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What God Has Put Together. The Dissolution of Marriage in Christian Perspective Rolan Monje, BD, MMin and Rico Salcedo, JD. Introduction. Grateful we can learn and discuss together We do this as a spiritual family This powerpoint only serves as an introduction; many studies to follow

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What God Has Put Together

The Dissolution of Marriage in Christian Perspective

Rolan Monje, BD, MMin and

Rico Salcedo, JD


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Introduction

  • Grateful we can learn and discuss together

  • We do this as a spiritual family

  • This powerpoint only serves as an introduction; many studies to follow

  • Some areas are understandably difficult or sensitive

  • We can arrive at basic principles though practicalities may vary


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Theme verse

“Haven’t you read,” [Jesus] replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’ ?

So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.” – Mt 19.4-6


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Marriage & divorce issues

  • Discussed in the Bible, though in Jewish context, and not as thoroughly as we may wish

  • Combination of three spheres or components: biblical, pastoral, legal

  • These three components interlock and interplay in varying degrees


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Various aspects of divorce issues

PASTORAL/

COUNSELING

BIBLICAL/

DOCTRINAL

LEGAL/LAW-RELATED


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Components

  • Doctrinal component – has to do with Biblical standards & heart behind God’s commands; takes priority in decisions

  • Pastoral component – has to do with how church members and friends help the individuals concerned, working out a plan while helping teach and counsel

  • Legal component – has to do with the relevant laws, based on the citizenship of the individuals concerned; e.g. divorce is non-existent in the Philippine setting for a couple who are both Filipino citizens


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Components of divorce issues

  • The biblical, pastoral, and legal aspects are interrelated

  • No aspect can be excluded from the picture, although the doctrinal aspect takes highest priority, with the pastoral aspect following

  • Any situation should be assessed in view of all three components


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PART 1

DOCTRINAL COMPONENT

  • God’s heart  as a perfect loving Father

  • Divine standards  because He knows best

  • Timeless Principles  to guide our hearts


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Biblical principles – nature of marriage

  • Marriage is between a male and a female (Gen 1.27; Matt 19.4)

  • Marriage involves sexual union (1 Co 6.16); vs. fornication and adultery

  • Marriage involves a covenant before God (Mal 2.24)


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Biblical principles – duration of marriage

  • Marriage is a lifelong commitment (Matt 19.6; Rom 7.2)

  • Marriage is not eternal (Matt 22.30)


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Points of agreement in Christendom

  • Divorce is not God’s ideal (Mal 2.16), i.e. it is permitted but not intended (Matt 19.8)

  • Divorce is not permissible for every cause (Matt 19.9 …except for immorality [fornication], and marries commits adultery)

  • Divorce creates problems


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Conflicting views

  • No grounds for divorce

  • One ground for divorce (Grk: porneia in Matt 19.9, meaning marital unfaithfulness)

  • Many grounds for divorce


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PART II his/her spouse. In fact, the goal of having a non-Christian spouse is to win that person over, despite all difficulties ( 1 Co 7). Note that this section seems to place both the husband and wife on equal terms.

PASTORAL/COUNSELING COMPONENT

  • Church Involvement  spiritual guidance

  • Counseling  individual, intimate talks


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Pastoral/Counseling Aspects his/her spouse. In fact, the goal of having a non-Christian spouse is to win that person over, despite all difficulties ( 1 Co 7). Note that this section seems to place both the husband and wife on equal terms.

  • Principles before practice – to understand the ‘big picture,’ Biblical principles before getting into details

  • Biblical before pastoral – to grasp the heart of God before practical/church matters

  • Pastoral before legal – to assist in spiritual/emotional guidance before legalities


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Goals of counseling his/her spouse. In fact, the goal of having a non-Christian spouse is to win that person over, despite all difficulties ( 1 Co 7). Note that this section seems to place both the husband and wife on equal terms.

