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Author Topic: Divorce and your faith  (Read 8943 times)
Purplewitch
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« Reply #15: October 24, 2007, 06:01:01 pm »

some minor changes at the legal level where real abuse is not involved might help too.

I want to agree, but... what about abuse that is unprovable/exceedingly difficult to prove or is unknown outside the parties involved?

I think it's the personal level change that would have the greater effect - but how do you bring that about in today's society?

I do know that I will forever be thankful I wasn't married. I don't think I could have survived trying to divorce my ex.
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« Reply #16: October 24, 2007, 06:03:46 pm »

What does your faith say about divorce?
I'm not sure where the various paths I'm exploring stand on the subject, it's not an important issue for me.

I'm not a big fan of marriage myself, but I do take oath-breaking very seriously.  Oaths are something I consider sacred even if marriage isn't.  A wedding vow is an oath, so as I see it, you'd better have a damn good reason if you're going to break it.  I think one needs to be careful what one swears to, whether it's to the gods, to other people, or to oneself - being in love is not a good excuse for doing something stupid.  And if it is, accept that there will be consequences.  (Cynical much?)

However, if the other person had already broken their end of the agreement, I'm not sure I'd feel obliged to hold up mine.  Depends on the circumstances:  I'd have to balance my feelings about the vow with my sense of fair play.  And of course, if self preservation is involved (as in physical or emotional abuse) I'd be so outta there.
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« Reply #17: October 24, 2007, 10:33:45 pm »

I want to agree, but... what about abuse that is unprovable/exceedingly difficult to prove or is unknown outside the parties involved?

I have a fairly limited definition of "abuse" compared to many people I met -- it covers all physical abuse, but is fairly limited on the mental abuse side as I find our society has gotten to seeing far too much as "abuse." For (an extreme) example, one of my former clients was always talking about how her husband abused her by not buying her everything she wanted. She considered this "abuse" every bit as bad as being beaten. I'm sorry, but not buying you whatever you happen to want regardless of cost is not even minimal abuse in my book.
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« Reply #18: October 24, 2007, 11:17:53 pm »

I have a fairly limited definition of "abuse" compared to many people I met -- it covers all physical abuse, but is fairly limited on the mental abuse side as I find our society has gotten to seeing far too much as "abuse." For (an extreme) example, one of my former clients was always talking about how her husband abused her by not buying her everything she wanted. She considered this "abuse" every bit as bad as being beaten. I'm sorry, but not buying you whatever you happen to want regardless of cost is not even minimal abuse in my book.

I can understand that attitude, and to a certain extent I agree. However there are a wide variety of extremely subtle and devastating forms of emotional and psychic abuse that go well beyond spoiled rich girls not getting their shopping needs met. It is often very difficult to find people who even know what you are talking about in these situations, let alone believe you or support your leaving.

There are also lots of extremely compelling reasons *not to leave relationships that have gone south, at least not immediately; financial dependence, business partnerships, property, what the kids need, etc. It is seldom, ime, a problem with a simple solution. I think if I had had a clearer idea of what my faith *is, at the time I married, a lot of my marital difficulties would never have happened in the first place. So maybe just having a really solid notion of what you and your intended have faith in is a really good idea. Marriage is a complex and difficult contract to negotiate. It is not for wimps, that is for sure, whether or not is against one's religion to break up.
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« Reply #19: October 24, 2007, 11:55:33 pm »

I can understand that attitude, and to a certain extent I agree. However there are a wide variety of extremely subtle and devastating forms of emotional and psychic abuse that go well beyond spoiled rich girls not getting their shopping needs met. It is often very difficult to find people who even know what you are talking about in these situations, let alone believe you or support your leaving.

There are also lots of extremely compelling reasons *not to leave relationships that have gone south, at least not immediately; financial dependence, business partnerships, property, what the kids need, etc. It is seldom, ime, a problem with a simple solution. I think if I had had a clearer idea of what my faith *is, at the time I married, a lot of my marital difficulties would never have happened in the first place. So maybe just having a really solid notion of what you and your intended have faith in is a really good idea. Marriage is a complex and difficult contract to negotiate. It is not for wimps, that is for sure, whether or not is against one's religion to break up.

I completely agree.  No one can understand what you are going through unless they are in your shoes.  They can't see what goes on "behind the scenes".  My friends and family only saw my husband as a friendly wonderful guy as sweet as pie.  They, of course, didn't live with him (I know the end of my marriage wasn't all his fault, I had some blame as well Smiley  ). 

