Reasons not to Divorce when Love is gone? By C.S Lewis

4 08 2013

reason not to divorceThe Christian idea of marriage is based on Christ’s words that a man and wife are to be regarded as a single organism—for that is what the words “one flesh” means, like when one says that a lock and its key are one mechanism, or that a violin and a bow are one musical instrument. The inventor of the human machine was telling us that its two halves, the male and the female, were made to be combined together in pairs, not simply on the sexual level, but totally combined.

The monstrosity of sexual intercourse outside marriage is that those who indulge in it are trying to isolate one kind of union (the sexual) from all the other kinds of union which were intended to go along with it and make up the total union.

The Christian attitude does not mean that there is anything wrong about sexual pleasure, any more than about the pleasure of eating. It means that you must not isolate that pleasure and try to get it by itself, any more than you ought to try to get the pleasures of taste without swallowing and digesting, by chewing things and spitting them out again.

As a consequence, Christianity teaches that marriage is for life. There is, of course, a difference here between different Churches: some do not admit divorce at all; some allow it reluctantly in very special cases. It is a great pity that Christians should disagree about such a question; but for an ordinary layman the thing to notice is that Churches all agree with one another about marriage a great deal more than any of them agrees with the outside world. I mean, they all regard divorce as something like cutting up a living body, as a kind of surgical operation.

Some of them think the operation so violent that it cannot be done at all; others admit it as a desperate remedy in extreme cases. They are all agreed that it is more like having both your legs cut off than it is like dissolving a business partnership or even deserting a regiment What they all disagree with is the modern view that it is a simple readjustment of partners, to be made whenever people feel they are no longer in love with one another, or when either of them falls in love with someone else.

Before we consider this modern view in its relation to chastity, we must not forget to consider it in relation to another virtue, namely justice. Justice, as I said before, includes the keeping of promises.

Now everyone who has been married in a church has made a public, solemn promise to stick to his (or her) partner till death. The duty of keeping that promise has no special connection with sexual morality: it is in the same position as any other promise. If, as modern people are always telling us, the sexual impulse is just like all our other impulses, then it ought to be treated like all our other impulses; and as their indulgence is controlled by our promises, so should its be. If, as I think, it is not like all our other impulses, but is morbidly inflamed, then we should be especially careful not to let it lead us into dishonesty.

To this someone may reply that he regarded the promise made in church as a mere formality and never intended to keep it. Whom, then, was he trying to deceive when he made it? God? That was really very unwise. Himself? That was not very much wiser. The bride, or bridegroom, or the “in-laws”? That was treacherous. Most often, I think, the couple (or one of them) hoped to deceive the public. They wanted the respectability that is attached to marriage without intending to pay the price: that is, they were imposters, they cheated.

If they are still contented cheats, I have nothing to say to them: who would urge the high and hard duty of chastity on people who have not yet wished to be merely honest? If they have now come to their senses and want to be honest, their promise, already made, constrains them. And this, you will see, comes under the heading of justice, not that of chastity. If people do not believe in permanent marriage, it is perhaps better that they should live together unmarried than that they should make vows they do not mean to keep.

It is true that by living together without marriage they will be guilty (in Christian eyes) of fornication. But one fault is not mended by adding another: unchastity is not improved by adding perjury.
The idea that “being in love” is the only reason for remaining married really leaves no room for marriage as a contract or promise at all. If love is the whole thing, then the promise can add nothing; and if it adds nothing, then it should not be made. The curious thing is that lovers themselves, while they remain really in love, know this better than those who talk about love. As Chesterton pointed out, those who are in love have a natural inclination to bind themselves by promises. Love songs all over the world are full of vows of eternal constancy.

The promise, made when I am in love and because I am in love, to be true to the beloved as long as I live, commits one to being true even if I cease to be in love. A promise must be about things that I can do, about actions: no one can promise to go on feeling in a certain way. He might as well promise never to have a headache or always to feel hungry. But what, it may be asked, is the use of keeping two people together if they are no longer in love? There are several sound, social reasons; to provide a home for their children, to protect the woman (who has probably sacrificed or damaged her own career by getting married) from being dropped whenever the man is tired of her.
C.S Lewis


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23 responses

2 06 2015
Editor

Reblogged this on Authors-choice.

21 08 2013
Austin Okorocha

till death do us part is a vow we made b4 God but many never keep to it jus bcos dey take it as d church tradition way of marriage, dat is y many home 2day r not settle. i pray dat dos who as fail to keep there vow shoul try nd retake d vow

14 08 2013
Kesha Sylvan

Conviction comes through reading and studying scriptures, prayer, and at times, through other brothers and sisters in Christ (with good intentions), and when you feel convicted you yield to it by changing your ways according to the scriptures.You can only do these things through the power of the Holy Spirit. It is impossible to do on your own strength. I just thought I’d throw that in for good measure because many people fail repeatedly in sincerely “trying to be good”, but lack commitment and end up rebelling or giving up because they don’t understand how they could possibly “be good all the time.” Its more than that, its about yielding to the Spirit of God.

