amy courts: en route


Here’s the Thing about Jon and Kate…
June 19, 2009, 10:26 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

I won’t lie: I’m a bit of a gossip rag addict. My favorite families to babysit for are the ones in which the mom has a weekly subscription to BOTH People and Us Weekly. They give me my fill of all things trashy in the celebrity realms. There is no explanation for my fascination, but neither can I deny it nor pretend I’m not addicted. Paul would out me in a second.

Anyway, so if you’re with me on this (and I know a lot more of you are gossip rag whores than will admit, and to you I say, “admission is the first step to recovery” if, indeed, recovery is what you’re after. I, personally, am not…), you’ve seen all the nonsense about Jon & Kate Plus 8. Jon’s cheating. Kate’s overbearing. Jon’s a kid. Kate’s too much of a crazy mother. Blah blah blah.

Part of me feels bad for them having to live this out in the public eye. Part of me says they’re lying in the bed they made. Part of me says, “Jon, you’re a douche bag for even being seen with another woman, whatever your excuses may be.” The other part says “Well, I wouldn’t want to spend my life with Kate either.” Part of me feels bad for Jon, who – according to most accounts and his own comments on the show – hasn’t really ever wanted to do this show, but went along with it, while Kate ate up the fame and fortune. And God knows I don’t want my marriage to fall under that kind of peril. I don’t want it to fall apart in public. Much less on television, as cameras catch our kids’ reaction to the whole situation.

This morning, though, I read on some news source (a legitimate one – CBS News) that a big announcement is coming in one of the next episodes. Something about “life-changes” and “finding peace” and “a family in turmoil.” Speculation is that they’re at their breaking point. It’s headed for divorce. Maybe the decision’s been made and it’s a matter of announcements.

What I don’t want to hear, though, is that it’s all about irreconcilable differences. I don’t want to hear “there’s just too much to mend” or some crap like that.

Don’t get me wrong. I understand the gravity of a broken relationship. I understand the heaviness of wading through a mess that’s gotten that big. I understand that some problems are bigger than the two people involved, and more powerful than all their efforts put together. For heaven’s sake, I married a divorcee! I understand that divorce happens. It is a fact of this life.

But after witnessing, first hand over the last eighteen months alone, three of my close friends go through the agony of infidelity (sometimes repeated infidelity) and choose to plow through it to a place of peace  within the storm and despite the storm, I’ve come to a point of truly believing that if you want your marriage to work, you’ll work it out. I’ve come to believe that if you count your marriage – and your spouse – as truly more important than yourself, you will do what it takes to preserve the marriage and your spouse, no matter the great personal cost. That’s “living as Christ.”

I think it’s counter-intuitive in a lot of ways. It’s certainly counter-culture, both socially and religiously, to stay in a marriage marred by infidelity, especially when “Jesus Himself gave the out!” And all three of my friends have been encouraged – at times, even pressured – by Christian and non-Christian friends alike to leave their marriages. To admit defeat and walk away with a little dignity intact. Some have been accused of choosing to live as a victim or called “weak and stupid” for their decisions. Some have been flat out un-friended for choosing to stay with an adulterous partner.

But I applaud my friends. I admire their courage. I envy their determination and their simple but steadfast commitment to their fatally flawed husbands. Because they aren’t fighting for their spouses, for their marriages, or for themselves. They’re fighting for and in the strength of something much bigger and much more significant. There have been times in my own marriage when I’ve thought, “This is total crap. I’m giving and giving and giving while Paul is walking all over me.” And some of the best advice I ever received was to suck it up and let him. Because yelling at him, fighting him, and wasting myself in trying to do the impossible – change him on my terms – was futile, and that the best thing I could do is be the wife I was called to be regardless of whether or not he’s being the husband he committed to be. Heeding that advice changed me as often as it changed my husband or our circumstances. (Reminds me of camp when we used to tell petulant crybaby campers, “Suck it up, Wussy! Jesus DIED for you!” Ha!)

And one of my dear friends affirmed that whole thought process when she told me, “This isn’t about me or how I’ve been hurt anymore, Amy. It’s not about [my husband]. It’s not about our kids. This is about the simple fact that whether or not he’s being a godly husband, I have responded to the call to be a godly wife. And at this point, my only peace comes in determining to follow the voice of the Lord, who has not freed me to leave him but has called me to be Hosea to this Gomer of a man.”(If you’re wondering who or what Hosea and Gomer are, simply read the book of Hosea, one of Scripture’s minor prophets.)

People think she’s crazy. People think she’s a bad mother. People think she’s setting herself up for another disaster.

I think she’s beautiful. I think that she would sit comfortably well in the company of some of Christian History’s finest women. I think Mary and Rahab and Ruth and Tamar would applaud her. I think Christ would commend her.

I know she’d hear, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”

I know these are only three stories among hundreds of thousands. And it may be said that they are the rare exception to the rule.

But I disagree. I believe these women set the standard, and that theirs is a Higher rule. And I know, having now watched them and their situations change, their husbands grow and become and morph into men their wives never thought to hope for, and having watched their marriages grow (or begin growing) into towering trees from a pile of rotten roots, that their decisions have been right all along and that their reward isn’t a special place in Heaven, but the glory of God shining bright and clear through their marriages. I think they are hope.

So I don’t know about Jon and Kate. I don’t know anything more about their situation than the rags tell me. I’m certainly not here to pass judgment on anyone who’s been divorced or is in the middle of one because, hey, thanks to a grim divorce, I’m now the wife of an amazing, incredible, wonderful man. And yes, these women are not the exception to the rule but are living according to a different rule altogether.

But I attribute our blessings in marriage to the fact that God is capable of making good of anything.

Anything.

And I think that’s the point: no marriage is dead unless we neglect it long enough and choose to let it die anymore than a spirit is dead unless we actively choose it. There’s never a point where we’ll be forced to choose death. I believe God is as much the God of restoration as He is the God of reconciliation.

And remember? He’s the God of resurrection, who brings dead things back to life.

It’s true. I’ve watched it happen!

ps: I’m not encouraging anyone who’s in a violent or abusive marriage to stay with their partner physically. If you or your kids are being abused, beaten, raped or otherwise harmed, get out, seek help, and don’t return home until true change has turned the tide! But don’t give up on your spouse either. The best thing you can do is be for him or her. Sometimes that means walking away for good, but not always. Love begets love.

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