Several years ago, while attending the Society of Exploration Geophysicists Annual Meeting, I had an opportunity to catch up with an old friend I had worked with in Alaska. We hadn’t made a connection in quite some time, but Dean is the kind of friend you can easily pick up the conversation with no matter how long it’s been between visits. This salt-of-the-earth fellow shocked me when he announced that he was divorced and remarried since we talked last. As we compared notes about other co-workers from our Alaska days, Dean observed, “I think you are the only one who is still married to his first wife. How does it feel to be a dinosaur?” I wasn’t sure what to say. I didn’t want to make light of his situation and the pain involved, but all I could say was the first honest thought that came to my mind, “It feels good.”
Yes, it feels good. It feels good to keep your promise. Again, not to ignore or minimize the circumstances and pain of divorce, but it feels good to be a dinosaur, if that is what keeping your promise is called. I am also probably the happiest dinosaur you know. But the happy part is a long story for another time.
A promise is a powerful thing. I hate to break a promise. I have and it hurts. Why is breaking a promise so painful? As Michael Card observes in his book Immanuel: Reflections on the Life of Christ, when you make a promise you give away a part of yourself. Something as simple as “I’ll be there at 3 o’clock to pick you up” gives a part of yourself to another person. And something as serious as “I promise to love you for the rest of our lives” gives yourself completely to another person. That is why divorce is so painful. In marriage, you are giving yourself to another person. In divorce, you have lost something you will never get back. You have lost a part of yourself. God’s intention in marriage is to give yourselves away to each other and to never get it back. May I encourage you? Keep your promise.