  • To assess the marriage

  • To bring to light issues of the heart

  • To give Scriptural perspective

  • To address sin problems and sinful tendencies

  • To work on a plan (e.g. 6-month marriage revitalization plan) for repentance even before annulment is considered


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Pastoral/Counseling aspects his/her spouse. In fact, the goal of having a non-Christian spouse is to win that person over, despite all difficulties ( 1 Co 7). Note that this section seems to place both the husband and wife on equal terms.

  • Steps in counseling

    • Prayer

    • Assessment of status of marriage

    • Evaluation of legality of marriage

    • Bible study of expectations of God

    • Counseling appointments (together & apart)

    • Recommendations and 6-month plan


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Counseling talks his/her spouse. In fact, the goal of having a non-Christian spouse is to win that person over, despite all difficulties ( 1 Co 7). Note that this section seems to place both the husband and wife on equal terms.

  • Questions to ask the individuals

    • What is the background of the marriage?

    • What has contributed for it to get to this point?

    • Is there physically harm involved?

    • Why do you wish to file for annulment?

    • Have you read your Bible on this?

    • Have you prayed about this?

    • Have you done everything Biblically to save your marriage?


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Counseling talks his/her spouse. In fact, the goal of having a non-Christian spouse is to win that person over, despite all difficulties ( 1 Co 7). Note that this section seems to place both the husband and wife on equal terms.

  • Examples of sin issues that arise when a couple considers divorce (Mt 5, Mk 7)

    • Failure to open up on marriage or family problems, which build up after some time

    • Unrighteous attraction to another person

    • Past sin not dealt with or unconfessed

    • Immature or hopeless attitude of ‘escape’ from conflict or problems

    • Giving to pressure from friends or in-laws


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Counseling talks his/her spouse. In fact, the goal of having a non-Christian spouse is to win that person over, despite all difficulties ( 1 Co 7). Note that this section seems to place both the husband and wife on equal terms.

  • Mt 5 and Mk 7 tell us that divorce is more a heart issue than anything else; Jesus tells us that divorce is a sad revelation of the state of hearts

  • Unlike the latitude of interpretations of Deut 24, only in the most severe and limited cases (e.g. criminal liabilities, psychological incapacity, etc.) is divorce/annulment entertained in church settings

  • Dealing with heart problems and sinful tendencies in a spiritual and guided way can be effective to save marriages such that divorce/annulment will not be necessary


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Counseling Talks his/her spouse. In fact, the goal of having a non-Christian spouse is to win that person over, despite all difficulties ( 1 Co 7). Note that this section seems to place both the husband and wife on equal terms.

  • In the book “Surviving an Affair,” William Harley advices a 6-month ‘idealized’ and ‘guided’ program to save marriages on the brink of collapse. Even non-Christian couples have been reunited by this structured program.

  • In the book “Connecting,” Larry Crabb tells us that most relational problems stem from a failure to connect with people. Working on ways to ‘connect’ with spiritual friends solves problems remarkably.


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Recommended Reading his/her spouse. In fact, the goal of having a non-Christian spouse is to win that person over, despite all difficulties ( 1 Co 7). Note that this section seems to place both the husband and wife on equal terms.

  • The Act of Marriage, The Beauty of Sexual Loveby Tim and Beverly La Haye

  • Boundaries in Marriageby Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend

  • Communication, Key To Your Marriageby H. Norman Wright

  • Fit To Be Tied, Making Marriages Last a Lifetimeby Bill and Lynne Hybels


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Recommended Reading his/her spouse. In fact, the goal of having a non-Christian spouse is to win that person over, despite all difficulties ( 1 Co 7). Note that this section seems to place both the husband and wife on equal terms.

  • Surviving an Affair

    by Willard F. Harley, Jr.

  • The Five Love Languagesby Dr. Gary Chapman

  • The Grace Awakeningby Charles R. Swindoll

  • His Needs, Her Needs,Building and Affair-Proof Marriage by Willard F. Harley, Jr.


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Part III his/her spouse. In fact, the goal of having a non-Christian spouse is to win that person over, despite all difficulties ( 1 Co 7). Note that this section seems to place both the husband and wife on equal terms.

