December 24, 1996 ?
These days, marriages are not expected to last. Maybe that is why the demise of Elizabeth Taylor’s eighth union was not a significant headline. What gave the story some attention was the unusual settlement demands. Her latest ex-partner, Larry Fortensky, asked the millionaire actress to increase his monthly pay of $5,000. He claimed this amount only covered “bare expenses.”
According to Taylor, she filed for divorce because of “irreconcilable differences.” This usually means neither one of them would bend. Personal likes and dislikes were more important to them as individuals with “rights” than was harmony in their marriage, so they ended the marriage.
Traditionally, insistence on one’s own way is considered a mark of immaturity. Fortensky at a mere 44 years old, and Taylor who is 63 prove that maturity is not something that comes with age. Neither have learned to make personal sacrifices to benefit a relationship. For them, it seems easier to find someone else with whom to be compatible.
However, after eight tries, Taylor should know by now that compatibility is not an accident or a discovery. It takes work. Besides, if another person totally agrees with everything we think, say and do, one of us is unnecessary. Compatibility is not the key to a happy marriage anyway. Genuine commitment has far more “glue.”
However, commitment is not easy either. It requires work and determination. Incompatibility will always rear its wedge-shaped head. It has been a problem from the beginning of marriage. Genesis says God made man and woman, both in His image. They were like God and they loved each other, just as God loved them. However, their relationship did not stay that way.
Along came the tempter in the form of a serpent. He deceived Eve and both she and Adam turned away from God and fell into sin. They immediately realized their guilt and hid from God. When He sought them out, He told them their sin would have consequences. One of these was to Eve; God said that, “Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you” (Genesis 3:16)
This “curse” has been interpreted in various ways but because it has the same wording as something God says to Cain in the next chapter, the best meaning seems to be, “You will desire to rule your husband but he will rule over you.”
Remember, this is a consequence of sin and a curse, not the marital harmony God intended. Some people call it the battle of the sexes. Despite our attraction to each other, there is something about the marriage relationship that proves Genesis 3:16 is a reality and it is actually sin, not gender differences, that is behind “irreconcilable differences.”
Sin makes people want their own way. Sin makes people manipulate and dominate others. For some reason, sin makes us think that we must have our own way or we will not be happy. Therefore, husbands dominate wives and wives resist by trying to have their own way.
How can this battle come to an end? Some don’t bother trying; they just fight. Others agree to disagree pleasantly. Some call a truce “for the sake of the kids.” Others put on a happy face and cover up their war. Liz and Larry ended it by divorce. None of these are God’s way.
God brings peace by dealing with causes. If sin causes wars, then the remedy for the wars is His remedy for sin, His Son, Jesus Christ. The Bible says, “God made Him who had no sin (Jesus) to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.”
Liz and Larry could take their irreconcilable differences to the Cross and give them to Jesus. He takes sin on Himself and bears it for us (even though it killed Him) and is then able to give to us His righteousness, a new nature. With it comes “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control”, the kind of stuff that makes marriages work.