Elders of all tribes will verify that Native people used to stay married for life. Divorce was rare because committed couples simply worked through their problems. Both Jesus and Paul quote Moses concerning two persons becoming one flesh (Gen. 2:24; Mark 10:8; 1 Cor. 6:16). Second only to the death of a loved one, divorce is the most traumatic experience a human being can suffer. For the divorced person, however, there is no funeral and no true closure. A few minutes of legal proceedings can never dissolve the years a couple has invested in each other. Divorce is always painful because two hearts, joined as one, are ripped from the same chest.
Marital breakups are becoming more common among Natives in the new century. Because of the lies Satan promotes through the media, Native couples often have a surreal concept of matrimony. One recently divorced Ogalala said, “I listened too much to the TV form of marriage with the cozy home and wedding bed. I thought our mutual love would make everything easy. No one told us about the adjustments regarding job pressure and childcare. Dirty dishes, the hassle of making meals, her stretch marks, having to take out the garbage and car repairs caused reality to set in. I guess we really weren’t ready to get married. We should have sought serious counsel before rushing to the altar.” This couple is not alone, for many Natives never bother with pre-marital counseling prior to tying the knot.
After a divorce, cute phrases from friends don’t help much. “It’s all behind you now. Now you can move on. You have your whole life ahead of you.” Such platitudes roll off tongues far too easily. “Where do I go from here?” is the hard question. The classic answer is, “Now I’ll find the right person and have the happy marriage I dreamed of.” Believing they have at last found the perfect mate, some remarry in haste only to repeat the cycle of unhappiness.
When God’s Word is not consulted and obeyed, divorce is often the end result. The Lord never hints that couples are to estrange themselves from each other just because the going gets rough. Married persons should not view divorce as an option. Many who consider splitting up don’t really want to, but have just lost hope their marriage can work. The Bible is the only marriage manual God has provided and is absolutely essential and reliable.
Because our Creator has ordained the covenant of marriage, He provides no easy way out of it. We can have lifelong marriages, just as our elders did. Godly counsel can always be found when pride is set aside. In order to walk as one, two persons must be in agreement (Amos 3:3). With the Holy Spirit as their Guide, Native couples will be empowered to walk God’s path to marital happiness.
Published in Indian Life, July/Aug. 2006