LEGAL COMPONENT

  • God expects us to follow the laws of the land

  • Our conscience dictates that we abide by the legal procedures prescribed by the state of which we are citizens


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Legal Aspects his/her spouse. In fact, the goal of having a non-Christian spouse is to win that person over, despite all difficulties ( 1 Co 7). Note that this section seems to place both the husband and wife on equal terms.

  • Relevant Laws of the Land

    Executive Order No. 209The Family Code of the Philippines

    I. Marriage

    II. Legal Separation

    III. Rights and Obligations

    IV. Property Relations

    V. The Family, etc.


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  • Republic Act No. 386 his/her spouse. In fact, the goal of having a non-Christian spouse is to win that person over, despite all difficulties ( 1 Co 7). Note that this section seems to place both the husband and wife on equal terms.The Civil Code of the Philippines

  • Other pertinent laws regarding protection of women, custody of children, etc.


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Validity of a marriage his/her spouse. In fact, the goal of having a non-Christian spouse is to win that person over, despite all difficulties ( 1 Co 7). Note that this section seems to place both the husband and wife on equal terms.

  • Marriage license

  • Marriage certificate

  • Testimony of officiating minister

  • Testimony of witnesses

  • Etc.


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Dissolution of marriage in the Philippines (post 1950) his/her spouse. In fact, the goal of having a non-Christian spouse is to win that person over, despite all difficulties ( 1 Co 7). Note that this section seems to place both the husband and wife on equal terms.

  • Annulment

  • Declaration of nullity

  • Divorce by an alien spouse

  • Declaration of presumptive death

  • Muslim divorce


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Action for Annulment (voidable) his/her spouse. In fact, the goal of having a non-Christian spouse is to win that person over, despite all difficulties ( 1 Co 7). Note that this section seems to place both the husband and wife on equal terms.

  • Lack of parental consent (>18,<21)

  • Consent obtained through fraud

  • Consent obtained through force or intimidation

  • Insanity or soundness of mind

  • Impotence

  • Affliction with STD


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Action for declaration of nullity of marriage (void marriage)

  • Underage (even with parental consent)

  • No authority to solemnize

  • Bigamy and polygamy

  • No marriage license

  • Psychological incapacity

  • Subsequent marriage with incomplete documentation

  • Incest

  • Breach of public policy


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Divorce vs. annulment marriage)

  • In divorce (which is non-existent in the Philippines), the grounds or reasons for such arise during the marriage. In declaration of nullity of a marriage (as provided for by the Family Code), the grounds or reasons are already existing even before the marriage, but such grounds may have manifested themselves only during the marriage.

  • In practical effect, however, both divorce and declaration of nullity of a marriage allow the former spouses to get married again to other persons.


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e.g. psychological incapacity marriage)

  • Article 36 of the Family Code provides, "A marriage contracted by any party who, at the time of the celebration, was psychologically incapacitated to comply with the essential marital obligations of marriage, shall likewise be void even if such incapacity becomes manifest only after its solemnization."


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Legal separation vs. annulment marriage)

  • The grounds or reasons are different, and more importantly, in legal separation, the spouses are not allowed to get married again to other parties. The wife also still has to use her husband's surname.


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Other factors to consider marriage)

  • The rights of a woman (especially in view of Mark 10.12 and 1 Cor 7.15)

  • The right to remarry (Matt 19.9)

  • Legal separation as allowed by the state (divortium a toro et mensa)


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Moving Forward marriage)

  • The church will continue to build up the marriages in the congregation, and seek proactive measures to strengthen couples in both large group and small group settings

  • Leaders must be aware of the three components of divorce/annulment issues

  • Couples must not be hasty in their decision-making even though admittedly the final decision belongs to them

  • Situations must be tackled on a case-to-case basis, with much prayer and Bible study


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Closing Thoughts marriage)

  • Marriage issues bear upon interrelated doctrinal, pastoral, and legal components; with spiritual components (especially preventive counselling) necessarily taking greater weight.

  • God’s word is clear and simple, yet we acknowledge that there are multiple involved situations.

  • Dissolution of marriage, while in God’s concessionary will, is not in his ideal will.


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