Saturday, March 28, 2009

Marriage Is About What We Give It

Marriage is anything but a human invention, and is not primarily the consequence of "falling in love." Unfortunately, that's about as deep as the cultural understanding of marriage gets in the West, and as a result, God's purposes for marriage have been frustrated and public trust in the institution has been eroded to the point of collapse. The Bible tells us God instituted marriage to accomplish several things for humankind from his perspective, and to allow several things from our perspective to be accomplished in our lives.

From God's perspective, marriage was meant to provide the human race with companionship in the mission of life, to be the environment for sexual expression and the conception of new life, and to be a bastion of holiness and learning for the family. To be honest, it's not like fallen man was ever going to do well achieving such noble ends. Nonetheless, noble ends these are, and they need to be front and center in our consideration of the institution.

From our perspective, marriage is meant to provide fundamental emotional comfort, to supply the security of a loyal commitment, and to be a reliable source of provision and care. These too are noble goals, but unfortunately are set before the eyes of the inherently ignoble. Nonetheless, this is the design of marriage, and we need to understand this if we're ever to honor the bond with the gravity it deserves.

Marriage has been romanticized through myth, tale, torrid paperbacks, and the insipid celluloid regurgitations of Hollywood. The emphasis, generally, is on how Prince Charming or Snow White makes their love feel. If these sources are the only input informing one's expectations of marriage, that one will, in all likelihood, make a terrible spouse and find the trouble of maintaining the bond of matrimony more than he or she cares to bear. You see, in the real world God made, marriage is not about what we get out of it, but what we give to it.


Jerald said...

Good post. Just today my 90 year old mother-in-law had lunch with us and her daughter and I heard how she and Earl had first courted nearly 70 years ago. It was really amazing how she recounted the details but more amazing how she remembered the emotions that went along with what was happening. They were together for 56 years before he died.
They protrayed all that you spoke of in your post. It was so good to see them together. Being around them gave a sense of what God had intended for us in marriage.

SLW said...

I wish everyone could see such an example, at least once. I think it would truly help a lot of folk.

jul said...

Ahh, short and sweet. Been thinking about marriage a lot lately having heard news of another divorce. Hate that news! If I could sum up marriage in one word it would be union I think. And true union in God together is beautiful, fulfilling, and productive. I've been thinking that in every marriage there are points where each person stands with a choice of roads, a time when we can choose seperate paths or stay together. When we come to those decisions we don't understand often the implications, because the roads seem not to be far apart, but as time goes one the roads lead in opposite directions and destroy the union, or at least make coming back together difficult. By God's grace he's kept me and mine on the same path even when one or the other of us would have rathered been very far away from the other! But I can honestly say that now we enjoy a very happy and satisfying companionship ( among the other perks of marriage you mentioned!)

Anyway, enough babbling, thanks for the great post!

SLW said...

Hello Jul,
Congrats on the coming arrival. My wife and I have 5 and have been surprised as well!

At those forks you mentioned, it pays to remember what God has said concerning marriage. Faith ultimately is a decision aboout what God has said. How often does the divergence in path represent, one what we say, and the other what God has said.