04 Nov, 2022 Tom Brady & Gisele Divorce: A Somber Reminder for Christian Couples
Media & Biblical Advice
By Kyra Thompson
Image: Deposit Photo
Here we are again with news of yet another celebrity-couple divorce. Tom Brady and Gisele Bündchen officially ended their marriage of 13 years on October 28. The couple gave their reasons for the split in individual statements on social media and to the press saying they had “grown apart.”
Additionally, both said they had finalized the divorce “amicably” and wished the best for each other with gratitude for the time they spent together. While mostly everyone would agree that news of any divorce is always sad, some may hear the positive statements from Brady and Bündchen and think, “Well, at least it isn’t a nasty split.”
Tom Brady announces that he and Gisele Bündchen have finalized their divorce pic.twitter.com/lZktvTjHCD
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) October 28, 2022
I am here to warn strongly against that mindset and to argue that every divorce is nasty, no matter how “amicable” the two parties may appear. In fact, many Christians may not even realize how detrimental having such a blasé attitude toward divorce can be to the future of a morally healthy society. But I wanted to write this post to remind the church, and parents in particular, how serious divorce actually is to God and therefore should be to us.
Don’t get me wrong – I am not here to try and pick apart or cancel Brady and Bündchen for their discouraging choice to end their marriage. I don’t want to insult them or become one of the many criticizing voices on the internet always nitpicking celebrities’ lives. I don’t know them personally and I don’t know what their profession of faith is, so I cannot make a judgment. I simply want to use this opportunity to say “Yoo-hoo!” to those who actively want to seek Christ and His ways. Romans 12:2 reminds us not to be conformed to this world but to be transformed by the renewing of our mind. I would like us to take a moment to renew our minds to how God sees divorce and what we should be teaching our children by precept and example.
God: “I Hate Divorce”
Yeah. It is that simple. God just said it straight-up in Malachi in 2:16: “For I hate divorce,” says the Lord, the God of Israel…”
The rest of that passage goes on to compare divorce to violence against the one who should be protected. How could a peaceful and “amicable” divorce be likened to violence? To answer this question we need to first understand how God sees marriage.
Everyone knows about the first relationship: Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. Scripture tells us that God said, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh” Then Jesus continued that idea in Matthew 19:6 when He said, “So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” When you realize the reality of this covenant of marriage and how God sees it as now one flesh, it makes a lot more sense how the separation of that could be considered violence. If you tear apart someone’s flesh, there is bound to be a lot of pain.
Ephesians 5:22-33 magnifies the significance and meaning of marriage even further. Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit, wrote to wives and husbands about how to treat each other and in the middle of this instruction, he stated how we (the church) are Christ’s body, His flesh, and His bones. Again, Genesis 2 is referenced. At the end, Paul throws a curveball that revolutionizes the entire passage. Ephesians 5:32: “This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.”
Marriage is a symbolic representation of Christ and the Church. What a tremendous responsibility for those who are married! What happens to that symbol God has set up as an image for the world to see when we so easily decide to rend it apart? It is as though Christ’s own body is being torn apart for all to see. This is what happens to the body of Christ when we tolerate divorce as though it were no big deal; we tear our own flesh, and we wonder why the church of America is so broken.
Something else Jesus said about divorce can be found in Luke 16:18: “Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery, and the man who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.” If we heard of someone in our church who was cheating on his wife we would be quick to address this serious issue. However, I have not experienced many churches addressing this issue when someone decides to get divorced and and then remarried. Sometimes, the church will even perform the ceremony! Can you imagine a church that performs a ceremony to marry a couple while one of them was still married? That is how God sees divorce, including divorce for “falling out of love” or “irreconcilable differences.”
Divorce in Our Society Today
This perception of divorce as an easy in-and-out arrangement developed over the past century around the same time that media began to construct a unique American aristocracy: celebrities and celebrity culture. Now, I won’t pretend to draw a definitive correlation between divorce and celebrity culture. But I do find it interesting that the erosion of the sanctity of marriage seems to be closely linked to the throwaway relationships that are touted as “popular” or “glamorous” in the press.
