Vascular Dementia's Effect on Marriage and Commitment
Pat Robertson, a man I once believed to be a man of God, has finally lost it...his direction, that is. Recently on a 700 Club program, he answered the question of a viewer whose wife has Alzheimer's and he would like to start to date. Mr. Robertson answered:
"I know it sounds cruel, but if he's going to do something, he should divorce her and start all over again, but make sure she has custodial care and someone looking after her."
Mr. Robertson was then asked by the program's host about the Bible and the marriage vow "in sickness and in health, till death do us part." Mr. Robertson's answer was:
"Alzheimer's is a kind of death."
I was truly horrified mortified by his comments! To be sure, he was grappling with all the elements of the situation...but divorce? If you look further into what he was saying, some can justify it by saying he meant that divorce was better than adultery... But then again, I have to say OH...WHEN THIS GENTLEMAN TURNS TO OTHER WOMEN, IS GOD, AT JUDGMENT DAY, GOING TO SAY "WELL DONE. YOU DIDN'T COMMIT ADULTERY...but what about his first commitment to his wife? The promise he broke?
Having vascular dementia, this is a really touchy topic to me. And, having followed the blogs of the care givers and experts on this site, I know that caregivers bear the brunt of the situation most of the time. No one chooses to have dementia. God knows, it is a most frustrating way to live. We live from moment to moment. Yesterday may not exist in our minds...we may have many strange ideas...our sleep habits may be irregular...we may get angry faster...
But, no matter what, people who marry and give a promise of "in sickness and health, till death do us part" trust that their spouse means what they are saying...after all, the vows taken are in the eyes of God. I know for a fact that I meant every word of it and believe my husband does, too. I expect, under these circumstances, that my husband will take this journey by my side, through all the good times and bad. As my condition worsens, I expect that he will attend and defend my worthiness and level of life-=just as I would for him. It's part of the job description.
Why didn't Pat Robertson just tell the gentleman with the wandering needs, to MAN up? Why didn't Mr. Robertson tell the man that life is not always easy or fair? Why didn't he tell the man to turn to GOD for guidance and support-and to contact support groups where he may receive further guidance and support? Why didn't Mr. Robertson zone in on the man's frustration and loneliness...and validate that...rather than giving the man an easy out of the situation...one which breaks the promise he made in good faith to his suffering wife many years before?