Not Under Bondage
“Greg, Ann, I’m going to ask you a question. Please answer me truthfully,” Franklin said. “You have my word that nothing that is said here will go beyond these four walls. Ann, if you both went through with the divorce even though you are not the one initiating it and have said you have no desire to see it through, would you be able to remain single and not engage in sex with anyone for the rest of your life?”
After thinking for a minute, Ann said, “Right now, it’s my desire to remain single, but in all honesty, I don’t know for how long I’d remain single. I’d probably end up marrying again and for two reasons: one, to have a father figure in Camine’s life.”
“Oh, no. That will not be happening,” Greg said. “No other man is going to take care of my daughter and try to take my place as her father.”
“Well, you won’t be there, so you leave me no choice,” Ann said quietly.
“If you get married again, she’s coming to live with me for sure,” Greg said.
“Not happening. I’ll definitely get primary custody. No stranger, some other woman, is going to take care of my daughter,” Ann said.
“Well, all I know is no strange man will be taking care of my daughter. No, ma’am. You can rest assured that that will not be happening,” Greg said.
Franklin cleared his throat. “Ann, what’s your second reason?” he said.
“My second reason is,” Ann continued, “I won’t have sex with anyone unless I’m married to that person, and that’s not up for discussion at all. I admit, I’ve had some desires, but thank God I have not succumbed to those desires so far.”
“Greg,” Franklin said, clearing his throat. “What about you? If you go through with the divorce, would you be able to remain single and not engage in sex with anyone?”
“Nope. Definitely not. That will not be happening. I’ll probably be getting married within the next two months or so. I got to have me a woman,” Greg said.
“When you think about it, is that fair to Ann? You want to be free to get married again even though I have explained to you that you would be living in adultery. I know you are not a Christian so that may not ring clearly with you and it may not mean anything to you; you may not even have any guilt whatsoever about marrying someone else. And that response is expected of someone who is not a Christian. But Ann is now a Christian and this is something she does not want to do as she has stated. She does not want to get a divorce especially now that she knows that God is against it. In all fairness, and if you really love her, you will not want to put her in that position especially with your daughter caught in the middle.”
“I thought you said I was free to leave her since I am not a Christian,” Greg said.
“That is true. You are free to leave if you so desire. Even if you were already a Christian, technically you would still be free to do whatever you want because God created us with free moral agency. But as I was saying, is it fair to Ann for you to want to be free to remarry but you do not want the same for her? Once you leave she is no longer under your authority especially since you are not a believer, and remember, you chose to leave—not her. You are the one pushing for the divorce—not Ann,” Franklin said.
Greg remained silent.
“Let me read out loud to you verses thirteen through fifteen,” Franklin said. “’And the woman which hath an husband that believeth not [or is not a Christian], and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him.’ In this case, if you wish to remain married to Ann who is now a Christian, you are free to remain in the marriage and Ann should not leave you. Verse fourteen says, ‘For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband.’ Here’s where the rubber meets the road. Verse fifteen continues: ‘But if the unbelieving depart,’ in other words, if you, Greg, depart, it says, ‘let him depart. A brother or sister [Ann in this case] is not under bondage in such cases: but God hath called us to peace.’” God wants the marriage relationship and family life to be a peaceful one. To have peace, He gives the unbelieving husband or wife permission to leave if there is turmoil; constant quarreling, fighting, bickering and disagreement; constant unrest between the husband and wife so much so that it creates an unpeaceful atmosphere even for the children.”
Franklin closed his Bible and refrained from speaking more as he allowed the words to sink in.
“What does it mean she ‘is not under bondage’?” Greg asked.
“It means she is not under the bondage of her marriage vows. In other words, she is free to marry someone else,” Franklin said. “She no longer has to answer to you but to her new husband, if she chooses to get married again.”
“What if she chooses not to get married again?” Greg asked.
“She still does not have to answer to you especially if you were to marry someone else,” Franklin said.
Bianca broke the silence that followed. “You know, the saddest part about a divorce is what happens to the children if there are any; they get caught in the middle. They don’t know which way to go. I believe that no matter the home-life, all children desire for their parents to stay together. We have counseled adults—married and unmarried—who are still hurting, and I mean deeply hurting because their parents divorced while they were still living at home. I’ve even counseled one . . . no, two women whose parents divorced after these women were grown and had moved out of the house. They say it still hurts to know their parents got a divorce. One is a Christian; the other isn’t. So divorce leaves a stigma on all parties involved, a stigma that is not easily shaken if it can be shaken at all. We have a set of selfish parents who are only thinking about themselves instead of thinking about the detrimental hurt they are causing their dear children whom God has blessed them with to love and to care for. Most divorcees believe their children will not be affected by the divorce, but they are woefully deceived.”
Greg and Ann looked at each other.