The Reason Mary And Joseph Almost Broke Up

Mary and Joseph are the New Testament power couple, though if you read the story more closely, Mary and the Immaculate Conception are the real power couple. Joseph is just kind of hanging out there, being a pretty good dude. Nothing super special about him in the common mythos, except that he stuck around to raise Mary's child, knowing it wasn't his own. No, this was God's baby. The Holy Spirit had blessed Mary with a serious honor. Christians believe that from that point forward, she was destined to be the mother of the Son of God, who is also himself God.

Though the religious fame Mary and Joseph share is clearly disproportional, with Mary attracting profound devotion in some parts of the world while Joseph is mostly remembered in the Nativity scene, they both are responsible for raising the Christian Messiah to be a pretty upstanding person. But here's the thing: Joseph almost left the picture before Joshua ben Joseph (also known as Jesus) was born.

Here's why the couple almost split

It turns out that Joseph may not have been as cool with Mary's pregnancy — albeit Divine — as some people might believe. You have to remember that history as a whole has been pretty misogynistic, and the Biblical tales are no exception. In Mary and Joseph's time, marrying a virgin was about the only way to know that your children were your children, what with there being a significant lack of paternity tests.

Mary returns from a visit with her cousin, sporting a new baby bump. But, it's okay, right? After all, she's telling Joseph that this is God's baby. Not only does Joseph have the right to be suspicious, Mary is now considered, by the times (not by us), to be impure. The Bible corroborates this with its many "only sleep with your husband" lines. Including that a woman who has sex before marriage should be stoned to death, as laid out in Deuteronomy 22:21.

Joseph, as the Gospel of Matthew (1:19) recalls, took all of these factors into account and decided to leave Mary without making a public fuss, but God sent an angel to visit Joseph's dreams as reassurance that this was indeed God's will, and that she had conceived by the Holy Spirit. Which is good for Mary and Jesus, since Joseph played a major role in protecting Mary before the baby was born. Apparently, angels make pretty good couple's counselors.