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If Loving You Is Right, I Don’t Want to Be Wrong

WARNING: this article was not easy to write, and it will not be easy for many who read it. It is about marriage and staying married even when that it is difficult to do. An insurance salesman said to a customer: "You filled out the application right except for one thing, Ms. Perkins. Where it asks your relationship to Mr. Perkins, you should have put down 'wife' not 'strained.' " Many forces and pressures are straining marriages today. Husbands and wives who want their marriages to survive must be committed to push back on these pressures instead of giving in without a fight. The thrust of this particular article is not to talk about all the strains that come into marriage, but to restate a fundamental Bible truth — God designed marriage to be a permanent relationship. He hates divorce — "For the LORD God of Israel says That He hates divorce" (Malachai 2:16a) — and after 40 years of "no fault" divorce in America (and the disastrous consequences that have followed) the wonder is that more of us don't hate it more than we do. Especially those who are Christians. I don't mean to be harsh or unkind, and I do not have an axe to grind with anyone. But there is no way around this fact — every time a marriage fails, somebody is at fault. It may be the husband, it may the wife, or it may be both. But a marriage can't end in divorce unless somebody is seriously at fault in one or more ways. Jesus was expressly asked in Matthew 19:3, "Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for just any reason?" The Lord didn't stutter when He answered, and if you are concerned about the will of God concerning marriage, stay familiar with Jesus' teaching about marriage and the one reason God permits divorce in Matthew 19:4-12.

The frequency of divorce in America at large and even among believers in Jesus is alarming. Why is it happening? The reasons are not simple, but a song by Barbara Mandrell in 1978 gives some insight. The song was entitled, "If Loving You Is Wrong, I Don't Want To Be Right." The first few lines went this way: "If loving you is wrong I don't wanna be right. If being right means being without you, I'd rather live a wrong-doing life. Your mama and daddy say it's a shame, It's a downright disgrace. Long as I got you by my side, I don't care what your people say." The loving that Barbara sang about in the song was between a married man and a married woman — the "wrong" being that they weren't married to each other! The song was on an album entitled "Moods," and the fact that it climbed to #1 on country charts and landed at #31 on the Top 40 chart revealed much about the moral mood America was in at the time. The move to let people live life on their own personal, autonomous terms without having to face the inconvenient and intrusive issues of God and right and wrong was already well under way in our culture, and is now accepted as an inviolable right. I know this little piece is a voice crying in a wilderness of dying and dead marriages. But in the name of God and common sense, the church must keep reminding married men and women that God wants you to love your own husband/wife (Ephesians 5:25-33; Titus 2:4), whether that is easy or not. Each of us who is married to a God-approved mate ought to be guided by this conviction: "Since loving you is right, I don't want to be wrong." Will you think about it?\

Dan Gulley
Smithville church of Christ