G.K. Chesterton had quite a lot to say on the subject of marriage and divorce. The quotes below are mainly from The Superstition of Divorce which was written in 1920. The others are from The Hebdomadal Chesterton which is a wonderful place to visit if you like Chesterton.
…marriage itself is an act of freedom and responsibility; and the desertion of it is the desertion of one’s self; and is always at least humiliating. Even if divorce is not a sin, it is most certainly a disgrace. It is not like the breaking of a chain, which has been forcibly imposed upon a slave. It is like the breaking of a sword, that has been deliberately taken up and deliberately dishonoured by a traitor.
I may be misunderstood if I say, for brevity, that marriage is an affair of honour. The skeptic will be delighted to assent, by saying it is a fight. And so it is, if only with oneself; but the point here is that it necessarily has the touch of the heroic, in which virtue can be translated by virtus. Now about fighting, in its nature, there is an implied infinity or at least a potential infinity. I mean that loyalty in war is loyalty in defeat or even disgrace; it is due to the flag precisely at the moment when the flag nearly falls.
Marriage is honourable.
Heroic: altruistic, determined, dauntless, brave, courageous but desperate.
In a medical sense a heroic procedure is one which may endanger the patient if it\’s performed. There\’s a chance it will be successful but if it\’s not done the patient will probably die. Heroic effort and desperate action are honourable responses whatever the outcome might be in the end.
4 thoughts on “Marriage and Divorce”
Yes, and as a child of divorce, I agree. Lovely post!
As a child of divorce, I agree! As a former naval officer who has taken up the sword with a former naval officer, I love the analogy of the sword. I think the hardships we face in marriage leave marks that beautify the sword or break it. I'm so thankful to God that our sword has become more beautiful.
The analogy of the sword reminds me of this poem by Edward Rowland Sill – one man saw it as blunt and useless but the other saw it as an opportunity:This I beheld, or dreamed it in a dream:–There spread a cloud of dust along a plain;And underneath the cloud, or in it, ragedA furious battle, and men yelled, and swordsShocked upon swords and shields. A prince's bannerWavered, then staggered backward, hemmed by foes.A craven hung along the battle's edge,And thought, \”Had I a sword of keener steel–That blue blade that the king's son bears, — but thisBlunt thing–!\” he snapped and flung it from his hand,And lowering crept away and left the field.Then came the king's son, wounded, sore bestead,And weaponless, and saw the broken sword,Hilt-buried in the dry and trodden sand,And ran and snatched it, and with battle shoutLifted afresh he hewed his enemy down,And saved a great cause that heroic day.