Mark 10.9 Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate. [nkjv]
A couple in Cambodia have taken divorce to a whole new level. On September 10th 2008, Moeun Sarim and Vat Navy decided to end their 18-year marriage. Rather than a long drawn out court process over ‘who gets what’, 42 year old Moeun made a decision to split everything they owned right down the middle. Literally! With the help of family and friends, he turned up at the house, armed with a chainsaw and crowbar and carried off his half of the house!
As funny as that sounds, it paints a very accurate picture of divorce – the tearing apart of something whole to make two halves. I’ve lived through divorce. My parents separated when I was 5 years old. I know the effect it can have on vulnerable children. I always swore that I would never put my kids through what I went through.
In a few month’s time, Cath and I celebrate 18 years of marriage. To be honest, we really never thought we would make it this far. We’ve had our difficulties, every couple has them, but ours just seemed unrelenting and overwhelming.
Up until ten years ago, we hadn’t had a very healthy relationship at all. Ministry and church life overshadowed everything. My past was a big hurdle which seemed impossible to conquer. Our priorities were out of order and our marriage felt like one huge lie. We would be trying to help people in their relationships usually at the expense of our own. We both felt like hypocrites.
The turning point of our relationship came the day my wife left me. She packed the car, took the kids and left for her parents. The next few days were a blur of emotions, tears and anger as I struggled to come to terms with what was happening. Jesus described marriage as not just a legal contract but as a union – two people coming together as one. I could feel a tearing take place as our lives were literally ripped in two.
As hard as it was to walk through this time, it was the saving point of our marriage. It forced me to look deep inside and not take the people I love for granted. We have had to take it slow, just one day at a time, but now our relationship is stronger than it has ever been. Sure we still face problems, what relationship worth having doesn’t? But this time around things are different. We believe that love is a choice and each day we try to make good choices. I know that as we continue to make God the centrepiece of our relationship, our marriage will remain strong and healthy.
I realise that not everyone’s story has a happy ending. Some relationships may be irreparable. But I know that God can do miracles and what the devil meant for harm, God has used for good. All it took was grace, honesty and a brave wife.