Marriage is nothing but a legal contract between two people to promise to love each other until you die (a promise impossible for everyone to make).  Since I realize this, and I do take oaths seriously, it's something I won't enter into again in this lifetime.  I wish anyone well that can hold a marriage together till death.  I think it's an amazing feat.  Mine only made it for 23 years.
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« Reply #20: October 25, 2007, 12:26:40 am »

Marriage is nothing but a legal contract between two people to promise to love each other until you die (a promise impossible for everyone to make).

None of that was in any of the paperwork I signed ...
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« Reply #21: October 25, 2007, 08:13:00 am »

However there are a wide variety of extremely subtle and devastating forms of emotional and psychic abuse that go well beyond spoiled rich girls not getting their shopping needs met. It is often very difficult to find people who even know what you are talking about in these situations, let alone believe you or support your leaving.


I will not argue that there are not many behaviors people have that can drive others crazy and be valid reason to end a friendship or other relationship. I just think that calling many of them "abuse" degrades the meaning of the word and means that many people begin to completely tune out people complaining about abuse if they don't see bruises or broken limbs.

I once briefly dated a woman who called me (and, as I quickly discovered,  just about everyone else she knew well) annoying, rude, and condescending pet names in public. I found this rude and soon dropped her from my social circle completely but calling this verbal abuse as some people did just made me roll my eyes.
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« Reply #22: October 25, 2007, 10:35:27 am »



I consider other people's adherence to their wedding vows -- assuming I know what those vows actually are -- to be none of my damn business.  I'm suspicious of the entire institution of marriage (she says, looking at the wedding pictures).  People *should* be able to get out of their marriages, and fast, if they need to -- and "need to" is something that can only really be determined by the people *within* the relationship.  We've seen the alternative, and it is *ugly*.             
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« Reply #23: October 25, 2007, 10:40:59 am »

I consider other people's adherence to their wedding vows -- assuming I know what those vows actually are -- to be none of my damn business.          

In theory, it's none of my damn business either.  In practice, I have opinions about a lot of things that I know full well are none of my damn business.
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« Reply #24: October 25, 2007, 10:47:16 am »

For (an extreme) example, one of my former clients was always talking about how her husband abused her by not buying her everything she wanted. She considered this "abuse" every bit as bad as being beaten. I'm sorry, but not buying you whatever you happen to want regardless of cost is not even minimal abuse in my book.

Damn I'd like to meet her - tho she wouldn't like the experience.

Seriously though, while the word is definitely exceedingly over-used, there are still more than enough people who are suffering/have suffered from from non-physical abuse, but if you don't have bruises or broken bones the world does tend to turn a blind eye and ignore you.
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« Reply #25: October 25, 2007, 12:04:49 pm »

In practice, I have opinions about a lot of things that I know full well are none of my damn business.

Well sure, everyone does.   Smiley  I was using "none of my damn business" not only to express that it was, in fact, none of my damn business, but also to say that I simply don't *care*.  Other people's relationships to their own wedding vows do not concern me, in any sense of the term "concern."  And that extends to my attitudes about divorce -- the *only* entities that should get any say over dissolving a marriage contract are the people involved, and the dissolving of that contract needs to be relatively easy to do. 

To elaborate:  The spectacle of "five times divorced!!1!" does not bother me in any way -- that person's apparent need to formalize every last one of their romantic relationships is their problem, not mine (I might roll my eyes, but beyond that?  so not my problem).  But the spectacle of someone forced to remain in a marriage against his/her (historically, usually her) will, because some other entity has decided that his/her reasons for leaving aren't "serious" enough, in that entity's opinion?  That seriously, seriously creeps me out, because that *could* be my problem. How much work put into a relationship is "enough," what can/cannot be lived with, when the problems outweigh the benefits, when the relationship has run its course -- the *only* people who can make those calls are the people actually involved in the relationship.  No one else. 
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« Reply #26: October 25, 2007, 02:43:52 pm »

... but I do take oath-breaking very seriously.  Oaths are something I consider sacred even if marriage isn't.  A wedding vow is an oath, so as I see it, you'd better have a damn good reason if you're going to break it...

...However, if the other person had already broken their end of the agreement, I'm not sure I'd feel obliged to hold up mine. 

Yes!  If the other party has broken their oaths, then mine are no longer valid - a marriage is oaths to each other, not just one way.
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« Reply #27: October 25, 2007, 02:56:28 pm »

What does your faith say about divorce? For example, is there a religious component of obtaining a divorce or otherwise formally severing a relationship?  If so, what?  Does your faith discourage divorce? 

