Love and Marriage

 

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Iíve talked many times about love, mostly in the non-romantic sense. Iíve defined love as a genuine concern for another personís best interests. That is to say you truly want to do the best you can for that person. In this sense we can love our enemies and love our neighbors too. But when we talk about, ďLove and MarriageĒ it seems that definition is missing something. The definition holds up but it doesnít fully convey what we mean in the context.

 

In the context of marriage we usually include feelings of desire, intense emotions, a longing to be near that special person much of the time, and even a desire to prove ourselves acceptable as a mate. Itís likely we are willing to do things for the object of our love that we would be unwilling to do for anyone else. We not only love this person but we also like them, a great deal!

 

The Bible context of marriage includes everything thatís been mentioned so far but it also confines this particular love to a relationship between a man and a woman. It also expects there to be children as a natural consequence of the relationship. The man and woman and their children form a family. That family is the smallest yet most important institution in any society. Consequently whatever is good for the family is good for society. I am speaking in general terms. Conversely, whatever is not good for the family is not good for society. God has established a hierarchy in the family not because some people are more important than others but because He is not a God of chaos but a God of order. God has also sanctioned this special relationship between a man and a woman, which is to say he approves of it and has established rules for it. The relationship is also sanctified, which is to say that it is a Holy relationship. It is God that makes it Holy. The marriage requires consent in the form of a covenant or contract between the man and the woman. God is the author of the covenant and a witness to it. We have already noted that it is restricted to a man and a woman. It also includes commitment to fidelity and loyalty from the moment of the marriage until the death of one of the people involved. Let me summarize what I take from all of this.

*†† Loving your spouse is not optional! We are commanded to love our neighbor and our enemy and also our husband/wife. The thrill may be gone but the obligation is not.

*†† The obligation is a good thing established by the spouses and approved by God. The Ten Commandments tell us to, ďNot bear false witness.Ē When we marry we say things such as: Until death do us part, in sickness and in health, for richer or for poorer. Many of us proudly proclaim our word is our bond, but is it?

*†† Divorce in most cases is an extremely selfish thing. Children are seldom considered seriously in the decision to divorce.

*†† But I donít love him/her anymore! Children need a loving environment. Just two of the many excuses that are made for not keeping the commitment that was made. As I said before, loving your spouse is not an option! And loving your children is not an option.

*†† The grass frequently seems to be greener on the other side. But the grass could be a lot greener on your side if you would put a little work into making it that way.

*†† You must have a license to drive a car or to carry a gun or to sell real estate or to serve as an attorney or whatever. To get such a license you must demonstrate competency such as schooling or experience. Shouldnít the same apply to getting a marriage license? And how about the test part of the licensing? If you canít pass the test you canít get married!

*†† And perhaps marriage isnít the right choice for you anyway. For most people it is but not for all.

(Mat 19:8-12 NIV)Jesus replied, "Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. {9} I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, and marries another woman commits adultery." {10} The disciples said to him, "If this is the situation between a husband and wife, it is better not to marry." {11} Jesus replied, "Not everyone can accept this word, but only those to whom it has been given. {12} For some are eunuchs because they were born that way; others were made that way by men; and others have renounced marriage because of the kingdom of heaven. The one who can accept this should accept it."

(1 Cor 7:7-9 NIV)I wish that all men were as I am. But each man has his own gift from God; one has this gift, another has that. {8} Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I am. {9} But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.

*†† Finally, we often hear that the divorce rate among Christians is no better than the divorce rate among the non-Christians. Some have even claimed that it is actually worse than the divorce rate for atheists and agnostics. That is emphatically not true. It has been said: ďThere are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.Ē The lie about Christian divorce rates is of the third kind, statistics. It is definitely advantageous for a marriage to be grounded in a deep Christian faith by people that practice what they preach.

 

I will be talking more about the actual divorce rate among Christians in the near future. For now I will simply admit that I have propagated the lie about Christian divorce rates along with many other preachers. I feel it my duty then to correct what I have said and show you the truth. I will explain how the statistics are made to lie and why the media really doesnít care.

 

This sermon was probably not for you. But it most likely was for someone you know. That could be family or a friend. Discuss the ideas we explored with them. Especially the idea of basing their marriage on sound Chritian principles.

 

The Beatles made a song titled, We Can Work It Out. The question isnít whether we can work it out. The question is, will we work it out. Will we be winners and heroes or losers and cowards? Ask the children of divorced parents.