Hazardous to your health

“So guard yourself in your spirit, and do not break faith with the wife of your youth.”
Malachi 2:15

Writer Pat Conroy, after telling his three daughters that he and his wife were divorcing, said he felt like he had “doused my entire family with gasoline and struck a match.” The painful effects resulting from such stress and guilt are not just a temporary problem. Dr. David Larson, a Washington, D.C., psychiatrist and researcher, has observed that all types of cancer strike divorced individuals more frequently than married people. He has also noted that premature death rates are significantly higher among divorced people and that being divorced and a nonsmoker is only slightly less hazardous than staying married and smoking a pack or two a day. In the 1960s, the surgeon general declared cigarettes harmful to the smoker’s health. More recently, researchers have warned us about the dangers of foods high in fat and cholesterol. Perhaps it’s time someone issued a warning about the health risks of marital conflict. Ripping “one flesh” apart is one of the most devastating experiences in life. There must be a better way to deal with conflict.

Just between us . . .

• Is the state of our marriage affecting our health?
• How is divorce hazardous to a person’s spiritual life? (See Malachi 2:13–16.)
• What can we do this week to promote our physical and emotional health?

Dear God, we receive this reminder that the damage done by broken marriages extends to the body, mind, and spirit. We humbly ask for Your help to make divorce “not an option” for our future. Amen.

• Divorce research material from Home with a Heart by Dr. James Dobson (Carol Stream, Ill.: Tyndale House Publishers, 1996).

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This devotional is taken from Night Light for Couples. Copyright © 2000 by James Dobson, Inc. All rights reservedUsed with permission.