In greek Orthodoxy divorce is highly discouraged, and technically divorce is only allowed in the one case in which Jesus permitted it, that being adultery. However "adultery" has historically been intepreted not only as literal physical adultery, but in spiritual terms...adultery is the sin of giving oneself over to another, or in spiritual terms to another "thing" such as alcohol, drugs, work, control, pride, power over another etc....So divorces are granted in other cases such as abuse, neglect, etc... In any case "adultery" is the betraying the Mystery of the marriage ceremony in which 2 became one, thus severing the spiritual union.

Divorce is highly discouraged and only granted after extensive council...one must not only get a civil divorce according to secular laws, but also a Church divorce. Also the Church only permits a maximum of 3 marriages:

"The Order of the Second or Third Marriage is somewhat different than that celebrated as a first marriage and it bears a penitential character. Second or third marriages are performed by "economy" -- that is, out of concern for the spiritual well being of the parties involved and as an exception to the rule, so to speak."


Although not a part of any "official" teaching, there is a strong tradition and belief in "soul mates"....ie: God has one special person picked out for those who are called to be married...in the ancient Church one was only permitted to be married once because of this belief...even if the spouse dies, they are still married...the union is eternal in God and never ends. Married priests and their wives are still bound by this more ancient tradition.

Our wedding also have no vows, the 2 people getting married say nothing...(except when asked if they are doing this under their own free will) as marriage is from God, and not from man. Hence the idea of "soul mates", and the discouragement of divorce. (what God unites, let no man cut in two) 

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Does your faith specifically outline circumstances in which divorce is an optimal choice?

The only case I can see where it would considered prefered would be in cases of abuse of some sort. But even then, from a theological POV divorce is never optimal and is simply an outcome of fallen human nature. Divorce is always a last resort.


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« Reply #28: October 25, 2007, 03:28:58 pm »

Well sure, everyone does.   Smiley  I was using "none of my damn business" not only to express that it was, in fact, none of my damn business, but also to say that I simply don't *care*.  Other people's relationships to their own wedding vows do not concern me, in any sense of the term "concern."

I'm generally in this group, with one exception: if someone's religious tradition presumes or specifically says that people there are witnessing the oaths, then I do feel some obligation (if I knew they were having trouble) to make inquiries about what they'd done to try and resolve things first. But that's something that should be clear up front at the time of the wedding.

These days, I'm finicky enough about promises-in-ritual even when they aren't mine, that I'd probably ask in advance on getting an invitation. In practice, I've only attended two weddings as an adult, oddly enough, and don't anticipate tons of other invites from people where I'd feel uncomfortable asking that question. I also wouldn't attend the service for someone where I felt it was a Really Bad Idea, but I would likely attend a reception, etc. (This is all my personal weirdness, I admit, but it's at least somewhat consistent: I won't say I witness an oath or commitment - to whomever - that I think is a really lousy idea. But witnessing does come with some ongoing obligations.)

All of that said, there's a *huge* difference between what I'd try to do "Gee, I remember being at your wedding, and the promises you made to each other. I'm sure this is a really hard decision for you." and listening closely to the answer (with a few other comments - suggestion of taking a little more time, etc. depending on the issue), and asking lots of prying questions or going to the "You had therapy? Oh, well, you must just need the right therapist." place or whatever.

Quote
To elaborate:  The spectacle of "five times divorced!!1!" does not bother me in any way -- that person's apparent need to formalize every last one of their romantic relationships is their problem, not mine (I might roll my eyes, but beyond that?  so not my problem).

I agree. It's also worth remembering that sometimes people marry for very pragmatic reasons: my ex and I were from different countries (US and Canada).  I do really wonder what my choice would have been if we'd been able to live together or live near each other (so we could easily see each other multiple times a week) for some time before marriage. We didn't have that option. (Someone coming into the US on a fiance visa has 3 months to marry or they can be deported, and they can't apply for work permits, etc. based on it without the marriage and subsequent paperwork. )

Other people marry (sometimes for good reason, sometimes out of panic) for health insurance, or other legal reasons. I hate the system that makes those things a good choice, but I can't argue with the fact that it's sometimes a really pragmatic and generally beneficial course for at least a time. On the other hand, if that situation no longer applies, the people have fallen out of love and desire for an emotional commitment, etc. people being miserable doesn't seem like a good thing for the world either.
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« Reply #29: October 26, 2007, 07:06:19 am »

Yes!  If the other party has broken their oaths, then mine are no longer valid - a marriage is oaths to each other, not just one way.

::APPLAUSE:::
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