Southwestern student, Trey Dimsdale recently attended the Ruth Institute’s It Takes a Family to Raise a Village Conference and walked away encouraged, but with a heightened awareness of a major flaw in our thinking about marriage.
Bishop Robinson [Bishop of the Diocese of New Hampshire, Episcopal Church], who was once married to a woman and is now divorced and remarried to a man, was asked at one point why he should be taken seriously as an advocate for his position when he himself has broken the vow that he took with his former wife. Bishop Robinson’s reply was interesting and in a way, I can see how it would seem noble to one who thinks from his perspective. His response was a description of how his marriage ended. Mr. and Mrs. Gene Robinson went to the courthouse with their priest and lawyer and after they receive their divorce decree, they went directly to the church where they read apologies and gave back the symbols of their vows, the rings that they had exchanged seventeen years earlier when they were married. Their vows had been to honor one another and when it became clear that the present circumstance was unnatural for Mr. Robinson, they mutually agreed to release one another from those vows in order to honor those same vows. There is a circular and internal consistency to their logic.
There is one profound problem, however. Marriage vows aren’t exchanged to be self-affirming and internally consistent.
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