Those who have been through the In Control program know that a highlight of the week is having anonymous questions answered from the "Question Box" on the last day of the program. We are going to attempt answering one question a week on the blog too.
This week's question, "Why do some people think that divorce is wrong?"
All of us probably know someone who has been in a divorce situation, so it is often a difficult topic to address. We look at it through the lens of personal (or that of a friend or family member) experience, which often clouds our perceptions.
In today's society, many people enter into marriage without fully understanding the commitment they are making. Wedding vows are meant to be two people promising that they will love the other freely (not coerced, but of their own free will), totally (completely, not witholding anything), faithfully (committed for a lifetime) and fruitfully (open to the possibility of new life). When two people don't truthfully promise these things at the time of the vows, then the marriage may be considerd invalid. In the Catholic Church, an annulment is granted to state that a true marriage never really occurred. This is different from a civil divorce which says that the marriage has ended.
If two people have given a total gift of themselves to the other, they cannot take that gift back. For something to be total, it must be irrevocable by its very nature.
Marriage is also meant to be a visible sign of God's love for us. God's love never ends. He is always faithful, always loves us totally, freely chooses to shower His love upon us, and He loves us fruitfully, by creating new life.
A married couple has a responsibility to fulfill their vows to each other, but also has a responsibility and honor to be a witness of God's love for us, in as an authentic way as possible, cooperating with God's grace to live out a sign of His love.
That being said, there are some extreme cases when it may be better for two married people to stop living together (in cases of sustained abuse, for example). If a divorce is pursued, it must be remembered, however, that this does not end the marriage in God and the Church's eyes. If the marriage was valid and true, it cannot end. A major problem with divorce is that it tricks people into believing that marriage is permanent only when you want it to be.