Chris Pratt is separating from his wife of 8 years, Anna Faris. It is sad, but so common with celebrities. He announced it on Facebook.
Some of the commenters on this Facebook post went down the “how can you be a Christian” road, and you can hear their tut-tuts in every keystroke. Then again, commenters on a celebrity social media post are–let’s just say they’re a certain kind of people.
Yet many Christians who read this headline probably wonder if they really “tried hard” or are they simply famous people doing what famous people do. Is it even possible to claim Christ and be an A-list Hollywood star? I don’t know about all that, having never been famous.
So this “Christian,” Chris Pratt, is legally separating from his wife. Celebrity or no, how should Christians react to a brother or sister in Christ separating from a spouse?
We know that divorce is something Christ “hated.” We know that many Christian denominations and traditions forbid divorce, or forbid those who are divorced or remarried from serving in leadership. But what about separation?
It’s actually the Christian thing to do.
Juli Slattery wrote in Christianity Today that in “a therapeutic separation, entered into with the help of wise counsel, the couple hopes for a restoration of the marriage rather than dissolution.” Focus on the Family cited Dr. Gary Chapman’s book Hope for the Separated. Though the ministry generally advises against separation, “sometimes it becomes essential as a step of survival and an act of love.”
Dr. David B. Hawkins asked “can a separation be healthy for a struggling marriage?” in a Crosswalk.com blog post.
A temporary, time-limited separation can be a healthy process if conducted with clear and appropriate guidelines. But, both must adhere to those guidelines.
All of these ministries emphasize the fact that a separation–even a legal one–can be therapeutic if it’s focused on restoration.
Although, as Fox News noted, legal separation can be a precursor to a divorce filing, it doesn’t mean divorce is imminent.
The Facebook post is likely a response to the celebrity media tsunami of two popular actors splitting. It’s unlikely anyone will honor Pratt and Faris’ wish “to keep this situation as private as possible moving forward.” Whatever happens will happen under the Kleig lights of intense speculation, including lots of Christians in the peanut gallery giving unsought advice.
As a Christian (and I for one believe Pratt’s declaration of faith), Pratt is doing the right thing in separating when the marriage reaches a point where reconciliation must be achieved through God’s grace and their desire to please Him over themselves. We should pray for the couple like any other we see in church or in town.
In an aside, I have seen so many couples in churches go through troubles only to be condemned, crushed, and lectured by so-called church leaders (and I’m not just referring to pastors–in fact, I’m mostly referring to lay leaders). Community support is one of the keys to reconciliation, and Christian couples probably get less than unchurched couples who seek advice on barstools.
The “holier than thou” perfume stinks to high heaven.
Stomping on Pratt’s faith serves nobody’s purpose (not in Heaven anyway). All it does is highlight why the church in America is so much like the world.