Making Sense of Marriage - A
2 July, 2012
Making Sense of Marriage - A
Nearly one and a half centuries ago Mark Twain recognized the God-given apportioning of marriage when he observed:
People talk about beautiful friendships between two persons of the same sex. What is the best of that sort, as compared with the friendship of man and wife, where the best impulses and highest ideals of both are the same. There is no place for comparison between the two friendships; the one is earthly, the other divine.
The following thoughts are written with some caveats attached to them, that this article does not deceive the reader to fulfil intentions it does not attempt to.
- This series is not about marriage counselling nor does it make any claims towards this goal, although as understanding is gained relational health may ensue.
- Largely the Biblical texts for this series are located from the Old Testament. These references are the clear foundations for the New Testament teachings on marriage. This is not to say that Jesus and the Apostle Paul have nothing to add to the topic but rather that the volume of New Testament material warrants its own forum.
Marriage is under attack
A good marriage would be between a blind wife and a deaf husband. ~ Michel de Montaigne
Marriages are made in heaven but are attacked from hell.
Both the above propositions accurately reflect the reality of marriage since Eden.
A poor joke goes like this:
What is the most dangerous cake a man can eat? - A wedding cake.
Poor humour? - Yes! Representative of contemporary thinking and behaviour? - Yes!
It is satan's continual operation to reverse/undo the good that God has created. Satan's undying malevolence is to destroy what good God has done.
Marriage is good, it is of God; it is a conduit for His divine intentions to pour His favor across His sons and daughters.
When marriages fracture or break, satan is simply robbing God's good from people's lives, both in this generation and ensuing ones. Satan seeks without relent and with significant success to turn the blessings of God into the burdens of men. Deceitfully he then points the finger to God so that mankind passes the blame for the burdens upon He who is only and truly love. This is the clearest and most accurate explanation for why the divorce rate still hovers at around or over 50% for non-Christians but fortunately for those of sincere Christian devotion the reported rate hovers around 38% as measured recently in the United States by Professor Bradley Wright from the University of Connecticut.
It MUST be noted that any struggle of flesh and blood is attributed as physical/visible evidence of spiritual assaults (and this so often arises in the marriage context). All relational difficulties are driven by the evil one. He is a murderer and wants to kill relationships as well as anything else that has life. Jesus is very loud about this in His interchanges with the Pharisees (see John 8:42-47).
For our struggle is not against flesh or blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. (Ephesians 6:12)
Any good, lasting, healthy and strong marriage is from the Lord, while any burdened, broken and weak marriage is seeded from satan. Please note this is not to deny personal responsibility within marriage, but simply to indicate the source and flow of the human responses that either energize a marriage or enervate it.
The devil's playground for relational death within a marriage has one swing in it, and one see-saw:
- the swing is called 'faultfinding' and
- the see-saw is named absence
God's intentions for marriage
God always has and always will have good intentions for marriage. For those He unites together His intentions remain the same. They are in the Biblical sequence:
- To bless the husband (now that is a controversial one)
- To create union
- For the generational transmission of righteousness.
It is my belief that very little has been written about points 1 and 3 although there is strong Biblical witness for both. Across this series God's intentions for marriage will be expanded.
Marriage has been maligned and jettisoned amidst a furore from failure, sexual anarchy and proud personal "determinationism" driven from the pits of sulfur.
This series will add a distinct freshness to time-honored Christian teaching and correctives to poor worldly thinking about marriage and its assaults.
There is no estate to which satan is more opposed than marriage. ~ Martin Luther