Sammy Rhodes is writing about the way in which effects of his parent’s divorce ripple through his life and perceptions. He recounts the combination of cynicism and romanticism about marriage that the children of divorced parents have. One couple for whom he performed a marriage vowed ‘never to divorce’ one another, a promise that Rhodes felt was both arrogant, yet admirable. It causes him to think of the only one who can truly make that promise:
I think the best metaphor we have for the kind of love God has for us is that he is a God who marries us with eyes wide open and promises to never divorce us regardless of how unfaithful we turn out to be.
When God says he hates divorce, he doesn’t mean he hates the divorced. He means that the kind of love he has for his people is best captured by a one-sided marriage that he promises will never end in divorce. That’s the kind of love he’s come to create in his people. For him. For the church. And for husbands and wives.
God’s love is the only love that can sustain a marriage because it is the only love that can promise it’s never going anywhere. Our love is too frail, too fragile, to possibly sustain our marriages. German Lutheran pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer said that it is not our love that sustains our marriages; our marriage becomes the place to sustain our love.
The only way to “divorce-proof” your marriage is for God’s love to sustain your marriage so that, in turn, your marriage can sustain your love.
Sammy Rhodes, This Is Awkward, Thomas Nelson, 2016, pg 43.
In this observation I think Rhodes makes a very important point, when God talks about hating divorce, he’s not telling us something directly about our marriages (though there is something there); he is telling us something about himself and his faithfulness.