We’ve got marriage all wrong, people.
With the recent SCOTUS ruling regarding same-sex marriage, all kinds of fires on all sides of the issue have been blazing around social media. I have too many thoughts and views on it to unpack in a single blog post, so I’m not going to do that now. One argument I’d like to address, however, is, “how dare you blame [homosexuals] for dissolving the sanctity of marriage, when you’re marching to court for your own divorce papers.”
Now before I go any further, allow me to be really explicit here. I’m going to talk about the Bible, I’m going to use scriptures from the New Testament, and I’m going to use these scriptures for my argument. I’m specifically addressing Bible-believing Christians. If you are a Bible-believing Christian, and you care the tiniest bit about why I agree we’re all a bunch of hypocrites, keep reading.
Matthew 19: 1 – 12
When Jesus had finished saying these things, he left Galilee and went into the region of Judea to the other side of the Jordan. Large crowds followed him, and he healed them there. Some Pharisees came to him to test him. They asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?”
“Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”
“Why then,” they asked, “did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away?”
Jesus replied, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.”
The disciples said to him, “If this is the situation between a husband and wife, it is better not to marry.”
Jesus replied, “Not everyone can accept this word, but only those to whom it has been given. For there are eunuchs who were born that way, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by others – and there are those who choose to live like eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. The one who can accept this should accept it.”
First of all, those who are saying Christians have themselves made a mockery of the sanctity of marriage, are right. We have. We’ve been doing so since the time of Moses, when our hearts were hard. And since, we’ve lost the passion to equip and prepare our young people for marriage. Their failure isn’t entirely their fault.
When Brent and I were married, in order to have our ceremony in the church we attended at the time, we were required to have premarital counseling there. This practice in and of itself is not uncommon. However, our premarital counseling was a joke. Even as we were going through it, we questioned what we were expected to accomplish.
We had a discussion on how finances are the number one cause of divorce among couples – but no discussion on how to address or manage finances as a couple. Just a warning. We had a discussion on what we loved about each other, but no discussion on how to nurture our love for one another – or even what it meant to love one another.
Here’s the deal. I broke up with Brent twice while we were dating. I also threatened to break off our engagement. I went to premarital counseling where I made a list of 10 things I “loved” about Brent, and was told to make sure we don’t divorce over finances.
I walked down the aisle and was not at all equipped to be a wife. Not even the littlest bit. And let me tell you, Brent was not at all equipped to be a husband.
The only thing we were equipped for was a party. (the wedding)
Church, we need to equip our young people for marriage. For relationships. For how to stay married, what it means to commit to one another, and what love really is. For how to fight fairly and in love. For how to flee from satan and his mission of marital demise.
When my husband married me, he never could have imagined the hell we’d walk through. He never could have predicted the acts of love he’d have to perform for no other reason than he’s my husband. I never could have prepared for the baggage we’d carry with us for years and have to unpack when it became too heavy to keep lugging around.
Except we could have! We could have imagined and prepared for dealing with and coping through all of it, had we been given the proper counsel, guidance, and support.
I’ve said for years to people I know who are getting married: prepare yourself for the marriage, not the wedding. One is a ceremony that lasts a day, yet it seems to acquire all of our attention. The other is a commitment made for a lifetime, but ends up neglected.
Living together is not how you prepare for marriage. Sleeping together is not how you prepare for marriage. Marrying with the understanding if it doesn’t work out you can just get a divorce, is not preparation for marriage.
From the beginning, as Jesus said, it was God’s intention for married couples to stay married. As a society, we’ve put a lot of emphasis on the ceremony, the dress, the reception, the DJ….but too little on the relationship beyond the pictures and the pretty flowers.
Marriage is hard. Relationships are hard. Two individuals becoming one flesh is incredibly challenging. It should break your heart Christians are getting divorced. Having Affairs. Abandoning vows. Families. It should break your heart marriages are failing. It should break your heart it’s become a mockery to speak of the sanctity of marriage. And it should move our hearts to do something about it.
If we’re not raising our Christian kids to have a relationship with God, if we’re not raising our kids to show them marriages are worth the covenant they were created for, and if we’re not raising our kids to understand “I do” means “forever”, then we’re raising them to fail in their marriages.
Brent and I experienced some full-out grace. We weren’t equipped to be married, and by a miracle of all miracles, we never went to sign on the dotted line in a lawyer’s office to do away with it all. We made vows. Promises. We’ve learned what our relationship means, who we are to one another, how God feels about husbands and wives, and how truly sacred marriage is.
Don’t get married unless you mean it. Don’t think you mean it until you can prove you understand what it means. Seek counsel. Seek guidance. Seek support. Then pray like your future depends on it! Because I’ve got news for you: it does.
Church, let’s move on this and equip our kids for marriage. Let’s arm ourselves with truth and sincerity, trust God to repair our broken hearts and broken relationships, and let’s get out there and put the covenant back between husband and wife.