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THE HIGH COST OF DIVORCE

Ben was on the way home from work one night when he realized, to his endless horror, that he'd completely forgotten his daughter's birthday. He rushed to the toy store and asked the manager, "How much is the Barbie in the window?" The manager said, "Which one? We have Workout Barbie for $19.95, Malibu Barbie for $19.95, Soccer Barbie for $19.95, Cinderella Barbie for $19.95, Retro 70's Barbie for $19.95, and Divorced Barbie for $375." Shocked, Ben asked, "Why is Divorced Barbie $375 when all the other Barbies are only $19.95?" The store manager explained, "Divorced Barbie comes with Ken's car, Ken's house, Ken's boat, Ken's dog, Ken's cat, Ken's furniture, and half of Ken's salary."

Most people are aware of the high cost of modern weddings as well as the numerous sacrifices involved, financial and otherwise, in having a good marriage. But both Scripture and human experience remind us divorce also undeniably extracts a high and painful price from all those who are touched by it. It costs a lot materially. Lewis Grizzard was a Southern humorist/syndicated newspaper columnist who married and divorced several times before he died. At one point he wrote, "Instead of getting married again, I'm going to find a woman I don't like and give her a house." Zsa Zsa Gabor said, "I am a marvelous housekeeper. Every time I leave a man, I keep his house." But the high cost of divorce goes far beyond financial considerations. Jesus said, "From the beginning of the creation, God made them made and female" and that in marriage a man cleaves or is joined to his wife. The result is "the two become one flesh; so then they are no longer two but one flesh" (Mark 10:6-8). In more than 30 years as a preacher, I have never witnessed a divorce that was painless and cost-free to the couple and family involved. To tear physical flesh leaves a scar and a wound, sometimes for a lifetime. To tear apart into two the one-flesh union God creates in marriage also wounds and scars, almost always for a lifetime. Decades ago Tammy Wynette sang, "Our D - I - V - O - R - C - E became final today." But forty years of studies and research on the effects of divorce are forcing sociologists to admit what we all know by intuition and from Scripture: a divorce is never final in the cost it exacts and the toll it takes on human lives in the form of emotional, psychological, spiritual, and sometimes physical suffering. Four hundred years before Christ, the prophet Malachi reported, "The LORD God of Israel says that He hates divorce" (Malachi 2:16). Knowing how much it continues to cost human beings, we ought to hate it, too.
The Most Beautiful Thing About Heaven!-ban Gulley, Smithville, Tennessee

Dan Gulley
Smithville church of Christ