'Till death do us part'

Al Cariño
27th Sunday in Ordinary Times
Reproduced with Permission

Some time ago, I came across an Indian parable titled The Creation of Woman which goes as follows (abridged):

"In the beginning, when God came to the creation of woman, he found that he had exhausted his materials in the making of man. In his dilemma, he did as follows:
"He took the roundness of the moon, the curves of creepers, the clinging of tendrils, the trembling of grass, the slenderness of the reed, the tapering of the elephant's trunk, the glances of deer, the joyous gaiety of sunbeams, the weeping of clouds, the fickleness of the winds, the timidity of the hare, the vanity of the peacock, the softness of the parrot's bosom, the glow of fire, the coldness of snow, the chattering of birds, the cooing of the dove, the hypocrisy of the crane and the fidelity of the drake. Compounding all these together, he made woman and gave her to man.
"But after a week, man came to him, and said, 'Lord, this creature that you have given me makes my life miserable. She chatters incessantly, and teases me beyond endurance, never leaving me alone. She requires attention every moment, takes up all my time, weeps about nothing, and is always idle. So I have come to give her back again, as I cannot live with her.'
"Then God said, 'Very well,' and took her back.
"After another week, man came to him again, saying, 'Lord, I find that my life is lonely since I surrendered that creature. I remember how she used to dance and sing to me, and look at me out of the corner of her eye, and play with me, and cling to me. Her laughter was music; she was beautiful to look at, and soft to touch. Please give her back to me again.'
"And God said, 'Very well,' and returned the woman to man.
"But after only three days had passed, man appeared once more to the Creator, to whom he said, 'Lord, I know not how it is, but, after all, I have come to the conclusion that she is more trouble than pleasure to me. Therefore I beg that you take her back again.'
"God, however, replied, 'Be off! I will have no more of this. You must manage how you can.'
"Then said man, 'But I cannot live with her!'
"To which God answered, 'Neither could you live without her.' And he turned his back to man, and went on with his work.
"Then said man, 'Alas, what is to be done? For I cannot either live with or without her!'"

Genesis (2:18-24) tells us why man is not to live without a woman and vice versa. After creating man, God created different life-forms to be his partner but none proved to be "suitable." God then built a woman out of the man's rib. Presented to the man, he exclaimed, "This, at last, is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh." Genesis closes this account thus: "That is why a man leaves his father and mother and clings to his wife, and the two of them become one body."

In Mk. 10:2-16, Jesus reiterates this teaching and drew up its natural conclusion: "What God has joined together, let no man put asunder." In short, Christian marriage is indissoluble, i.e., does not allow divorce.

The Church has consistently refused to allow divorce not only because it goes against the divine law but also because of practical reasons, one of which is its devastating effect on the children. For the moment she gives in to one exception, there will be no stopping other exceptions. This is the lesson of history. Countries which allowed divorce, initially allowed it only for the most serious reasons. But once the door was opened, almost any reason was eventually allowed. For example, in some countries, a wife can seek divorce because her husband's loud snoring deprives her of sleep. Whatever happened to their "Till death do us part" vow?

For marriages to last, it would be good to consider the following: