“And I tell you this, whoever divorces his wife and marries someone else commits adultery–unless his wife has been unfaithful.”
-Matthew 19:9, NLT
What did YOU contribute to your marriage’s breakdown?!
Years ago, I used to believe this was a reasonable question to ask any divorced individual. After all, we are imperfect creatures. We are all sinners (see Romans 3:23).
So, it makes sense when a marriage ends to look at those “contributions” to its “breakdown.”
I don’t think that way anymore, though. To me, this question betrays the ignorance–not wisdom–of the questioner:
They fail to understand God does not treat all sins in a marriage as marriage-ending sins.
Some secular schools of thought might treat all relationship errors or flaws as equal. But they are not. Some sins have bigger consequences.
This is important because that means not all sins or flaws caused the relationship to “breakup.” The partner committing marriage-ending sins caused that.
The collapsing of this important distinction between typical marital sins and marriage-ending sins feeds into the self-righteousness of some married Christians including–maybe especially–those asking the faithful spouse about their “contributions” to the marriage’s demise.
These married Christians falsely believe the faithful spouse could have avoided the divorce if they had dealt with their “contributions” earlier. At least, I feel like that is what is implied in the question.
And I would challenge anyone who denies such an implication exists in this question as directed towards divorced faithful spouses:
If asking a divorced faithful spouse about their “contributions” is merely a learning exercise, why aren’t we regularly doing so and regularly demanding answers from the “happily” married Christian couples as well?!
We all can grow in our ability and capacity to love our “neighbor” better. That is true of both the married and the divorced. ALL are sinners. That includes married, never divorced Christians as well.
In the end, I have decided to label this question as pseudo-Christian babble.
It looks wise but really is just “The Shared Responsibility Lie“–which falsely says we are partially responsible for someone else’s sins–dressed up in Christian-accepted, deceptive clothing.