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Marriage on the Rocks in Spain

A cultural snapshot by Phil, RMM worker in Spain

By any analysis, marriage is on the rocks in Spain. At seventy-five percent, the divorce rate here is one of the highest in Europe. This means that almost three out of four marriages will eventually end up in divorce. Apparently, many divorces are initiated in the few months following the summer vacations. It seems couples spend more time with each other since they are not out working but vacationing and discover that they are incompatible! The Italian press are reporting that even King Juan Carlos I and Queen Sofía could be about to announce their divorce. Juan Carlos quietly abdicated the throne this summer amid corruption scandals associated with his family in favor of his son, Felipe, who had escaped being tarnished by what had happened. Sources from within the royal household have reported that the former King and Queen have for a long time lived in completely separate wings of the Zarzuela Palace and only communicate via their secretaries. The reason for this appears to be Juan Carlos' string of extramarital affairs over the years. Queen Sofía's biography claims that the King has been involved with over one thousand five hundred women.

"...the Lord had led them through all these struggles, helped them resolve their problems, enabled them to admit their mistakes, and brought them through to a strong, settled marriage in Christ. It was an impressive testimony..."Against this rather depressing backcloth, it was encouraging recently to see an evangelical couple take a rather different path than that which their culture would have had them take. To celebrate their twenty-fifth wedding anniversary they asked to reaffirm their marriage vows in church on a Sunday morning. Due to legal constraints at the time, they had had to marry in a Catholic Church, so now they wished to reaffirm their marriage in an evangelical church. During their sharing prior to reaffirming their vows, they shared some of their struggles that they had had to work through. This included a three month separation which had been a particularly trying time for them. It seems the husband had got caught up with his business and totally neglected his wife and family life. Their testimony was that the Lord had led them through all these struggles, helped them resolve their problems, enabled them to admit their mistakes, and brought them through to a strong, settled marriage in Christ. It was an impressive testimony to Christ's redeeming work that spoke particularly to the struggles of life in modern Spanish culture. Friends of the couple, who are not yet believers, remarked how they enjoyed the service and meeting with people over a special meal after the ceremony.

Thank you for your prayers for the church in Spain, that there would be many more couples like this one, who would hold fast to Jesus and to each other in strong and faithful marriages.