Marriage Matters, No Matter What

Tis' the season for summertime weddings. Though it's hot, humid, and miserable here in the south, many still choose this time of year to tie the knot. From the piano/organ bench or behind a choir railing, I've witnessed countless numbers of couples over many years vow to one another, "I do, til death do us part." 

Rick and I celebrated 35 years of marriage earlier this year. Since we live in South Carolina, we chose not to get married in the summertime. Thinking winter would be a much more pleasant time of year to marry, we chose February. Though it was not a sweltering SC day, the temperature was still in the 80's.

For better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, we promised to love one another 'til death do us part. We went into marriage with a marriage matters, no matter what mindset, and God has honored and blessed our vows as we have sought to live as one for Him. We've had our share of struggles and disappointments for sure, but praise God He has seen us through. Our love for one another has deepened with each year, and I cannot imagine life without my guy. 

Lately though, Rick and I have felt as if we've been given tickets for front row seats to an all-out assault on the institution of marriage by the enemy - the one seeking to steal, kill, and destroy anything that brings honor and glory to our Lord, Jesus Christ. The enemy has ravaged a significant number of marriages of people we know and love. Some have been couple friends we've served alongside in ministry.

Many of these friendships developed during our dating years as we were being discipled together under the same biblical teaching. We were bridesmaids and groomsmen in each other's weddings. We all went through a study called God's Blueprint for Biblical Marriage by Dick Belcher. We stayed up late at each others homes talking and laughing so hard we could hardly breathe. We taught the truth of God's Word to young people, college students, and adults. We cried together, worshiped together, ministered together, and grew in our faith together. We did life - together.

What happened?

Some moved on to other places, joined other churches, began serving in ministry elsewhere. Life happens, and change is a given. Though we lost touch with some and only saw others on occasion, God continued to use us in ministry in the church where we began our life together. It's where we still serve today.

Many of these recent break-ups have been with couples married for over 20 years. Their children are grown, or almost grown, and, in most cases, the husbands chose to walk away from the life they had built together and move on to someone else. Others haven't been married as long, but have suffered serious heartache and destruction with young children still at home.

The enemy despises the sacredness of marriage, and he is attacking its beauty with a vengeance. No marriage is exempt from enemy attacks, so we must be prepared to fight for what truly matters. Over the last several years, I've walked the path of divorce with a number of heart-broken wives who have fought to keep their sacred vows only to be beaten up by the enemy and left alone. As they've graced my home for Bible study, searching for answers, I've listened to their stories, wept along with them over what's been broken and torn apart, but I have also rejoiced with them as God continues to heal, reclaim, and restore their hearts. God is a covenant God. His design for a one man, one woman marriage covenant is serious business.

Why does marriage matter?

Marriage is God's design. (Genesis 2:18-25)

The first and most sacred union initiated and ordained by God was between Adam and Eve. God designed marriage between a man and a woman with clear boundaries for our protection and benefit, and for His glory.

Marriage is a mirror. (Ephesians 5:22-33)

Marriage built on God's truth reflects His character - holy, devoted, and unblemished. Marriage between a man and a woman, firmly planted on the foundation of Christ, mirrors the union and oneness of the relationship between the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

Marriage is a shadow. (Revelation 21, 22:17)

Marriage on earth is a silhouette of what's to come between Christ (the Bridegroom) and the Church (His Bride) when we're united with Him in all of His glory.

Marriage is a sacred covenant. (Hebrews 13:4)

Marriage vows spoken out loud in the presence of God and witnesses are not to be taken lightly. Marriage is an honorable institution and must be held as so by all.

Marriage matters, no matter what.

From the time we're introduced to fairy tales, most of us dream of having the perfect wedding, the perfect marriage, and the perfect family. Aside from Christ, nothing on this earth is perfect.

With a revered love for God and for each other, a couple should enter this very serious and sacred relationship with a marriage-matters-no-matter-what mindset. This is much easier if you're equally yoked in Christ (have the same belief system and values). A marriage can only succeed as our Creator designed it if both husband and wife are willing to love unconditionally and serve one another with joy, honor, and respect. It's definitely hard work, but it's so worth it!

Because we live in a fallen, sinful world, marriages have failed and more will fail, but that doesn't mean marriage doesn't matter to God. It matters a lot.

Some of our friends' marriages were filled with brutal abuse (physical and emotional). Those women are better off now in their safe spaces, but still devastated non-the-less. Another friend, years after divorce, has drifted into a homosexual lifestyle. Divorce leaves a wave of destruction in its path. Divorce has long-lasting repercussions, but it's not the end of the world. There is hope through Christ after divorce. I've witnessed many journey through the devastation and find restoration and healing through Christ. Many of their hearts are filled now with more joy than they ever imagined.

Marriages fail because of a shift in focus. The focus moves from wanting what's best for our spouse to focusing on wanting what we think is best for ourselves. I becomes more important than you - more important than the one we vowed to love and to put before ourselves for life. If the focus doesn't change, the I will jump ship and abandon what really matters for eternity. Sure it takes two to make or break a marriage, but it only takes one to give up, walk away, looking for something they deem better elsewhere. The wages of sin is death, and I believe one of those wages on this earth comes in the form of divorce - the death of a marriage. When sin is not dealt with, repented of, and if reconciliation doesn't take place, death is inevitable.

My heart is broken over broken marriages. Signed divorce papers replacing signed marriage certificates. So much unnecessary grief, heartache, and pain.

Praise Jesus, He never leaves us or breaks His promises. I am His, and He is mine forevermore.

None of us are immune to this assault by the enemy. If we are to thrive in our marriages, we must love God with a whole heart, remain in His Word, and obey His commands. We must also love our spouse more than we love ourselves, serve them with a joyful heart, practice the art of forgiveness often, and confess and repent of our sins. When temptation comes knocking at the door, don't answer, because marriage matters, no matter what.

My Pleasure,