Marriage and Love, Carriage and Horse

Ronnie Mincey

Mincey’s Musings
Year One, Week Thirty-Nine

Most weeks I know by the end of the article what I intend to write about next. When I posted last week’s article, I had not one clue what my topic would be. I have been waiting, expecting inspiration to come to me at any minute.

And it arrived, where I might expect inspiration and revelation to come, during last Wednesday evening’s church service. Our pastor was discussing marriage and divorce from 1 Corinthians 7, and he backtracked to Deuteronomy 24. I have deduced from this discussion three phases of governance of marriage and divorce.

The first phase is the governance prescribed by Moses in the first five books of the Old Testament. I searched Google and discovered an article by Ralph H. Alexander regarding the definition of the word “divorce” in Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology. Alexander stated, “Divorce is first mentioned in the Mosaic covenant (cf. Lev 21:14 ; Deuteronomy 22:13-19 Deuteronomy 22:28-29), but it was already occurring in Israel.”  Just as the case remains today, the act was already occurring before the law was established to govern the practice.

Alexander later continued, “The basis [reason] for divorce in Deuteronomy 21:1 is from a word translated as “some indecency”—while the exact intent is uncertain, Alexander continues: “However this phrase is understood, the text implies that this continued ‘indecency’ was so vile that divorce was preferred by the husband.” The first four verses of Deuteronomy 24 discuss divorce resulting from a man being displeased with his wife after he has married her and the possibility of her future marriage. Our pastor read and discussed these verses.

Our pastor did not read the next verse, but I read it silently to myself. Deuteronomy 24:5 (KJV) begins a different tone concerning marriage:

When a man hath taken a new wife, he shall not go out to war, neither shall he be charged with any business: but he shall be free at home one year, and shall cheer up his wife which he hath taken.

 I could not help but see the humor in this verse. May God forgive me if I seem irreverent, but I thought: “How pitiful it would be for a man to marry and have to take one whole year to cheer up his wife! I would hope it wouldn’t be that devastating to her. I’d hate to be the man whose wife was so disappointed with him that he had to take an entire year to cheer her up!”

Personally, I believe God has a sense of humor, and I think it was God’s gift to me to allow me to see humor in this verse. One thing that must be remembered when reading Scripture is that the meaning of the words used in the 1611 King James Version of the Bible (consequently, written in the language Shakespeare used in his plays) is oftentimes different than the meaning those same words presently convey. Another Google search of BibleHub quotes the Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary: “This law of exemption [that of going to war] was founded on good policy and was favorable to matrimony, as it afforded a full opportunity for the affections of the newly married pair being more firmly rooted, and it diminished or removed occasions for . . . divorces . .”. Also quoted is the Geneva Study Bible, which words the last part of the verse “that they might learn to know one another's conditions, and so afterward live in godly peace.” In other words, it was the custom of the time.

How would that work today? Imagine a man marrying, and being free from all obligations for the entire first year of his marriage except for focused attention on his wife? How would he provide for his bride? Would there be men who would marry several times, so they could have several entire years with no requirement to work? How would such couples live in today’s world if they didn’t work for the first year? What if the wife decided she was unhappy and wanted the divorce, even before the end of the first year? That could certainly pose problems, also. Then there are those couples like the one on an episode of The Andy Griffith Show who were not content unless they were arguing. When they were pleasant to each other, they were hateful to everyone else.

A second phase of the governance of marriage is found in the New Testament. Pretty much, the Bible only condones divorce for fornication, or adultery. There are many other situations that are governed by modern civil laws regarding marriage, separation and divorce, encompassing such topics as spousal abuse and irreconcilable differences as grounds. Many divorcees suffer from atychiphobia, the fear of failure. Perhaps many divorces result from aphenphosmphobia, the fear of intimacy, or gamophobia, the fear of commitment. Divorcees need compassion, not condemnation.

Thankfully, I am not a marriage counselor. Also thankfully, it is not given to me to judge others’ situations or reasons for the choices they make. I have enough to handle dealing with my own life. I personally spent eight years dating my wife, and have been married to her twelve years, and there are times I still wonder if I’ve made her happy! (After all, I did have to ask her three times to marry me!) One thing’s for sure, I’ve sure had a lot of fun over the years at her expense, though she hasn’t always appreciated my sense of humor.

Genesis 2:18 says, “And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.” God understood that many humans suffer from monophobia, the fear of being alone. Ebenezer Scrooge himself was affected when the ghost of Christmas future showed him his unkempt, unvisited and unremembered grave.

Proverbs 18:22 (KJV) says, “Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the Lord.” I indeed was lucky when that good thing found me (she originally asked me out), and I hope she feels herself equally blessed.

I leave you this week with more words of wisdom sent to me via email:

Pharmacist to customer: “Sir, please understand, to buy an anti-depression pill you need a proper prescription ... 
Simply showing your marriage certificate and wife’s picture is not enough! 

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