Monday, May 26, 2008

The Sacred Nature of Marriage

To marry the one person that God intends to share your life with is one of the biggest blessings we can receive. That’s because it is a relationship patterned after Jesus’ love for his bride, the church (a match truly made in heaven described in Ephesians chapter 5). When we model our own marriage after this pattern, there is a deep, unbreakable, unconditional love, trust, and respect between a man and woman, the husband and wife.

But what happens when this pattern isn’t followed? What can happen when the legal commitment and covenant isn’t there?

· Fear of abandonment. It’s easier to leave the one you are ‘committed’ to. Divorce is as easy as one partner leaving the other, with no legal ramifications on the one who leaves. Not only can this be devastating to the adults involved, it is equally and often more devastating to children (even to adult children).

· Disunity. In the marriage covenant, a covenant made in the presence, and with the inclusion, of God, “the man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” Outside of the covenant is an attitude of “he has his life, and I have mine.” Too often, spouses become little more than roommates.

· Lack of trust. Jesus is faithful to his church. In the same way God wants spouses to be faithful to each other. If the sacredness of marriage is not taken seriously, a wife may question her husband’s faithfulness and love for her, and vice-versa, straining, if not breaking, the trust that should be inherent in the marriage.

These are only a few things. As anyone knows, no marriage is perfect. Many marriages are not modeled after Jesus’ love for the church. I’d even venture to say that most marriages don’t even include God.

If a couple has been married for many years, does God really allow do-overs to make the relationship better? I believe the answer to this question is “Yes.” Here are some suggestions:

· Pray. Accept Jesus to be the Lord of your life. If your spouse is willing, pray together as a couple. Ask Jesus to be the third partner in your marriage. He has solutions to problems and situations that you and your spouse cannot see on your own. Model your love for each other on the love he has for the church.

· Find at least one couple who has a long-term, successful marriage. Ask them if they will be willing to mentor you. No one ever said that a couple has to figure out this marriage thing all on their own. Learn from someone who has “been there, done that.”

· If you’re not married, enter into the sacred covenant of marriage. If you are married, renew your vows, this time including God in them. You don’t have to go all-out with a huge ceremony, but make it special. God does not want you to start your relationship in debt, unless it is a debt of love for Him and for each other.

Take advantage of the do-over that God so graciously allows. Invest in your marriage to make it long-lasting, so that you can turn around and mentor another couple in the future. If God uses you to be a part of saving one family, it is worth it.

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