1 Jan 2002

In a quandary over marriage and God's Will

Submitted by theshovel
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Here’s the situation:
Daughter very recently divorced, just meets new man (twice divorced, father of 5, currently being set free from a heavy legalistic denomination), claims the “grace of God has led her” to him so that a “perfect match” is being made. Here’s the question:
“I’m in this head spin, because it’s hard to grasp that the Lord would arrange this for her so soon after her divorce. My husband and I are just so mixed up about it. What do you think?”

Hello my dear …

I understand your quandary! Truthfully, I am skeptical of most claims regarding God’s leading simply because they often carry more the sense of having God’s authority on making big decisions than with any real sense of freedom. Not only that, God’s leading so often strangely resembles many of our short-lived infatuations — and it turns out that God seems as fickle as our own fleeting desires.

I also think the very concept of the perfect match is a fleshly contrivance perpetuated to keep the hope alive that true love is not just the myth it has appeared to be. After all, didn’t you also dream of finding real love, that if found, would surpass the shallow and hypocritical kind of love you saw in the world around you? The world continues to desperately seek after true love, and then claims to have found it only to later claim to have found the wrong one and that the real one was still out there. This false belief has only led us into desperation, short-lived romance, disappointment, despair — you know, basic insanity.

It has little to do with God — if anything at all — because it is built upon contradiction. On the one hand, we demand that no one else can choose it for us; but on the other, we desperately cling to a belief in the choice of fate (or God) to make it happen — otherwise we would miss the signs. Sound just like the ages-long theological debate between Free Will and Sovereignty? Yeah, and we act as if those kind of arguments are church-related, when in fact they have every thing to do with our own inner turmoil from the contradictions of life we cannot explain. But that’s what we’ve come to know according to what we’ve learned in this world.

Why would your daughter convince herself that the grace of God has led her to this man? Because that’s what she NEEDS to think in order to get past her own objections. I doubt she is unaware of the common psychological effect in which those from broken relationships bounce into another — known as rebound. It’s so common that it’s often used to build a story-line for a book or a movie (there’s even a recent movie based upon the effect, starring Gwyneth Paltrow, called Bounce).

Some will take advantage of the situation in hopes that it will last, others will stay as far from it as possible knowing how volatile and short-lived such a relationship usually is. If your daughter in fact has even slightly suspected that she might be simply bouncing from one relationship into another then she will need a validation much more secure than the usual “I know it’s love” routine, both for herself and for others.

She is already too painfully aware that she is barely over one failed relationship, and that this new guy has experienced two such failures, so there must be a far better basis upon which to hope for the perfect match. And that reason has appealed to the highest authority. How are you going to argue with that? But I ask, does the reason really have to do with God — or simply with the CONCEPT of God?

Now, I hope you know that I’m not writing this to tell you what to do or what to tell your daughter but only to inject some sanity into your considerations. I would recommend a heart-to-heart connection that doesn’t center upon all the objections she’s already holding at bay (such as his age, the number of children, etc), but a discussion that gets beneath her own fears and hopes.

Love, Jim

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