The Cycle Continues

10 03 2009

Two days ago I came home to a warm welcome from my wife. Very quickly she told me that she had some sad news. My first thought was that someone had died.  Why is that always my first thought when it comes to sad news? She quickly reassured me that no one had died. I guess she knows me better than I realise. She got an email from a friend of ours who recently got married. Her and her new husband had had a fight. They fought before they were married, so this came as no surprise. But this time there was a twist.

She got very heated and slapped him. He lost it and hit her.  I had not seen this one coming. I knew they fought a lot, but when it gets physical theres a real problem there. I don’t want to go into details about their lives because I don’t feel it appropriate. This adds to the growing list of couples we know that are experiencing some serious relationship problems. It’s something that cuts me to the heart. Like I said on my divorce post I don’t have any pearls of wisdom to share because I’ve never gone through this kind of thing.
Our pre-marriage counsellors said that my wife and I came from a very different background to the majority of couples. Both sides of parents are still married, neither of them has ever been divorced or separated. None of our brothers or sisters have ever divorced or separated. Sadly this is not typical. Of all the couples we know experiencing problems, msot of them would have a history of divorce in their family. It doesn’t prove anything, but we have to wonder at the effect divorce can have. Al Mohler’s posted na article that claimed divorce can have an environmental impact. Their carbon footprint increases as they use more water, food, resources etc. Marriage is good for the environment. I don’t say that facetiously. As if you’re killing the environment by divorcing. That’s adding insult to injury. But our actions, our choices, our words, out lives have an impact on the world, and the people around us. 

With all our great social and technological improvements we are a society that is no happier than any previous one. Young people still commit suicide, couples still get divorced, babies are still aborted, and people still take drugs. Societies that were once struggling to survive now ask what are we surviving for? C.S. Lewis describes his pessimistic high school attitude “Term. Holiday. Term. Holiday. Then we get a job and its work, work, work, till you die.” The enlightenment myth of progress has been rightly critiqued by post modernity. People are not getting any better.

Yet amongst all this pessimism (it’s easy to get cynical and point out faults) we have a chance to say something. We Christians have a message for the whole world to hear. Jesus Christ, God in the flesh, lived, died, and rose again on the third day so that we no longer have to live in the darkness. Your problems no longer have the final say over your life. He came in flesh  and blood, in the power of the Holy Spirit, to give us life and life to the full. One day He will put the world to rights. Sin and Death would be dealt with finally and destroyed. We struggle with the already but not yet nature of the Christian life. The age to come has dawned and overlaps with the present age. Sin and Death have been defeated in principle, but still continues until that day when they are fully and finally defeated. Jesus never promised us an easy ride of disembodied bliss until this happens. The Spirit never overrides our humanity.

So does this mean we sit on butts and wait for this all to happen? By no means. Jesus said in Matt 28 that all authority on heaven and earth had been given to Him, so you go and make disciples. In other words, you go and tell the story to the world. We are the agents through which Jesus will bring about his kingly rule. On Earth as it is in Heaven.  Those who have said that you must become the change you want to see in the world are not as wrong as you think. They just don’t have the right motivation. We cannot drum up the stength or ability ourselves, it’s something that’s done to us by God’s Spirit. The Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Christ that dwells within us and empowers us. As I wrote this paragraph a voice inside me just went “Glory Hallelujah”.

Time and Time again we must come back to the story that tells us that God has not given up on this world. That he is not going to throw it away as if it were some experiment that went wrong. This the hope we were saved in. This is our motivation, our spiritual food, The Holy Spirit and the Story that equip us for our tasks in the wider world.

If you’ve had experience with divorce, or abuse within a relationship I’d love to hear from you. How did you deal with it, or how are you dealing with it. Any advice for those who don’t know what to do, and how should friends of those affected, respond?

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5 responses

10 03 2009
willohroots

29 years married, more in love than ever, but we are passionate people and have had fights. Doozies! A man hitting a woman is a really really bad sign. Only one side of the story here was presented, so I would ask, “how hard did he hit her?” Was it a self defense swat? Did he do damage to her body? Punching a woman is inexcusable, therapy is needed to get to the root of that one, or did he give her a shot in the arm to get her to stop hitting him? makes a difference to me.
Abuse vs. self defense. Abuse ends relationships. While Christ can heal all, a woman needs to feel secure until trust is re-established. Self defense, or even reaction might, maybe, possibly, be excused. If she needed medical treatment she needs to GET OUT until something changes. We respect marriage as Christians, abusive relationships are the antithesis of marriage.
Let me know how this works out, pray for God’s will.

10 03 2009
aworthydiscussion

Yeah I guess there is a difference. So far my wife and I have only ever heard one side of the story – hers. She has a flair for the dramatic, and I would expect he is a lot worse off than her.

Just a thought – a woman hits a man often and its fine. A man hits a woman once and its abuse? We need some true equality here, not just illusions. If women hit men they must be prepared to accept that at times retalliation will follow. I’m not saying its right I’m saying you can’t hit someone without expecting them to hit back. I think its unfair to punish a man severely for something that could be equally the fault of the woman.

10 03 2009
The Cycle Continues « A Worthy Discussion

[…] The Cycle Continues « A Worthy Discussion […]

11 03 2009
Mason

That’s really tough, sorry to hear about your friends struggles Grant, I hope they can work through this and turn to God to direct their path here.

Certainly you need to know both sides, and I do see your point about our very different reactions to violence from a woman as opposed to a man, but still I don’t think it’s the same.
I mean if she is physically or emotionally abusive that is terribly wrong and must change or the relationship has no chance, I’m not excusing that, but it is not the same as physical abuse from a man.
First of all because of the biology, except in certain cases most men can do quite a bit more damage than women in these situations, and tend to lose more control when they get to that point. Secondly because I think men are to respect and protect women in many ways, including physically, and abuse violates one of the core elements of their role.
Whatever the situations details though, it saddens me to hear and I pray that their relationship can be transformed into a foretaste of the time to come when God sets all things right.
If indeed there is abuse, and it is not immediately dealt with and repented of, I hate to say it but it is probably better if she (or he) gets out of the situation quickly before it escalates.

“Societies that were once struggling to survive now ask what are we surviving for?”

Very perceptive statement, and I can relate to it more than I probably should be able to. My faith is such that I do see hope and purpose in the plan of God, but I think that if I was not a Christian I’d make a good nihilist.

11 03 2009
aworthydiscussion

LOL you a nihilist? Never! I think we could all go that way. Especially given the Iraq war and economic recession. Like I said in my post – it’s easy to point out the faults in the world. Sometimes I have to stop myself from going down that route, so I turn off the tv and stop watching the news for a while. Sometimes I have to believe in the face of all the world throws at me that God is in Control, that Jesus will return one day to make all things new. To put the world to rights. Otherwise it’s too easy to get depressed.

I hear what you’re saying on the abuse thing. I think you missed the point of what I was saying though. How can a woman be allowed to physically abuse a man and it not be considered abuse? A man hits once and it’s abuse. Where is the equality? Sure men could do more damage in general, but what about a small man and a butch fat woman? I think it works both ways. When either party starts physically abusing the other it’s a bad sign. In fact it’s dehumanizing behaviour.

I kind of feel the same way about racism. The country I grew up in was notorious for it. They made all but illegal to be black. But still the prevailing notion is racism is a problem white people have with black people. Did anyone ever stop to think that maybe it happens the other way round too? Black people can be racist too!! **GASP** Did he just say that? Any human being can be racist. Skin colour is not a prerequisite. Just like anyone can abuse anyone else. Gender is not a requirement. Abuse is abuse.

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