29 March 2017

Wondering Wednesday: "Would You Marry a [Felon] or a Divorced Man?"

Call to Arms - Edmund Blair Leighton - Public Domain
This week has been a tad strange!  I posted an article on my Facebook page about choosing a spouse, and two people asked me about my plans for remarriage, of which there are none at this time.  

The first question was kind of a joke from a dear friend who thinks it is about time for me to cast off my widow's weeds and "move forward in life."  I trust that if/when the Good Lord wants me to remarry, He will make that known to me and to the gentleman involved.  Right now, though, my life circumstances are such that I would not foist myself on some unsuspecting gent.  I am not well physically or fiscally, and I believe that, ideally, I would be at least "okay" in both those departments before seeking a husband.  God, however, may have other plans.

The hypothetical question seemed kind of odd, but it intrigued me.  

In the first place, an actual violent criminal perpetrator class was named in the question, a crime that I replaced with "felon" because I perceived that some folks' web security programs might not allow them access to the post. The word begins with an "r" and ends with a "t"; I believe the California Penal Code number is 261, but I could be wrong about that.  

In any case, no, I likely would not marry a man who had been convicted of a violent felony.  As I believe Agatha Christie said, "People can change, but frequently they do not" (paraphrase).  People who do this sort of thing can change and, through God's Grace, they sometimes do change, but most do not.  They tend repeat their crimes.  The exception that I could think of is if a man had been, say, in his teens when he committed the crime and he had converted to Christianity and lived virtuously since then, taking full responsibility and repentance for his crime and not blaming his victim or someone else for what he had done. 

In the second instance, of marriage to a divorced man, I am a Christian, and Jesus was quite clear on the topic; therefore, I'm wondering if the question was an attempt to stump me or something.

Thus, with one exception, I could not marry a divorced man.  Jesus was quite clear when he taught, "Every one that putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery: and he that marrieth her that is put away from her husband, committeth adultery" (Luke 16:18) and when he taught, "Whosoever shall put away his wife and marry another, committeth adultery against her" (Mark 10:11).  

The only exception I know of is when the marriage was invalid in the first place.  There exist some circumstances in which a marriage is legal and may appear to be valid, but it is not.  To determine the validity of a marriage, an independent investigation of the circumstances under which the marriage was begun needs to be undertaken by a disinterested third party.  

For Christians (and possibly for other faiths but I just don't know about them), if a marriage is valid, it is dissoluble only by the death of one of the parties.  The parties may decide that they cannot remain legally married for whatever reason, but remarriage is  not permitted with the one exception of invalidity.  

I hope that my little "woman-to-woman" ideas have helped.

Agape always,

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Dawn said...

I wouldn't marry a felon, violent or not, nor would I marry a divorced man unless he was Catholic and had an annulment from the Church.

I never really thought about it, but if a marriage get annulled, the couple has to have a divorce for secular legal reasons, right?

Cynthia Berenger said...

Dear Dawn,

Yes, it is my understanding that the civil divorce or annulment has to occur before the petition for declaration of nullity can be begun. I knew of one pastor in southern California who would not allow his parishioners to begin the process unless the civil divorce had been final for two years. He related to me the thoughts that it took people that long to recover spiritually from divorce and that sometimes couples would reconcile (as my own parents did, Deo Gratias!) within that time.

Agape always,

Dawn said...

Thank you for clearing that up for me, Cynthia.

Cynthia Berenger said...

You are very welcome, Dawn. Thanks for stopping by!