It may also be important to note that celebrities have a higher divorce rate than the general public. The overall average rate of celebrity marriages ending in divorce was 60 percent, according to a study by the marriage foundation. How much of the increased divorce rate was due to celebrities normalizing it on the platform they had been given? I can’t say for sure, but it is important for us to recognize that many of our young people are looking at these personalities as their role models and as a standard for what is acceptable in society. Did the rise in divorce among celebrities affect the rise in the general public? I am unsure.
Tom Brady and Gisele Bundchen file for divorce. pic.twitter.com/Xu6JdMijLQ
— Mike Sington (@MikeSington) October 28, 2022
Regardless, the establishment of no-fault divorce as a valid legal reason to sever a marriage has made divorce easily accessible. We see this in the rise of divorce numbers since the 60s when Ronald Reagan legalized the no-fault option in California. The numbers went rose from there and have only recently started to head back down. However, this may not be the hopeful sign we wish it to be.
“The divorce rate in America provides a snapshot of the changing institution of marriage and the views of average Americans. Both the rate of divorce and the rate of marriage is falling. These statistics indicate that people are choosing more informal personal arrangements instead of formally recognized unions.” Branka Vuleta writes in her article analyzing the CDC’s divorce statistics for 2022. Not only is the institution of marriage considered cheap, it is completely invaluable to the point that people are rejecting it altogether.
But that’s just the way the world is, right? It’s more enlightened than the church, right?
A 2019 Pew Research Center study showed that 59 percent of white Evangelicals ages 18 to 29 say they believe that cohabiting is acceptable if a couple plans to marry. I am under no delusion that those who claim to be Evangelicals are actually Christ-following believers, but if this is what the world perceives as the church, we are in bad shape.
Why The Church Cannot Be Apathetic About Divorce
I do find some hope in the way the body of Christ is starting to stand up for truth. But while we are boldly called to speak against homosexuality, corrupt political leaders, and the murder of innocent babies, we have seemed to neglect the seriousness of divorce. We cannot just go on acting like divorce is just an unfortunate surgery that was unavoidable. Ending a marriage because they “can’t stand it anymore” or because they’ve “grown apart” is not a godly or acceptable reason for anyone who calls themselves a follower of Christ.
Society has not been able to look at the church for an example of what marriage should be because the church itself has been looking at society. The two have begun to mirror each other. If we are following Christ, we need to love what He loves and hate what He hates. And a huge reason He hates divorce is because it hurts us in more than just one way. It has negative repercussions on our families and communities for generations.
The Biblical value of an intact family unit has even been confirmed by secular studies. The American College of Pediatricians did a 30-year-study concerning the impact of family structure on the health of children and concluded: “Children living with their married, biological parents consistently have better physical, emotional, and academic well-being… Consequently, society should make every effort to support healthy marriages and to discourage married couples from divorcing.”
I don’t need to tell you the importance of healthy children for a healthy tomorrow. A part of me wonders if this is part of the reason we are where we are today and if it all started the rapid decline in the 60s with the destructive allowance for no-fault divorce.
I do want to be clear that I believe God’s grace is sufficient to redeem what has been broken and lost because of our sins. However, that grace is allowed access to our lives to redeem and restore when we repent and begin to actively seek out what pleases Him. We can’t just pretend that divorce was casual or meaningless. We should treat it in the same way you would treat a testimony about freedom from any sin.
If you or someone you know has had a divorce in the past, this is not to make you feel ashamed or embarrassed. I really want you to hear my heart on this. There is forgiveness. You cannot change the past, but the Lord can redeem the past. However, if you are thinking about getting a divorce simply because you are frustrated with your spouse or you don’t feel the same “spark” you once felt, I would beg you to seriously reconsider. Marriage is not just an outfit to change when it no longer suits you. Let us not be tricked into accepting divorce as a normal and “amicable” option for ourselves. It is going to be hard work, and you will need the Lord’s grace and wisdom more than ever before. But I promise you it is worth it for the sake of our society and our children’s future.
The opinions in this article are specific to its author, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the entire Counter Culture Mom team.
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