14 08 2013
Kesha Sylvan

Sounds to me like what you’re doing is rationalizing and the latter statement can be considered judgmental because no on’e salvation is sure so we can’t condemn adulterers in the church or anybody else, we have enough to worry about dying to self daily in hopes we make it in ourselves. There’s no rationalizing with scripture. Either you obey it or you flee from it. Stand firm on the Word of God – its solid ground. Folks, this is going to be your test in these last days. You better not get caught swaying in the wind. Watch and pray.

14 08 2013
Ossia M Merilla

How do you obey Scriptures? How do you show that you really believe in Scriptures?

14 08 2013
Kesha Sylvan

You obey scripture by denying yourself of your own desires for the desires of the Lord allowing His will to precede your own – yielding to the Holy Spirit upon conviction/restraint. You SHOW that you really believe in scriptures through your faith in Christ and sharing testimony of the good things God has done in your life.

14 08 2013
Ossia M Merilla

Changing your ways according to the Scriptures. amen to that. If you believe, you live it. That is the writer’s argument. If those people really believed the Bible, they’d live it. In marriage, solve problems, women humble yourselves. Men provide for the home and stay faithful. Then there’d be no drama and scandal in the news. It is because, many do not believe what they sing about and talk about. That is the writer’s view and I concur.

14 08 2013
Kesha Sylvan

Ossia M Merilla – I beg to differ, but there’s nothing wrong with having different opinions here. We just agree to disagree.

14 08 2013
Ossia M Merilla

out of 10 married couples, 6 divorced, equal in and out of the church. What is happening?

14 08 2013
Kesha Sylvan

What’s happening Ossia is that people have their own alterior motives and are not placing God at the head of all for whatever their personal reasons are, but we both know there are many answers to this question. I think that pretty much sums it up though.

14 08 2013
Ossia M Merilla

When people get divorced and remarry they live in adultery anyway. So manny in the churches are actually adulterers that God will destroy.

14 08 2013
Kesha Sylvan

Okay…I could dive into this a bit more, but I don’t feel its that important because I think many can figure this one out on their own, but thanks for clearing that up for me.

14 08 2013
Ossia M Merilla

The writer is right. I agree with that view even if it is not Bible-based. It is what is happening. If you believe in marriage, then why are there so many divorces among “christians”? Why? If you want to defend the sanctity of marriage to oppose the gays, then why are you divorced? I ask that when i watch pastors on Tv making noise about the new laws, etc. Then, it hits me. They don’t believe in marriage. They just don’t. If the church people believe, then divorce would not be so common.

14 08 2013
Kesha Sylvan

Ossia M Merilla – whether or not you agree with the writer, his ideology does not have to be your reality. If you are a Bible believing Christian you ought to be “set-apart” from the world and its beliefs, no matter how strange or peculiar that may be. God’s remnant are a peculiar people and bear the seal of God and they will be saved.

14 08 2013
Ossia M Merilla

True. Yes, of course.

14 08 2013
Kesha Sylvan

this is a direct quote from this article: ” If people do not believe in permanent marriage, it is perhaps better that they should live together unmarried than that they should make vows they do not mean to keep.” Do you believe this? or was it meant to make some other point. Help me understand.

14 08 2013
Editor

Hi Kesha Sylvan, the Author is simply saying that it is better to be truthful . Those who do not believe in marriage and yet get married for the sake of show, lie to themselves, the public and God. It would have been better never to be married, for thus, they would only be guilty of one infringement namely fornication, rather two: fornication (adultery)+ Perjury ( lying to the court or public)

14 08 2013
Kesha Sylvan

Hi Chinwuba Iyizoba. So in that statement he’s pretty much saying that if you’re co-habitating (although its not biblically sound ideology) at least you’re being more honest with yourselves and others than by getting married and then cheating on your spouse. Is that right?

14 08 2013
Editor

Yup

11 08 2013
oliver

Nice job, it’s an excellent post. The info is good to know!

8 08 2013
layneabner

Oh my goodness! Amazing article dude! Many thanks, However I am having problems with
your RSS. I don’t understand the reason why I cannot subscribe to it. Is there anybody else having similar RSS issues? Anyone who knows the answer will you kindly respond? Thanx!!

4 08 2013
Chibuogwu

Writing from the heart not from mere fantasy!!!

4 08 2013
Editor

Yes, Chibuogwu, at times our fantasies mess up our mind about the truth. One must learn to look at things truthfully leaving out all fantasies. Thanks for your comments.

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