“Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” (Matthew 19:4-6 NKJV)
Something’s going to happen this year that’s going to upset the norms of what we call “traditional marriage.” There will be a court ruling, or a law proposed, or a movement started that gets Christians upset because traditional marriage will be under attack. There are a couple of truths we’ll need to face. Truth number 1: We live in a world/country where traditional Christian values are no longer accepted, and that shows up in the area of marriage as well as other areas of life. Truth number 2: Christians haven’t been doing such a good job of promoting traditional Christian marriage when you realize that the divorce rate among Christians is similar to the world at large. While we moan and wail about how the world has changed its understanding of marriage, we need to recognize that while we say we support traditional marriage, the high divorce rate among church members belies our words. Yes, some divorces need to happen because of issues like abuse, or, perhaps, cheating. But every failed marriage among Christians is a reminder that we are failing to recognize the value of Jesus’s words here.
Marriage has been on my mind as we prepared for my daughter’s wedding recently. I had the privilege of performing the ceremony, and I used these time-honored words in the service. I believe that God brought my daughter and her husband together. I believe they will stay together because they understand that marriage isn’t a 50/50 proposition, but a 100/100 proposition. If we want to show the world God’s plan for marriage, we need to recognize that we have the responsibility to establish marriages, families, that are built on the love of God. We do that when we recognize the gifts and talents of our partners. There are some things I do better than my wife. There are more things that she does better than me. On those things I do better, I take the lead. On those things she does better, she takes the lead. We both forgive each other a lot. (OK, she has to forgive a lot more than I do.) We mutually submit to each other knowing that God has gifted us in different ways. And, we continue to love each other through everything. Obviously, we aren’t going to solve the marriage problems in one short devotional, but maybe we can learn to stop complaining about the world destroying marriage when we in the church ain’t doing such a good job with it either.
Oh Lord, You ordained marriage. As Your followers, we want things to be done Your way. Help Your people to be good examples of Your plan for marriage. Remind us that we bring Your redemption to the world through love, and not through condemnation.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.