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9.16.2011

Why I Don't Ask Pat Robertson for Marriage Advice

This week, TV preacher and 700 Club host Pat Robertson got himself into a bit of hot water over some comments he made about divorce on his show. See the story at CBS News

Robertson was giving advice to a viewer whose friend was seeing another woman while his wife suffered from Alzheimer's. Imagine how my jaw dropped when I heard that Robertson essentially condoned the actions of the husband by suggesting that he should divorce her and go ahead and date another woman. 
Photo from CBN.com

His logic to write off the "til death do us part" marriage vow? Alzheimer's is a kind of death.

Really.

So if someone says their marriage essentially died because the other partner was no longer who they once were, it's okay to divorce and start over? This is rationalizing at its greatest.
Alzheimer's is a sickness. Nearly 22 years ago, I promised to marry my husband in sickness and in health. Even if he has to be cared for in a nursing home. Even if he is incapacitated. Even if he becomes mentally ill, paralyzed, or terminally ill. Marriage is marriage. 

Now, don't get me wrong. I understand that Alzheimer's and other conditions are extremely stressful for the caregiver. And marriages are strained by unforeseen events. But that's part of taking the vow. Too many young people don't look down the road and see what could happen. Too many marriages end because one or the other partner didn't anticipate real life. 

It isn't easy. But "in sickness and in health", "forsaking all others", "til death do us part" mean something. Death is death. As in no longer breathing. If you find an Alzheimer's clause in your Bible, I want to see it. Robertson opens the door for all kinds of wishy-washy interpretation of scripture with his statements. 

In his estimation, adultery must not mean adultery either. And on his slippery slope, murder won't mean murder, and stealing won't mean stealing. Not so long as we can come up with a clever way to justify them.

In the meantime, that's why I don't take marriage advice from Pat Robertson. I don't advise that you do either.

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