Store up for yourselves treasures in Heaven
where moth and rust cannot destroy and thieves cannot break in and steal

Friday, January 10, 2014

Friday's Thoughts on Marriage

The 4th in a series:

If you're kind to me, I'll be kind to you.” I heard that today, from a woman talking to her husband. Makes sense – right? Why would anyone be kind to someone who is not kind back? Well, maybe because that is the type of love that Jesus demonstrated for us and then He said, “Follow Me.” Be like Me. Do in your relationships what I did in My relationships.

Something atheists have shown me is that a radical change has taken place in our culture. Atheists tell us that monogamy isn't natural. Any marriage that is based upon monogamy is forcing an unnatural relationship upon us. That's what many of them say. Guess what? They're right. 

Faithful, committed monogamy isn't natural.

We are naturally takers and schemers and adulterers and liars and self-obsessed and self-centred, willing to sacrifice those we claim to love in order to satisfy our lusts. That's why thinking that you've found “the right one,” or that you've found your “soul mate,” is most often, at best, wishful thinking. The chances of really knowing who you've married, at the time of your marriage, is slim to none.

Modern thinking and every online dating site in existence has led us to believe that if we look hard enough, we can actually find “the right person.” The fact is we almost never marry the right person. Why? Because marriage itself changes people. The person who you marry will not be the person who you are married to a few months or years down the road. As well, we often misread the person in front of us. Or perhaps more correctly, we see what we want to see. That is why a person who seems really stable during dating becomes deadly boring later in life. The person who is outgoing and friendly turns out to be down right flirtatious. The person who is carefree and fun loving turns out to be reckless and undependable. We come to despise the things we once thought we admired and loved. And yet, we promised God that we would love this person – until the death of one of us ends the relationship.

That is what makes a Biblical marriage between two committed followers of Jesus so radical and counter cultural and light-years better than any possible secular marriage. Biblical marriage is a commitment to love the person with whom you are living – Period! It's really not about the relationship with your spouse, but your relationship with God. I will make a profound statement here, with absolute confidence. 

When two married people put their relationship with Jesus first (I'll explain in later posts what that means), their marriage will not and indeed cannot fail to become a profound, wonderful, life enhancing journey.

But what a dilemma! We simply cannot know ahead of time how our spouse will change. That's why traditional marriage vows don't say, “I love you,” but, “I WILL love you, through better or worse, richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, till death do us part.”

Now, there are some things that we must avoid at all cost when choosing a mate. A Christian should never ever marry an atheist or someone of another faith. Actually, unless you are a Christian in name only, you would never compromise your relationship with Jesus by being connected to someone who thinks your most important relationship is a farce. As well, you should never marry an addict or an abusive person expecting / hoping that your love will cause that person to change. That's just prideful delusional thinking. It's similar to marrying someone who has been married before and thinking that even though s/he treated former spouses poorly, s/he will treat you wonderful. Again, that's your pride creating delusional thinking. On the other hand, know for a fact that the person who seems so perfect on your wedding day may change a great deal, even by the time you finish your honeymoon. That's because any two people, even those who are mature Christians are and will remain broken by their sinful nature. That means that no matter how much they've grown, they are still profoundly selfish and self-centred. Immature, self-obsessed people do not change for the better just because they've taken part in some ceremony. Sooner or later the pretending will end. Remember, a major task of life in general and dating specifically is to hide who we really are.

That is why any marriage that has endured and flourished and grown into something beautiful will have done so because both partners have come to know the true meaning of love and commitment. This is something that can only be learned by an intimate, healed, forgiven and obedient relationship with Jesus.

More on this next Friday.

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