Staff Editorial: marriage is unconditional

The illness of a spouse is an unacceptable reason for divorce.

Chimes Staff, Writer

Pat Robertson’s public comments recently came under fire when he cited Alzheimer’s disease as grounds for divorce. These are surprising comments regarding marriage coming from such a religious and politically conservative figurehead. If earthly marriage is supposed to mirror our marriage to Christ, what kind of mirror is Robertson looking in?

On a recent episode of his Christian Broadcast Network talk show, “700 Club,” a caller asked Robertson for his opinion on the actions of a friend, whose wife has Alzheimer’s. This friend was said to be dating another woman with the justification that “his wife, as he knows her, is gone.” Robertson agreed with the caller’s friend. Yet, these statements seem to oppose one of the most sacred and important parts of marriage: the vow to care for one another in sickness and in health.

Now, Robertson’s advice to the man is this: “Divorce her and start all over again, but make sure she has custodial care and somebody looking after her.” Is it godly to abandon your spouse — in any capacity — when they need you most? No.

This standard of remaining faithful is very skewed. What if your spouse has mood swings, depression or some other psychological illness that causes their personality to change? Would these times, when they do not act like themselves, validate unfaithfulness?

The conscious choice you make to love someone is the one thing that should never change. That is the security and promise of love in its greatest form; the agape love that God shows us — and marriage should reflect — is unconditional. His opinion is an embarrassment to Christianity and it’s unfortunate he is a public figure associated with Christianity. Alzheimer’s is not grounds for infidelity. Under no condition is Alzheimer’s a cause for divorce.

Marriage is not conditional. In Robertson’s eyes, Alzheimer’s “is a kind of death,” but what actually died is a true understanding of sacrificial love.

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