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November 01, 2006

"Mawwiage, that bwessed awwangement"

Princess_bride I couldn't help myself -- any chance to get a Princess Bride reference in here.

Anyway, in response to my recent post on Hollywood marriages (and everyone, PLEASE, please, don't associate me with those who put a pox upon all L.A. -- I am not one of those people who thinks Hollywood is a dark hole -- there are too many evidences to the contrary, and that wasn't my intention with that post) and Roberto's post on sports and marriage, a couple observant readers brought up points that bear responding to. (And that's not to say that all you other readers do not -- there is only so much time in the day.) ( :

Dennis Babish writes:

I wonder if anyone has looked at Hollywood to see what the divorce rate is compared to the general population and compared to Christians. It may not be all that different. I have studied marriage for awhile and I am convinced that one of the big reasons people divorce so readily is that they enter into the marriage feeling that divorce is always an option. Being married is tough because we have to die to ourselves everyday. No-fault divorce and pre-nups have made it all that easier to abandon one's marriage. And to me the saddest of all is [that] the Christian divorce rate is no better than the rest of the country. It reflects poorly on what it represents, Christ's relationship to His church.

Agreed! Sadly, the high divorce rate in the Church is common knowledge. And that leads to Josh's observations about our posts:

So far today in this blog, you've held up as examples of good marriage-related things:

• a couple getting married when they were teenagers.
• a soccer player finding a bride, any bride, within a year in hopes that it will calm him down. I'm going to assume that whatever marriage results from that challenge will last a "really" long time...

Tell me again about how the institution of marriage is so great that we just can't let gay people to come along and muck it up?

Josh, we've made that point at "BreakPoint" as well -- that we ruined marriage long before homosexuals supposedly did. And in regards to the couple celebrating 80 years of marriage this year, no doubt getting married as minors back in the roaring '20s was a whole different experience than, say, AnnaSophia Robb marrying, say, Frankie Muniz in 2006 (sorry, couldn't find any 16-year-old actors/actresses -- Frankie's turning 21?? Crazy.). But the point was what Bill was saying about marriage -- about being realistic about inevitable difficulties and conscientiously deciding to work through problems -- not let the problems control our decisions in dealing with them.

And regarding Roberto's post about Popov, his temper, and his orders to marry, in my opinion, I believe the point there was a recognized truth about marriage: that it does have positive effects on both the husband and the wife; marriage does "regulate" us. Will that work in Popov's case? Personally, my first thought was "what woman wants to enter this potentially volatile situation?" Not to mention, this is taking a utilitarian approach to marriage: Marriage isn't a pill you pop to cure what ails you. However, the default effect is that it will be beneficial to your emotional/mental/physical health.

What I couldn't help notice was that readers Dennis and Josh seem to be college students, judging from your addresses. And that's very encouraging that two college males are thinking seriously about what marriage is and should be.

But who am I to talk about marriage? I'm not judging anyone -- I don't intend to anyway. I'm a never-married single mother with a particular attitude toward marriage that I would take into it should I ever marry. (See what I wrote about Bill and Lucine above.) Too often, I believe, people enter it with one expectation, only to be met with unexpected reality, and then jump right back out of the marriage (that's not what I signed up for!). Whereas, you should enter it with no expectations (as in prenup expectations), but vow that, come what may, you'll deal -- and not only deal (as in with gritted teeth), but rather always seek love, always seek the best for the other (that kiss Bill gives Lucine at the end of the night). That's not some idealistic notion -- of course, it's not easy; rather, that's a decision you make before you go in: Come what may, it's "as you wish."

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I have a deaf prison pen pal. It would mean the world to him to obtain a deaf pen pal. He is in his 20's and is in prison for years to come.

Thank you,

Dennis Babish

You have made my day. College student eh? Let's see, I'm a student of the Bible, hopefully to be a Centurion student, and I work for a Big Ten University in Wisconsin. So in the broadest sense you could call me a college student. However my 37+ year career has been in IT and I have been married for 29+ years which probably makes me older than what you think I am. But hey I'll take a compliment anyway I can get it. As for marriage if you think about it you would realize it is a miracle if it ever works. You take 2 selfish people; I wouldn't include myself in this group though :), throw them together in a covenant relationship called marriage and expect them to make it work. The only way it will work is if the couple wants God as part of their covenant, they die to themselves each day, willing to forgive and forget, put their spouses interests above theirs, love their spouse even when they are angry with them, and determine to get through the bad stuff together and enjoy the good stuff together. I can honestly say I enjoy loving my wife. I can't wait to get home after work to be with her. I love doing things with her. Heck even arguing can be good, although I can't imagine why she would ever get angry with me :) Couples that want to get married should look at the vows they will take and ask themselves can I live up to them no matter the situation. Anybody can stay in a marriage during the good times but it’s the bad times that truly define your commitment to the marriage.
Finally CLH thanks for making my day but don't give up your day job.


I've often lamented the fact that divorce rates are the same inside the church as within the general populace, but then it occurred to me - isn't that a bit like lamenting that hospitals are failing because a high percentage of their patients are sick or dying? As Jesus himself said, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick." The thing that distinguishes Christianity from every other religion on the planet is Grace. Christ died for us while we were yet sinners. There is no requirement to be perfect before you become part of the Body of Christ.

Of course, as with hospitals, our "patients" should get better once admitted, but we shouldn't be surprised to find our members in varying states of health. "...and such were some of you."

Gray Abercrombie

One problem is that just as culture confuses the poor example of some "Christians" with the teachings of Christ, we should also not confuse our inability to live up to our marriage vows with the sacredness of the institution God designed. Another problem is that we as a culture think love is a feeling and when the feeling goes away, we are no longer "in love". Love is a commitment of your will to the true good of another. While marriage requires romance, it is not base on feelings.

Gina Dalfonzo

Editorial note re: your comment, Sandra: Ordinarily, instead of publishing a comment like this here, we would pass it along to the appropriate staff. But when we did that, it turned out that the staff was unable to help, so Catherina and I decided to go ahead and post this here in case anyone among our readers might be able to help.

To all our readers: We do ask that you keep your comments on-topic, but we recognize that it's difficult for you to contact us with general requests like this. We hope to have a contact page up soon that will solve this problem.


Dennis, you're welcome! That's what I get for assuming. But may young males and females begin to take these thoughts to heart and not sear their hearts before they reach marriage. (Vigen Guroian will be addressing exactly this in the December 2006 BreakPoint WorldView magazine, by the way.)

And DRC and Gray: salient points made by both. Church members should not stand in judgment of one another (and I'm not discounting church discipline practices here), but rather encourage one another -- and more so when we stumble. And as it is with churches, just because marriage is not always practiced as intended does not mean there is something wrong with the institution.

Roberto Rivera

My point was contained in the title: "This is new" as in, well, this is new. I found the story amusing, especially its failure to tell us what, if anything, the lucky girl might think about the circumstances of her proposed betrothal.

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