(Most of what follows has appeared already on a marriage forum where I have posted, but for the sake of this blog, I’m updating and adding. This is the first of a three-part series; here are the links to part 2 and part 3)
I believe that there is a bad teaching about marriage and relationships that is popularly expressed, that even sounds ‘holy’, but is a crock. The thought has been expressed that, ultimately, our spouse is not responsible for our joy, our happiness. And, yes, that is true, as long as you realize that you can’t be a “co-dependent” drudge who gets your life from another. After all, you stand before God on your own two legs, not someone else’s.
However, the popularly held idea is, in marriage, we are to find our happiness in God, and that we aren’t to look for happiness with another. I realize that this seems to sound ‘holy’ and ‘spiritual’, but as I’ve pondered this, I’ve come to the conclusion that this is passing the buck, the spiritual version of punting.
Sounding pious is, oh so, easy to do, isn’t it? Mouth a few Christian shibboleths, and suddenly you’re another saint dipped in alabaster. For example, when a church is faced with the need to make a decision, someone may stand and say something like, “If the Lord does not establish the house, they labor in vain that build it.” A second stands and says, “Amen, brother! We’ve got to pray and seek the mind of the Lord. We don’t want to work in the flesh.” I’m sorry, but does the mind of the Lord truly care about whether the new carpet in the fellowship hall is Teal or Royal Marine?
We know that God instituted marriage. When making all of creation, at the end of each day, God said, “It is good.” But when He created Adam, He realized that this creation was not complete. Instead, after creating Adam, He said that it is not good for man to dwell alone and created the perfect complement for him. And when Adam and Eve were joined by God, they were “one flesh.” And while not recorded in Genesis, I think we can agree that God said His final, “It is good.” Since the first couple up until today, we say and fervently hope that “what God has joined together, let no man put asunder.” God created marriage, “and it was good.”
But! (You knew there had to be a “but”, didn’t you?)
Now it seems that there is some dispute as to just how “good” marriage is. If you listen to some writers, you can get the idea that the wedding day is not a day of rejoicing but a day for girding of loins for battle. After all, they tell us, “God didn’t give us marriage to make us happy, but to make us holy. God is more concerned with your soul than with your happiness.”
So when the preacher says, “I now pronounce you husband and wife,” instead of rejoicing on the part of bride and groom, each should thinking, “Now, the real battle begins. Now I take up my cross and follow Christ to Calvary.”
Yeah, that’s good theology.
More to follow…….