Matthew 19:4-6 (ESV)
4 He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female,
5 and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’?
6 So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”
The last couple of weeks there have been several reminders of these verses for me. I have talked to some couples who have totally ignored these verses while others are living them to the very end. My pastor’s daughter just got married a couple of weekends ago and even though I was unable to attend as I was teaching in a conference the pictures have been precious to look at. The couple is one that has chosen to do it God’s way from the very beginning. What a blessing to know that the testimony of this couple can and will bring glory to God through their marriage. Another reminder was as I was sitting in the hospital with a member of our church whose husband is pretty much at the end of his life. They have been married 59 years and to see the commitment of her as she sits with him, feeling helpless except for the fact she can hold his hand and pray for him. I commended her for her faithfulness and she said she was doing what she wanted to do and what was right to do. We talked about how so many people just run during the difficult days. She was being faithful to the very end because of her love and commitment to God and to her husband.
On the other hand I have talked to so many people who have just quit saying that they do not have any feelings for their spouse any more or maybe they have a desire to make it work but their spouse doesn’t. The marriage is over. One man told me that he kept all of his promises that is why he was calling me on that occasion. I told him he didn’t keep all of them. He didn’t understand. I told him he broke his promise to God when he left his wife. He then changed his statement to “most of his promises.” Did you know the divorce rate in the church was as high as outside the church? It might be a little higher. Why is that? I have heard that outside the church people live together and if it doesn’t work out they just separate. Those couples are not counted. Many couples in the church are living together as well. I have even used that argument myself. I have been convicted of that recently. I am seeing people who have been married for several years, 10, 15, 20, and even more get divorces. Couples who have been faithful in church at some point of their lives, sometimes even to the end of their marriages. What is going on? Why do these divorces happen?
Let me try to answer these questions as simply as possible. I realize that marriage can be complicated. You have so many factors involved in the relationship between a husband and a wife. Just to name a few of the factors:
- Gender Differences
- Extended Families
Obviously there can be many more factors than these listed. This list is just a sampling. You can add anything else you would like to add to that list. See how complicated taking two people and making them into one can be. Now if God says that He is making them into one flesh, doesn’t it only seem fitting for the couple to focus on God to make their marriage work? I have been accused of saying that the only problem couples have is spiritual in nature. That might be true. I say that God is not necessarily the answer to every problem, but He has the answer to every problem.
I think that the main issue is that couples lose focus of the purpose of their marriage. The purpose of their marriage is NOT to make them happy. It is NOT to make them whole. The purpose of their marriage is to bring God glory. Our marriage is to be a representation of the bride of Christ. It is to show the wonderful intimacy of God’s love for man as man shows that sacrificial love for his wife.
My joy comes from being who God wants me to be.
John 15:11 (ESV)
11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.
I must be whole in Christ so that when God multiplies me with Lisa, He multiplies 1×1 to = 1. You see Lisa does not make me whole. Christ makes me whole. Christ makes Lisa whole. Therefore, when we got married and God then could make us one together by multiplying us together. We think our spouse has the responsibility of making us whole. That thought gives our spouse too much responsibility. Actually, it gives our spouse God’s responsibility. We must rely on Christ to make us whole.
OK, so this wasn’t just a short blog today. It is a long lesson on the purpose of marriage. This is my passion. This is why I believe that God has called me to help people to put their marriages back together. Their focus has to return to God. It has to be on whom God wants them to be in the marriage as well as whom He wants to be in their marriage. Let me conclude with this question: Do you realize that your marriage’s purpose is to give God glory? Or do you think that your marriage’s purpose is to make you happy? If it is the latter, your marriage is doomed to fail.