“I know it sounds cruel, but if he’s going to do something, he should divorce her and start all over again, but make sure she has custodial care and somebody looking after her…” Pat Robertson on the 700 Club. Robertson went on to say that Alzheimer’s was a kind of death, so your marriage vows are fulfilled.
You’re wrong, Pat, dead wrong.
The marriage vows I took said, “for better, for worse, in sickness and in health, till death us do part.” Not “a kind of death,” not “till you get really sick,” or “until I’m fed up with you.” Till death. When one of us ceases to be alive, not just mentally aware.
I know what I am talking about because I watched it firsthand with my grandparents. My grandmother had Alzheimer’s and Grandpa was right there with her. He didn’t say, “Well, that chapter is over, time to go find a new chick.” He stuck by her. He cried privately when Grandma no longer recognized him. He still kept growing roses because Grandma liked them, and he would take her one every time he went to see her. He did that right up until the day he died. The only way my grandfather was going to leave my grandmother was by going to Heaven.
I watched Grandpa’s eyes well up and heard his voice crack when he would talk about her. It broke his heart to watch her fade from us, yet he always talked about her like she was still his best girl, still his sweetie, still the woman he said that God had sent him.
In today’s society we seem to view marriage as another stage in life, kind of like potty training. It’s good for a while, but eventually you grow out of it. It always shocks me when people who say they are Christians decide to divorce. Really? Did you miss the part where God said that He hates divorce? Were you just kidding when you took your vows, or did you have your fingers crossed? After doing considerable Biblical research I found the Greek term that sums this up: BALONEY! Okay, that isn’t really Greek, but it does sum it up succinctly.
I cannot imagine leaving my wife, Lanette, in custodial care, however comfortable or nice it might be, and then pursuing another woman. How could I ever look another woman in they eye and say, “I will love you forever,” knowing that I didn’t do it the first time. And how could she ever believe me?
The reaction to Robertson’s comment has been pretty negative. Saying stupid things in public will bring that kind of reaction. I’m no fan of Robertson in general, but saying things like this brings disrepute onto not just Robertson and his show, but also on Christianity in general. As a pastor, I will have to explain his remarks to more than one person. How many men and women facing this, or some other horrifying disease, will take Robertson’s words as gospel and feel justified in dissolving their vows?
Don’t get me wrong, I feel for people in these situations. My heart breaks for them just as it did for my grandfather. Please understand this, being in a horrible situation does not release you from the vows you took on your wedding day. Nor does it mean that you get to find some loophole or way around it.
The cynical side of me can only imagine Mrs. Robertson taking whatever vitamins and doing whatever activities she can to make sure Pat doesn’t get to wriggle out of his vows. Pat Robertson should take a lesson from my grandfather because I think Grandpa knew something about love that Pat Robertson is missing somehow…
Missing my grandma and grandpa… Jerry