The “Big D.” Over half of all marriages end in it. Surprisingly, even half of church-going people end up in divorce court. When I was growing up the “Big D” meant the Denver Broncos. I was a huge John Elway fan and enjoyed their great run of Super Bowl appearances and victories.
We worship and serve a God that is all about love. There is even a verse that says, “God is love” (1 John 4:8). So when such a loving God goes to the extreme of saying he hates something, we should probably sit up and take note. And he uses that word when he talks about the big “D” (Malachi 2:16).
One time I was discipling a new convert and he started asking me the “rules” about divorce and remarriage. “The Bible speaks of only two reasons we may divorce our spouse,” I said. “One is if they abandon you. Do you know what the second one is?” He paused, stared up at the restaurant’s ceiling, looked back at me and said, “Leprosy?” Well, I nearly fell out of the booth laughing. “Come on,” he pleaded, “That’s a good reason.” Yes, I agreed that would make it tough but I think that falls under the “for better or worse” part of your marriage vow.
On another occasion, I was giving a kid from my neighborhood a ride home to his dad’s house after his baseball game. His parents were split up and heading toward the “Big D.” “How is it living with just your dad?” I asked him. “Not bad, I get to eat out a lot.” This kid is a great little pitcher and someday hopes to have a college World Series ring on his finger like his dad wears. He pretty much idolizes his dad. As we pulled up to his house, Garrett said, “I hope my dad doesn’t get divorced because I don’t want to get divorced.”
I looked at him like, “What did you just say?” He looked at me like, “What did I just say?” I think he so much wants to follow in his dad’s footsteps that that means he will end up getting divorced someday, too. I assured him that we all get to make our own choices about things like that and he shouldn’t worry about it as a 9 year old.
Last Friday night I ran into my friend Mario. I asked him how things were going. He had just gone through a difficult divorce. He said, “Not too well.” Tears formed in his eyes as he continued, “I was taking my 8-year-old son to his mother’s house this afternoon and when I dropped him off he looked at me and said, “You and mom are just playing a joke on me, right?”
I drove home after that with a lump in my throat. That was a rough one. God, I can certainly see why you hate divorce. When I walked in my house I gave my wife a big hug and kiss. We fight as much as any other couple but we also know we are in it for the long haul. The only time the “Big D” comes up is when we talk about whether the Denver Broncos are going to win the Super Bowl.
So come on people, let’s put God at the center of our marriages and work harder at staying together. I know it’s possible because “Nothing is impossible with God” (Luke 1:37).
• Brad Butler is head pro at the Arizona Golf Resort. He and his first wife, Wendy, attend Mountain Park Community Church in Ahwatukee.