As I've been dealing with teenagers for almost 15 years now, one issue continues to rise to the surface without fail… Divorce.
I would be willing to say 90% of all the kids who end up causing some sort of trouble in school, at church, in sports, or even out here at camp; come from some sort of dysfunctional family, and most often; a divorced home.
And Here me say, "That's ok with me."
I love helping kids navigate through tough times.
Whether it's divorce at home, rejection from friends, or just trying to grow up; I love walking with teenagers through the hardest time of their life.
But the issue remains…
It's no secret, Divorce is the plague in today's marriage relationship.
Nobody wants to get Divorced.
I mean think about it…
Bride is all dressed up on her wedding day
Groom is getting ready in the groom's chamber
Bridesmaids are delicately sashaying to the classical music in the background
Pastor stands up front
Vows are said
Reception celebrates the beauty of a new relationship
Nobody is thinking, in the middle of all that, "I can't wait till we end this thing!"
It's the furthest thought from their minds.
But recent statistics show, America's divorce rate centers around 41% for first marriages, 60% for second marriages, and 73% for third marriages.
The divorce breakdown looks something like this according to the Institute of Professional Psychology…
AGE BOYS GIRLS
under 20 11.7% 26.7%
20-24 38.8% 36.6%
25-29 22.3% 16.4%
30-34 11.6% 8.5%
35-39 6.5% 5.1%
It's really sad when I talk to teens and hear the effects of divorce on their own self-worth, self-esteem, and their overall emotional growth through their teenage years.
It's just sad.
I know there are times in marriage that are hard.
I know we mess up all the time.
I know expectations and failures plague relationships
But it's just super sad when something so good, so right, and so pure ends up in tragedy.
This morning I was reading in Matthew 19, and I found the section where Jesus spoke of divorce.
When Jesus had finished saying these things, he left Galilee and went into the region of Judea to the other side of the Jordan. Large crowds followed him, and he healed them there.
Some Pharisees came to him to test him. They asked, "Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?"
"Haven't you read," he replied, "that at the beginning the Creator 'made them male and female,' and said, 'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh' ? So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate."
"Why then," they asked, "did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away?"
replied, "Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts
were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, and marries another woman commits adultery."
The disciples said to him, "If this is the situation between a husband and wife, it is better not to marry."
Jesus replied, "Not everyone can accept this word, but only those to whom it has been given. For some are eunuchs because they were born that way; others were made that way by men; and others have renounced marriage because of the kingdom of heaven. The one who can accept this should accept it."
I'm in the middle of writing a book on teen dating, sexuality, and marriage. I just wonder…
Is Divorce the plague, because we're in America?
Is it the sign of our times?
Have we missed out on teaching about relationships to teenagers?
Or, what's going on?
Obviously it's not God's design, but there are lots of things that aren't God's design.
Murder isn't God's design, but it happens.
Failure isn't God's design, but we see that every day.
Adultery isn't God's plan, but men and women fall to it on a daily basis
Lying isn't God's design, but every corner of business I deal with navigates little lies here and there, surely God didn't intend on that happening.
So I don't want to overstep my bounds here, but I do want to address the elephant in the room. I do want to help parents see the effects divorce has on teenagers, and I do want to make sure teenagers understand the commitment of marriage.
What I do know, God is a forgiving God.
He came to heal the broken hearts of the world.
He came to mend relationships.
But in the middle of ugly separation…can anyone help me here?
Why is divorce such an o.k. thing in our culture today?