What truly makes people happy? What is God’s design for marriage? What can be done when marriage is not working? What does the bible say about divorce and remarriage?
Breadcom Senior Pastor, Rev. Dr. Nomer Bernardino who authored Psalm Kind of Happiness (available at OMF Literature, Amazon, and Christian and other local bookstores) provided biblical answers to the above questions, condensing multiple counseling sessions into a one-day seminar held at the Union Church of Manila on January 21, 2018 through Salt and Light Ventures, hosted by Ardy and Miriam Roberto and Nelson and Lucy Dy.
Did you know that there are at least seventeen books entitled “The Pursuit of Happiness,” (one of which was made into a film starring Will Smith and his son)?
Pastor Nomer, with his scholarly biblical approach, discussed the reasons why this is a sought-after topic and where people turn to in their pursuit of happiness; the myths about these sources of happiness; the impact of one’s perspective about one’s job and the quality of relationships on happiness; singleness; the missing key to avoiding unfortunate miseries in the world; how to mend broken relationships; keys to physical and spiritual well-being; Happiness Boosters; the Hamburger Model of Happiness. He also discussed the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4:4 ff) of how she could have a chance to experience happiness. [And you can likewise get the answers to these from his book, “Psalm Kind of Happiness.”]
The afternoon was spent discussing the secular and biblical perspectives on marriage, God’s design for marriage and family; divorce and remarriage. When asked what is his stand on divorce, his reply was: “Same as Jesus.” He cited the exception to divorce Jesus cited: that of marital unfaithfulness (Matt 5:31 and Matt 19:9) while warranted by Jesus, is not a legal ground for annulment in the Philippines.
Pastor Nomer cited Matt 1:18-19 wherein Joseph was described as righteous for having in mind to divorce Mary quietly after she was found to be with child while she and Joseph were pledged to be married… implying that divorce was not sin in certain cases (because if divorce were always sin, Joseph could not be considered righteous for planning to divorce Mary, albeit quietly).
He discussed biblical yet different Christian views on divorce and remarriage.
He also discussed the legal issues concerning divorce (which is not permitted in the Philippines) and annulment.
Here are some noteworthy statistics showing that it is natural for the happiness quotient to dip after the wedding but after it reaches rock bottom, the usual trend is that it starts to rise again; the other on US divorce and remarriage statistics show that for those who got remarried, there is a 60% probability that the remarriage will likewise end in divorce.
If you want to reach Pastor Nomer for counseling, you can send him a message through his home church’s website. Please click HERE.
Perhaps if a person has not yet found his/her true joy in the Lord, nothing will satisfy. (S)he will not be satisfied in an imperfect spouse, no different from her-/himself. Everyone will disappoint. The path to joy may be dotted with abundant opportunities to die to selfishness and live in a manner pleasing to the Lord, that is… for holiness. But it is when the person decides to rest in his/her joy in the Lord and fix her eyes on Him that (s)he can be a channel of His (expressed) love/ forgiveness/ compassion/ understanding/ and other ingredients that make a marriage joyful, as God intended it to be. If a person chooses to be miserable or joyful— whether single, married, divorced— changing his/her status may just change only the backdrop but not the lifestyle attitude… so whether one is happy or miserable in one legal status, that disposition is likely to remain even when the legal status changes.
If you are at a crossroads, fully knowing that God’s heart is to absolutely bless you, may you earnestly seek Him and His word for the direction He has for you and may He give you the strength and determination to follow it.