My wife just left me. She was my best friend. The love of my life. Those were the painful words spoken to me recently by an acquaintance. I knew this man viewed his marriage commitment as one for life; his wife didn’t share his perspective. His raw devastation touched me deeply. I’m aware of other marriages in trouble. But I’m also aware of a lot more who have weathered the inevitable storms accompanying that most unique calling of “being one flesh” with another person.
We’ve all heard the statistics: half of marriages in our society end in divorce and Christian marriages fare no better. Do you know recent research has proven those “facts” to be false? Turns out, most marriages, about 70%, do not end in divorce and the divorce rate for regular church goers is much less than that. That is good news. News that needs to be heralded….
The more marriage is viewed as irrelevant, the less likely we’re apt to stand for its virtues. Eventually, the ideals marriage encompass will become distorted, particularly in a culture increasingly characterized by narcissism. In fact, have you heard the latest trend in marriage? Sologamy—marrying oneself. People are making public vows to be in love with themselves for the rest of their rugged individualistic lives. What? Wedding albums filled with double exposures? Hardly a mindset on which to build a thriving society.
Contrary to what we hear, marriage matters. According to Scripture, it carries a “great mystery.” God designed the love, sacrifice and unity in marriage to reflect the inestimable relationship between Christ and the church (Ephesians 5:32). Real marriage models the beauty that lies in dying to self, just as Jesus died for the body. It exposes the vacant promises of life centered on my wants, my needs, my desires. It teaches us to press through immediate gratification for something larger than self.
So these days I’ve been praying for the and in marriages to be strengthened. For Gary and Terry, Rich and Ann, Marty and Lisa….Jesus is counting on us to show the world what the love it craves really looks like. If you are married, pray you and your spouse will grow more and more in love. May you have the courage to let no one—including your self—separate what God has joined together.