Summer of Bad Husbands

Depending on your vantage point, you might look back on the summer of 2004 as the Summer of the Cicadas, or the Summer of Hurricane Charley, or perhaps just the Summer of the Athens Olympics. But Wil Haygood of the Washington Post has another name for the summer of 2004: the Summer of Bad Husbands! If you've flipped on the news at all this summer, perhaps you've noticed it too. Mark Hacking's name appeared splashed across headlines in August with the reports that he shot his wife in her sleep and then disposed of his beloved in a Utah landfill. Subsequent investigation found Hacking entangled in a super-sized web of deceit, including a phony story about his acceptance into medical school -- a story that he had his wife, family, and friends all believing. Meanwhile, we've heard ad nauseam about the Scott Peterson trial this summer -- the phone conversations with mistress Amber Frey days after pregnant wife Laci's disappearance, his break for freedom. And we've seen more than enough of the Kobe Bryant saga with his repeated line of defense: Yes, he cheated on his wife; no, he's not a rapist. And then in less violent, but certainly no less scandalous news, there's been New Jersey Governor Jim McGreevey's resignation. While gay activists looked on with pride at the governor's announcement, "I am a gay American," McGreevey's wife stood next to him with the dazed look of a woman twice betrayed. One can only imagine the emotional fallout for his two daughters. While trend-spotters can find a trend in just about anything, the Post's assessment of the pattern of events is intriguing. Buried halfway into Haygood's article is a priceless nugget, a quote from David Conn, former Los Angeles prosecutor, famed for prosecuting the notorious Menendez brothers. His take on the summer events: "I think it's just the loss of family values," Conn says. "It's the narcissism of our age, of people thinking only of themselves -- not even of their family. When you lose those values of morality, you suddenly have no footing. And I think that's when these people think there's no problem with doing evil." Exactly. While there are certainly varying degrees of evil, it is the bottom line in every one of these bad husband headlines. And though we hate to be talking about these events at all, in this age of relativism and anything-goes, it's good to hear somebody calling evil -- from Hacking to McGreevey -- by its rightful name. Conn also hits the mark in seeing these trends as a sign of our narcissistic culture. Narcissism is at the heart of the erosion of marriage that we've seen in this country. Whether it's the no-fault divorce laws or the swelling movement to legalize same-sex "marriage," the me-first mentality bulldozes right over the most vulnerable stake-holders in marriage, the children. What better reminder of what's up for grabs in weakening views of marriage than the unborn child of Laci Peterson or the devastated children of Governor McGreevey. So maybe the Summer of Bad Husbands should come as a wake-up call to America. Marriage in this country needs a biblical makeover, one where "husband" becomes synonymous with the kind of selfless love of Christ -- our ultimate model. For further reading and information: Wil Haygood, "The Man of Your Nightmares: When Good Husbands Go Bad," Washington Post, 24 August 2004, C01. BreakPoint Commentary No. 040708, "Real Romance: What Marriage Should Be." Marcia Segelstein, "Intentional Marriage," BreakPoint Online, 16 June 2003. "Intimate Allies" -- Dr. Dan Allender, professor of counseling and president of Mars Hill Graduate School in Bothell, Washington, travels and speaks regularly on marriage, sexual abuse recovery, love and forgiveness, worship, and other related topics. In this "BreakPoint This Week" interview, he discusses topics from his book, Intimate Allies, coauthored with Dr. Tremper Longman. Together they host Intimate Allies seminars on marriage. Michael McManus, Marriage Savers (Word Publishing, 1995). Charles Colson and Nancy Pearcey, The Problem of Evil (Tyndale, 1999).


Chuck Colson


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