In earlier generations, the issue of divorce among the Christians and was not common in the general public. This is not like what is being experienced today. There is a rise in divorce amongst Christians and in the general public. Infidelity is something that is common among Christians and is the reason why divorce is being seen. The issue of divorce has sprung the church so much shocked that every Christian has encountered it at one point of their Christian lives. In the past, the effort to deal with divorce in the Bible has not been achieved as the issues took an academic route. Christians are required to get married and stay together forever. These are the principles stated in the bible. Although divorce was allowed in some instances of the Old Testament, Jesus Christ made it clear that it was ungodly to have a divorce. There have been different reasons as to why people marry in the first place. These reasons have been changed from time to time. The Christian woman has continued to retain their traditional role.
The reason for marriage has been for procreation. The main reason that marriage was practiced in this perspective was for procreation and the perpetuation of the man’s name (Pateman, 1988). In the Western civilization, marriage was regarded as a union where values were created. In this regard, it was expected that a man and woman will come together to be united in a matrimony. The bearing of children in most instances of marriage remains the priority (Pateman, 1988). If a woman does not bear children, she is blamed and in most cases, she is thrown out of the family by the man (reference). In African culture, it goes a little further. If the woman does not bear a male child, she is the one to take the blame (reference). All these point out to the fact that women are regarded as childbearing properties for men in marriage relationships (Pateman, 1988). Marriage, historically and to this day, remains an exercise to procreate where the women carry the burden of being a tool to bear children for the man as a way to extend his lineage.
Biblical understanding of the Christian woman ad divorce
Marriage is a unilateral contract
In the Christian perspective, marriage is a unilateral contract. This is because the husband is required to pay a dowry in order to be allowed to take the woman as his wife. Because the husband pays for the wife, then he is the only one who can release that which he has made payment for. A husband is required to provide the basic needs and the marital rights to his wife. These include food, clothing, and sex. If these are not provided in the family, then there is a reason to call for divorce. Even in this situation, it is only the husband who can initiate a divorce. In such situations, the wife will have to put effort to have the husband give him the certificate of divorce. In Christianity, the woman is being possessed. The woman cannot dispossess herself from the owner. The woman has made for the man and not the man for the woman.
Dowry is an issue which has been there for a long time in African and Indian culture and is still being practiced to this day. (Siwan, 2003) This is where a price is paid to the parents of the bride as compensation for giving their daughter to a man (Siwan, 2003). This is an issue which takes two routes. One route is that paying a dowry, the daughter’s value takes on whatever she is exchanged for. In this situation, the daughter is taken to be property which can be moved like a camel or a table (Siwan, 2003). On the other hand, the husband is seen to be buying off the bride and therefore taking her as his property. This creates a particular mindset within the family where the wife is seen as another item which the groom paid for and thus has the right to do as he pleases with her
For a long time, Christian women have endured a marriage because they feared leaving the marriage would jeopardize their social status, financial security and stability. With the notion that women require their husbands to provide for and protect them, women have had to endure abusive relationships with the pretext that they are properties of their husbands (reference). Women have had to stay in marriages however stressing they are for the sake of their names in the community. This has been due to the fact that many laws have argued that they are supposed to depend on their husbands for financial and moral support. This has rendered women to be properties of men. In situations where the women own property, this property is hinged on men. Although women have the power to stop men from selling the property by men, their property is regarded as men’s in the African culture. Because historically women have relied on their husbands for a means of financial security and stability it can become implied that within a marriage a woman remains the property of a man.
When a married couple divorces, there are rights that each of them have regarding child's settlement and property. If someone is married and have children in their custody living with them, then that means they have the right to live in that house up to the time that the children have left for school (Stevenson, 2007). If the partner tries to force the person out of the house, the person can seek legal redress immediately. Regarding property, there are no hard rules regarding this but courts will rule in favor of the person in custody of the children. If one person has the ability to quickly generate wealth on their own, that person will likely to lose (Stevenson, 2007). Regarding the rights of children, children have the right to have parental attention. The custody of children has been that children will be under the mother up to the age of 18 when they can decide on their own and make a decision of who between their two parents they would like to stay with. This law is under arguments that both parents have the right to take care of their children (Farley, 2012).
The issue of marriage and property will need to be seen from both modern and traditional societies (Butler, 2002, p. 28). We shall accordingly assume that modern society is to be distinguished from older social formations by the fact that it has become more elaborate in two ways. It affords more opportunities both for impersonal and for more intensive personal relationships (Butler, 2002, p. 35). This double adaptive capacity can be further expanded because present society is, as a whole, more complex, can more effectively regulate interdependencies between different forms of social relations and is better able to filter out potential disturbances (Butler, 2002, p. 25). This serves to show that relationships are getting to have more meaning where both partners have some form of authority. The issue of a husband having excessive power over a wife within a marriage is then questioned which allows for equilibrium in a marriage setting (Doherty, 2012).
The Christian woman is faced with changing times and it is hard to entirely cope with the changing behaviors and roles. With the empowerment of the modern woman, it is hard to persevere an abusive relationship. The modern woman integrates the biblical teachings with the advice from counselors. Most women are empowered in their careers. They no longer depend on the husband entirely. The changes that are seen to have contributed to divorce include the fact that there is a higher affinity for happiness than was initially experienced. There is also high mobility that is being experienced by the population.
Christian principles are not integrated with different varying philosophies. Most Christian women were brought up in societies where they were required to end up in marriage. This is what defined the lives of the women. Even with the current realities, it is hard to convince women that marriage is not the ultimate definition of feminine capabilities. While marriage is still taken to be the final destination for most people, it is not a permanent one in that case. More women an educated today and is the reason why divorce is a hard decision to make for most Christian women. Men are not fading away in the education system, but the women's dominance is attributed to decrease in discrimination and the widening job opportunities. Women are now accorded the same rights and education standards as women unlike in the past where the balance tilted on the side of men. This empowerment is preparing women to emerge stronger and powerful often leapfrogging men in the academic race. They were found to be much better than men in terms of independence, communication skills, attention, self-control and behavior. The nine year old girls scored more in attendance compared to their male counterparts. From this early age, it indicates that the probability of success in the girl child is much more pronounced than the boy child. These factors are further replicated later in adult life with considerable differences in graduation rates and career progress if purely based on merit.
The hardship that women face today after they are divorced stems from the traditional position status of the women in the society. Women have been required to stay together with their husbands in dependence on them. Christian women face many challenges because of the perseverance they undergo while they strive to preserve their marriages. The challenges that traditional women face in their divorce can be compared to the challenges that workers faced in the face of mechanization. There were changes that were experienced. It is also comparable to women who are eradicated by automation that is common today. This has shown that as many women are forced to look for alternative means of survival due to divorce, they are seen to be working earning less than the men. Also, the labor force, especially the lower ones where many women are found is reducing.
The modern Christian woman is undergoing a lot of challenges regarding divorce. She has to follow her Christian biblical principles and at the same time she has to fit into the society fabric she finds herself in. There is also the career that needs to be guarded. With the changes in the courts and legal enhancements, there are a lot of compromises that the modern Christian is required to make. The bible is seen to be hard on the Christian woman who is not required to divorce her husband. The Christian woman is faced with changing times and it is hard to entirely cope with the changing behaviors and roles. With the empowerment of the modern woman, it is hard to persevere an abusive relationship. The modern woman integrates the biblical teachings with the advice from counselors. Most women are empowered in their careers. They no longer depend on the husband entirely.
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