TO CHEW ON: "Did he not make them one with a portion of the Spirit in their union? And what was the one God seeking? Godly offspring. So guard yourselves in your spirit and let none of you be faithless to the wife of your youth." Malachi 2:15
Pat Robertson's answer to the question of what to do when a spouse has Alzheimer's sent shock waves through the audience of the 700 Club show. "He should divorce her and start all over again," he said. "Since Alzheimer's is a kind of living death," he went on, "divorce and remarriage wouldn't be violating the marriage vows of being faithful 'till death do us part.'"
Dr. Robert McQuilkin did the opposite. When this theologian's wife took ill, he stayed faithfully at the side of his wife of 40 years to the extent of quitting his job so he could provide around-the-clock care. He cared for her until she died--a total of 25 years.
Sickness is one of many reasons we could find, if we're looking, to rationalize breaking our marriage vows. But the Bible is clear that marital separation should be a rare thing. Here are some things the Bible says about the marriage bond:
- Husbands are to love their wives as themselves and as sacrificially as Christ loved the church, while wives are to respect their husbands (Ephesians 5:25,28, 33; Colossians 3:19).
- Wives of unbelieving husbands should stay with them, hopefully winning them to belief by their outer and inner beauty (1 Peter 3:1-4).
- Our prayers may be hindered by marital strife (1 Peter 3:7).
PRAYER: Dear God, my heart goes out to people whose spouses are ill with dementia or any debilitating condition. Help me to find no crack in my resolve to be true to my husband, no matter what. Amen.
MORE: This story in more depth
ABC News story "Pat Robertson Says Alzheimer's Makes Divorce OK"
"Living By Vows" by Dr. Robert McQuilkin (download pdf of the article)
Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.