurt, mental anguish, physical pain, emotional pain, they must feel and have gone through to feel that way? I've seen it on so many occasions. Right now I've got a friend right now who has permanent stomach and heart issues from the stress she's faced from the 20+ years of emotional abuse. So was raised in a church that believed submission by a wife at ALL costs is the only way, without holding the husband accountable for the previously mentioned passages.

It is not enough to just stay together and avoid divorce. We must do better...in our marriages...in our churches...in our small groups...in our relationships...in our communities. To "do justice, love mercy, walk humbly" and to love, care for, encourage people (especially those opposed and abused) and couples and to challenge individuals & couples, and hold accountable (those who are opposing and abusing others), that is what Jesus would do...and what he did. Let's consider what happens to the kids, their spiritual and emotional health growing up watching the abuse and oppression, even experiencing it for themselves and all the damage that creates. What about the spiritual witness? What about how no one comes to their rescue but instead only supports the oppressor?

I go back to the OP, this thread was about challenging people to create better selves and marriages (following Eph 5, 1 Pet 3, 1 Cor 13 and so many other Scriptures) and yet it's turned into a debate about divorce. That's not what Paul Byerly was espousing. He was saying, we need to do better. We need to challenge people to do better. Not divorcing is not enough, creating more holy people and marriages is where we should all be headed and encouraging others to do the same rather than maintain the status quo just so they can say they "obeyed the letter of the law" while ignoring issues of the heart. That's why "not divorcing is not enough" because churches and individuals have been more interested in maintain an image (we're married and being obedient) over the heart (growing in the character of Christ) and in doing so, it has created several generations of people walking away from faith in Christ and His Church.
Plumpurple
King bed
King bed
Posts: 394
Joined: Sat May 28, 2022 10:10 pm

Re: Paul Byerly “Not Divorcing isn’t Enough”

Post by Plumpurple »

Not diving into this conversation really, but here's a modern day divorce statistics page that was an interesting read to me
https://www.justgreatlawyers.com/legal- ... statistics
User avatar
DoveGrey
Blanket on a secluded beach!
Blanket on a secluded beach!
Posts: 1902
Joined: Sat Jan 09, 2021 9:00 am
Location: Either in the backcountry or wishing I were...

Re: Paul Byerly “Not Divorcing isn’t Enough”

Post by DoveGrey »

Claymore wrote: Tue Jan 17, 2023 10:52 am "Till death do us part" is the marriage vow. It defines the vow. Without it, marriage is just dating.
I think there are more than a few people here who had a better experience "just" dating than they are having in marriage.

Dh and I did not stand up in front of our family and friends, shout, "Until death do us part!" and then go consummate our marriage. There was more to it than that. We made specific promises to each other, and added a prepositional phrase at the end that specified how long we would abide by those promises.

I went back and reviewed my vows - we actually said "for as long as we both shall live." That part is not the vow; it's not even a standalone sentence. It means absolutely nothing without what comes before it. You could just as easily add, "We will meet for lasagna and cannolis every other Saturday" to that prepositional phrase. Boom. Guaranteed date with good food every other week for the foreseeable future. Winning! But that's probably not what any of us has in mind when we think of marriage.

Yet neither is, "We will live in the same house but not necessarily in the same bed. We will find a common interest in lieu of actual desire to spend time with each other. We will focus solely on that common interest because it's all we've got. We will keep our lack of respect for each other from the kids. We will stay together no matter how much we start resenting each other. We will join together for duty sex twice a month maybe. We will put on smiles at church so know one knows. And we will do all these things until death do us part!"

That's not what God intends for marriage. That's not even dating. I can do all those things except the sex part with my dearest female friend.

To say that the vow is the death part ignores a pretty substantial portion of the intent of marriage. And my heart genuinely goes out to anyone who thinks the death part is everything. It's a terrible way to live and a pretty sorry attempt at honoring God's intent. He who deserves our best!

I'm not saying I support divorce. It's a heartbreaking thing for anyone to go through. None of us wants it, and I wish none of us needed it. But just staying together so you can follow the letter of the law is not enough. Too many people, too many churches think it is. We are called to more, in multiple places in the Bible. Anything less is simply legalism. It cheapens marriage, and if you think it doesn't then you only need to head over to the exMormon / exCatholic / exEvangelical Reddits. Read the words of folks who eschew marriage because their parents are in miserable situations because they thought "until death do us part" was the important part.
Myers-Briggs INFJ - The Advocate

"She will do him good and not evil
All the days of her life.
"

~23 years and counting~
User avatar
DoveGrey
Blanket on a secluded beach!
Blanket on a secluded beach!
Posts: 1902
Joined: Sat Jan 09, 2021 9:00 am
Location: Either in the backcountry or wishing I were...

