Oh... THAT'S How You Took It?
As I wrote What God Has Joined Together, I knew I was going to receive criticism. The world is quick to root for the demise of a marriage, and the respect once given for a couple's marital longevity decreases on a daily basis. Frankly, people don't honor marriage anymore. The fight to stay married isn't glorified, either. In fact, over the weekend I was especially perturbed by a Facebook video that showed a popular speaker telling his viewers that God approves divorce if your spouse lies. (Uuuuummm... What scripture is that?) Everyone seems to want to walk away, so I knew that when I presented the story of a marriage traumatized by infidelity that survived by the grace of God, everyone wasn't going to be happy. I didn't, however, expect the flood of angry emails (and a few unfavorable reviews) that came after the book release.
Without going into too much detail about the book (of course, I want you to read it for yourself. If you haven't already, you can start with the first three chapters.), I'll share with you that the main character's husband cheated on her throughout their marriage, and she didn't divorce him. Boy, that made A LOT of people angry. (Silly me. I braced myself for the backlash I thought I'd get over the cursing grandmother. How foolish of me.) Somehow some readers interpreted the story as propaganda for the promotion of the religious abuse of women. Really?!!! In the past few weeks I've been called ignorant, a woman-hating bigot, a disgrace to the God I claim to serve, and a low self-esteem having, poor excuse of a woman who makes excuses for adultery. Whoa!
The anger is because somehow some readers believe that the message of the book is that a woman should stay in her marriage no matter what. That's simply not the case. Throughout the book the main character knew she had every right to leave. However, there were other factors involved that influenced her decision to stay, and that decision didn't come easy.
The main message of the book is forgiveness, and a lot of readers received it entirely. (Thank you for those lovely emails and reviews, too. They're GREATLY appreciated.) Although divorce is permissible in the case of infidelity, that doesn't mean it's the automatic resolution. There are some couples who decide to work though the pain and heartbreak and remain married. Their story is what I set out to share, and to God be all the glory.