As I've noted before, 36.5 percent of single-parent, female-led households live in poverty. The poverty rate for married couples? A mere 6.4 percent. Want to protect children from abuse? An intact, mother-father family is the safest place for a child to live. Want children to be better educated? Again, the intact family is the best place for a kid to be.

It turns out that social justice begins at home.

We can do better. We have done better. But it takes something more than giving your wounded friend a shoulder to cry on. It takes something more than counseling. It takes something more than acceptance and assurances of forgiveness. We've been trying those methods, and yet we press forward, selfishly, toward our own happiness -- refusing to lay down our lives in that space that is most precious to us.

Church discipline might help. Peers and pastors with backbones might help. But at the end of the day the answer lies within the heart of the spouse, with awareness of his or her own brokenness and openness to the eternal truth of the Word. Fallen people living in a fallen world are often desperate for relief from their own choices and the anguish of their broken relationships. They cry out to God and to those closest to them for permission to leave, to break their covenant and seek the joy they feel they deserve.

Except in the narrowest of circumstances, God has already said "No." Do we have the courage to hear that compassionate answer?