Re: Paul Byerly “Not Divorcing isn’t Enough”

Post by DoveGrey »

Getting back to the original thread, which I missed back in August because I was struggling to recover from Covid complications while also returning to work. And it's a good one, because I need to spend some time on humility and self reflection. So thank you, @NWNL. This is probably better for a personal journal (y'all can skip ahead), but it's valuable to me.

1. What are the character emotional or spiritual issues that you need to address in yourself?
Staying patient; learning to be both a better listener and a better questioner; not talking down to him when he doesn't understand something that I in my infinite wisdom :roll: think he should already know.

2. What are the emotional or spiritual issues in your spouse that you can talk to God about?

It's no secret here that we are unequally yoked. I know my Bible-directed responsibilities there.

Emotionally, I would love it if he felt more free to share his thoughts and feelings. After his father passed last night, we came home and I just listened to him talk for an hour. It was cathartic for him. I'd like to pray that he continues that way, and that I can be a better sounding board than perhaps I have in the past. Also, he's pretty good at talking down to me on occasion. We both need to stop playing that game at the pro level. :lol:

3. What questions can you ask to bring such issues to your spouse after talking to God?
We're going to have to wait and see, although I suspect open-ended "And what else?" type questions may rule the day.

4. is there something that needs professional help to address?

Not at the moment


5. what can we do as a couple to invest in our relationship spiritually? emotionally?

Spiritually, I try to live the model of faith. I doubt he will ever join me in an organized religion beyond holidays or to support me when I do have time to rejoin a choir or another music ministry. He's seen far too much ugliness and hatred from the more vocal Christian sects to want to have anything to do with it. I know that's going to irritate some, but it's the reality I live with. I want him to see what gentle faith can bring.

Emotionally, we need to spend more time talking. Perhaps while walking, perhaps while just relaxing. I like the Ultimate Intimacy app @NWNL has touted here. I also like the ideas for appreciation, conversation, and romance in the Gottman card decks (free as an app).


6. what can we dream about together and plan for our future with goals which will help us communicate and share something? Relationally? Spiritually? Trips? Retirement? Kids? Family? Financially?

Retirement is something we enjoy planning for. We're 10 years away, but we've got our town picked out, our neighborhood picked out. I know my church, he found his hobby organization. I even already have my volunteer "job" talked through with a local state park. Maybe this all happens, maybe it doesn't. But we love the journey.


7. What ideas would you add or have to connect instead or passively act as roommates, hoping the other will change, or just waiting things out until death or the other “gives you a reason” to get out? (Yeah, I remember doing that or praying for it a few times the first time around.)


I picked up on the twenty second hug not long ago. Twice a day. Of course, we don't have significant problems, but I noticed we were heading toward the "roommate zone" a couple months back. It's amazing what that hug did twice a day. I'm not saying it's the end all be all, but it was what we needed at this moment in our marriage. And I've never twenty-second-hugged a roommate.

And @NWNL, if you're still reading this because it really was just a personal journal, I'm truly sorry that you had to experience that last sentence in this question. My heart and prayers go out to anyone who has to go through that.
Myers-Briggs INFJ - The Advocate

"She will do him good and not evil
All the days of her life.
"

~23 years and counting~
User avatar
Claymore
Queen bed
Queen bed
Posts: 182
Joined: Sat Jan 09, 2021 9:00 am

Re: Paul Byerly “Not Divorcing isn’t Enough”

Post by Claymore »

And just like that, you’ve got a divorce epidemic. All it takes is putting happiness ahead of lifelong covenant, and presto.
User avatar
DoveGrey
Blanket on a secluded beach!
Blanket on a secluded beach!
Posts: 1902
Joined: Sat Jan 09, 2021 9:00 am
Location: Either in the backcountry or wishing I were...

Re: Paul Byerly “Not Divorcing isn’t Enough”

Post by DoveGrey »

Claymore, the point of this thread was not to say that if you're unhappy, then you should divorce. Your responses throughout seem to indicate that you're interpreting it this way. The point of the thread was simply to say that we're bound to more than just congratulating ourselves for sticking it out, or for grudgingly keeping to the death do us part thing. That's all.

For example, my husband and I vowed to cherish each other. I cannot, if he dies first, congratulate myself on a successful marriage if I didn't fulfill my part of that vow. If he dies miserable because we didn't do the work we promised we would do, then I have failed. Are we going to be happy all the time? Absolutely not. But if we're just going through the motions and are miserable with each other, then we are in violation of the vows. And we had jolly well better do something about it because we vowed we would. That's part of the lifelong covenant.

All this thread did, before being derailed into a debate on whether or not divorce is ok, was ask us to reflect on what we could do to strengthen our marriages. That's all. I wish that's what it could have been. After all, most of us took vows that are better kept if we are able to do that sort of reflection.
Myers-Briggs INFJ - The Advocate

"She will do him good and not evil
All the days of her life.
"

~23 years and counting~
Post Reply

Return to “Other Non-sexual Marriage Issues”