Friday, June 26, 2009

Jon and Kate from a Catholic perspective

Jon and Kate, from the popular reality show called Jon and Kate Plus Eight are allegedly separating and eventually divorcing after 10 years of marriage and 8 children. They say they are arguing a lot and that it's not good for the children. But I think one thing that is surely worse is divorce. Divorce is never the answer and Jesus specifically forbade it. He said if a man divorces his wife, and she goes to be with another man, she is committing adultery.

God gave us the sacraments as a visible sign of invisible grace. I believe marriage represents God's love for us, like all sacraments do. But God wil never leave us, no matter what. Even when we disobey him, when we sin against him, no matter what we do, God welcomes us back. When people get married, they make a commitment to stay together for better or for worse, not until the other one does something I don't like. Because God would never leave his people, spouses should never separate.

But what about if a spouse is abusive or if one stops loving the other? Well, love is a choice of the will, or should be. It's not a fuzzy feeling. It's a decision. If a spouse abuses the other, then the abused spouse can leave, but they still made a lifelong commitment. If a brother hurts his sister, she cannot stop being his sister. She can stay away from him though. The abused spouse should leave and be safe, but the lifelong bond is not broken. Regardless, most couples do not divorce because they are being abused. They divorce because they are not having fun anymore.

I also acknowledge that the Church recognizes the possibility that a marriage was not valid to start with. If there is a pre-existing situation which rendered the couple incapable of entering into a valid marriage, then it can be said to be null. This is where the term annulment comes from. There are many reasons a marriage might not have been valid. Perhaps one of the partners was immature, was coerced into marriage, was under some kind of influence, etc. Other reasons are that one spouse has predetermined that he will be unfaithful or was not making a lifelong commitment. Also, if a spouse was closed to the possibility of children. There are many reasons for a possible annulment. These are sad cases as well, but they indicate the couple was not truly able to marry and therefore the marriage they believed they were involved with was not real.

If a marriage is valid and you make a commitment, what does that mean? If a man says he'll always stand by his wife's side, does this mean only when he has a fuzzy feeling about her? Like Jesus said, you have heard it said to love your friends and hate your enemies, well I say love your enemies. It is similar in this case. Jon and Kate ought to love each other beyond fuzzy feelings. They made a commitment, an oath. If this oath can be broken nilly-willy, then it wasn't an oath to start with.

But the people who will lose out the most in this case are the children. People should be married before they have children because a child grows up best with a mother and a father in a single household. A divorce causes enormous stress and instability to the life of a child. If mommy leaves daddy, maybe she's abandon me as well. It's a very sad situation. People sometimes mock those who "stay together for the kids". Well, why not? What is a better alternative? Let's finish this sentence. Instead of staying together for the kids, maybe they should split up to find a better sex partner. This puts things into perspective. Give me the other reasons why people divorce. Maybe they don't feel the attraction. Maybe they have grown apart. Well, are these reasons equal or more important than the emotional, mental and spiritual growth of their children? I don't think so.

Finally, divorcees have been shown to fair much worse than those who stay together. Couples who are contemplating divorce but stay together are almost always happier 5 years later than couples who decide to split up.

I do not know all the details behind Jon and Kate's marriage, and I am only going on what I do know. I understand there are many circumstances in which people feel there is no choice but divorce. We ought to pray for these people. I do not wish to condemn these people either. In fact, I want to recomment what is best for them. I do not believe allowing divorce is the most compassionate thing to do. A valid couple loved each other at some point and this love ought to be selfless, and therefore it can be rekindled. Again, it a very sad situation when a couple thinks about divorce. I hope they make the right decision.

I believe Jon and Kate ought to try to resolve things and stay together to raise their family like they committed to doing. Let's keep them in our prayers so that they will do not their will, but God's will in this matter.

No comments:

Post a Comment