Do love and marriage go together? I believe that is the hope, dream, and assumption of most people when they get married. They are in love and desire a loving marriage. Most people want a “happily ever after” marriage. That is what Irv and I wanted. However, we had no idea what it would require from each of us to keep the dream alive. Healthy marriages require time, effort, work, commitment, sacrifice, kindness, consideration and patience –just for starters. Beyond all these a biblical attitude towards God’s gift of marriage is needed. Marriage is not to be taken lightly. Marriage is a holy commitment not just between a man and woman, but also before God and witnesses. Marriage is not just about the two who are getting married. It is also a model of Christ and the Church. Marriage is a beautiful and sacred thing.
What does it mean to honor marriage? Honoring marriage means honoring God’s design for marriage as well as honoring the person we are married to. God gave us a blueprint for marriage in His word. He is the author and creator of marriage. It just makes sense to follow His Book of instructions. These instructions are neither optional nor fluid. They are quite literally engraved in stone in God’s own hand. Marriage is to be between one man and one woman until death parts them. There is to be mutual love and respect and even submission. When we follow God’s plan, things work well. Have you ever tried to assemble something without following the enclosed instructions? Perhaps we think that we’ve got this. How hard can it actually be? We are smart and if we just jump into it, we can save the time of reading the instructions. After all, if we get into trouble, we can always go back and read the directions later. Really!! It is true that we can read God’s instruction Manual anytime, but we can save ourselves a whole lot of misery by obeying God’s Word in the first place rather than doing things our own way.
Honoring marriage also means honoring the marriage bed. “Marriage is to be held in honor among all, and the marriage bed is to be undefiled; for fornicators and adulterers God will judge.” Hebrews 13:4 (NASB) God created marriage and sex to go together . . . exclusively. Though our current culture supports casual sex, successive sexual relationships, and living together prior to marriage, God does not. There is significant research concerning the negative impact of premarital and extra marital sex on individual and relational wellness. Honoring the marriage bed means sexual purity and faithfulness prior to marriage as well as after marriage.
Marriage is a holy covenant as opposed to a contract. It is not just a piece of paper to be torn up and thrown away if things don’t work. Marriage is holy and those who enter into it are precious creations of God who must take their commitment seriously.
Honoring marriage also means honoring our spouse. We must treat each other with kindness, consideration and respect. People tend to respond well when we value them. Treating our spouse with honor and respect inspires them to want to treat us the same way. Honoring marriage inspires us to honor our spouse and honoring our spouse honors our marriage. In the process we also honor God as serve Him as a worthy example of Christ and the Church.
Dr. Irv and I will celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary this summer. I was recently looking at our wedding photos and though we were young, thin, starry eyed and somewhat good looking (?), one word comes immediately to mind. Clueless!! We had no idea what we were getting into. We have experienced many joys and happy times together, as well as trials and tribulations, disagreements and conflicts. We have not always honored each other or the gift of marriage. But praise the Lord; we have toughed it out together.
Holding marriage in high regard,
Through it all, through it all, I’ve learned to trust in Jesus, I’ve learned to trust in God. (Lyrics by André Crouch.)