Hello, dear readers. I have an interesting discussion for you today. Divorce and polygamy. This sounds a bit strange, right? And what in the world do they have to do with each other?
I have never in all of my life put divorce and polygamy in the same category, but I book I’m reading has made me change that.
I love to read books when time allows, and I am currently slowly working through a book called “Female Piety” by John Angell James. It has been interesting to see how drastically changed our culture is from just a couple hundred years ago. I wish it wasn’t so.
Anyhow, in this book, the author discusses how the coming of Christ elevated women back into their created status, instead of being “wickedly sunk” below her proper level in social and domestic life. And I think we can see this played out when we look at many cultures around the world. I think that men and women do have different roles Biblically, but women should not be treated as property as they are in many places of the world today.
The “mistreatment” and “inequality” women perceive in America is almost comical compared to the hardships other women around the world face.
Polygamy is one form of mistreatment. It must surely be miserable to share your husband with other women, and this was not God’s plan from the beginning.
“If we go to the Bible, we shall learn that it is to Christianity…that woman owes her true elevation. Polygamy is, and ever must be, fatal to female dignity and happiness- this, or at any rate concubinage, was practiced, no doubt under mistaken views, by the patriarchs; not that it was ever positively sanctioned by God, for from the beginning he made one woman for one man, and by the providential and remarkable fact of the general equality of the sexes as to numbers, he still proclaims in unmistakable language the law of monogamy…Christianity as in other things, so in this, is an enlargement of human privileges; and among other blessings which it confers, is its elevation of woman to her proper place and influence in the family and in society.” pp. 8-9
I believe that most (if not all) of us can agree that polygamy isn’t in the best interest of the family. As the above text states, the law of monogomy is clear if we look at the general equality of males and females born into this world. This is God’s best for us.
When Christ came, he showed by example that women were to be valued. He gladly allowed women in His presence to minister to His needs. And in the New Testament, we see an example of men of honor only having one wife.
“Here, then, is the glorious excellence of Christianity; it revived and re-established the original institute of marriage, and restored to woman her fortune, her person, her rank, and her happiness, of all of which she had been cheated by polygamy; and it thus raised the female gender to the elevation to which they were destined by their wise and beneficent Creator.”
But unfortunately, it seems like in nations where polygamy has gone by the wayside, divorce has taken it’s place. Divorce, just like polygamy, is not God’s best. Both divorce and polygamy are harmful to women.
“There have been nations in which the ‘ease of divorce’ took the place of polygamy, and of course was acompanied with some of its vices, and many of its miseries too…Let the nuptial tie be weakened, and the wife live in perpetual fear, because her union to her husband is placed in jeopardy by a law under which he may at any time, at the instigation of passion or caprice, dissolve the bond between them, and without either penalty, remorse, or shame, dismiss her from his home – and there is an end to her peace, and perhaps to her purity.” p. 15
In a world where divorce is an easy way to end a marriage, let’s fight for them. Let’s remember that the marriage bond was made to bring protection to women. It is a holy and beautiful thing that Christ held in high regard!
“How should she rejoice to hear Him say, ‘But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, causes her to become an adulteress, and anyone who marries the dovorced woman commits adultery’ (Matt. 5:32). The indulgence of greater latitude and liverty in this matter granted to the Jews – was thus superseded by Christianity; a greater security was provided for woman’s honor and felicity; and a broader basis laid for domestic harmony and happiness.” p. 16
I hope you are encouraged today married friends, especially if you are currently in a difficult marriage. The marriage bond was meant to bless, and not curse you. While divorce may seem like an easy answer when we are facing unhappiness, we must remember that God has joined us together and has a plan for us. When we wives submit to His will and accept our marriages with joy and contentment, I believe blessings will come.
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