Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Outbreak (04/07/11)
- TITLE: Is Divorce Contagious?
By Gwen Plauche
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Just like an outbreak of chickenpox when you have a house full of toddlers, divorce seems to be breaking out in circles of close knit friends. Come to think of it, engagements equally outbreak in groups of close friends. Just imagine you are sitting at a dinner with friends. One of the couples breaks the news that they are getting a divorce. Gasping for air, you cannot believe it has hit so close to home and you naturally start to examine your own relationship, realizing that if they can’t make it, how can you? An outbreak is starting. Checking through my brain, I tried to convince myself that the last few decisions I had made were decisions I chose to make, not decisions made because of an outbreak.
This sent my mind whirling around – who and what am I allowing to influence my daily decisions? In this social networking world we live in, I am now in touch with people that claim they went to high school with me oh so many years ago and we share posts and chat about life. I read comments and blogs by people I respect and watch from a leadership perspective. Social media aside, advertising is always competing for my attention, trying to teach me the way in which I should go. Television and movies are another influence in my world, and in the world of most of the people I know. Sitcoms and reality shows visually show the world what “real life” is like. Even though these shows are watched for entertainment purposes, the results of constantly listening to these influences can be devastating. My husband and I are always amazed at how these shows typically portray the normal, one marriage home as odd and unusual, father figures as idiots, kids as always rebellious and divorce as expected.
To escape these contagious influences do we unplug the computer and the television? I believe the real solution is to establish a clear plumb line. Plumb lines are used by carpenters as a constant reference as to what is truly straight vertically. In our lives we either make a mark with a plumb line as to what we believe and constantly refer back to it or we tend to believe anything we see, read and hear, falling prey to outbreaks. A carpenter looks at a plumb line when hanging wallpaper. If the edge of the paper does not line up with the plumb line, it gets adjusted before becoming part of the finished project. If one sheet of wallpaper goes up not in line with the plumb line, the rest of the wall will be askew. The strength of a project (or marriage) comes from carefully checking what is heard or seen and quickly dismissing or adjusting those items that do not line up. Scripture even refers several times to plumb lines, such as in Isaiah 28:16-17 (The Message) … A trusting life won't topple. I'll make justice the measuring stick and righteousness the plumb line for the building.
Let’s return to the opening question, “Is divorce contagious?” Through the influence of this world, the answer is most likely yes. The best immunization to protect from this contagious outbreak is to establish a very clear plumb line that supports a strong and lasting marriage and keep it defined by quickly dismissing anything that does not line up. You will be on your way to building a strong marriage that will not topple when faced with an outbreak.
The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.
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