The Indestructible Marriage


Couple holding hands
Just married couple, holding hands and walking in nature

I am inspired by some marriages I have seen since I came to Alaska. My job takes me into homes where I see wives taking care of their husbands and husband taking care of their wives. 30, 40, and fifty plus years after they said “I do”, after facing the challenges of marriage, some overcoming even adultery, alcohol abuse; some facing the challenges of dementia, diverse disabilities and many other challenges. I have been able to see, with my own eyes, examples of people that actually took serious the words, “For better and for worst, in sickness and in health, in riches and in lack.”

The Apostle Paul spoke plenty in First Corinthians 7 concerning marriage; on verse 28 he stated, “But even if you do marry, you have not sinned; and if a virgin marries, she has not sinned. Nevertheless such will have trouble in the flesh, but I would spare you.” (NKJV) That word trouble is the Greek word Thlípsis, meaning, “To crush, press, compress, squeeze, which is from thláō (n.f.), to break. Tribulation, trouble, affliction.”[1] I heard folks say that love never hurts; nothing can be further from the truth. The Bible tells us in First Corinthians 13:4 that “Love suffers long…” (NKJV)

I take the liberty to say that either suffering is multiplied by second, third marriages and beyond or, the tolerance for suffering decreases in a significant way. What we know for sure is that the statistics for divorce increase dramatically. The divorce statistics for first marriages are already alarming; they are in average at 45% to 50%; second marriages 60% to 67% and third marriages 70% to 73%.

I have noticed that there is a level in marriages that is very rare. It is what I like to call, the Cross Over Level; this is the Agape love level; this is the level where marriages do not talk about divorce and separation with every single argument. As long as divorce and separation still comes up in every argument, your marriage is still in the infant stage, the selfish stage and the foolish stage. Marriages that are mature still argue; it still difficult! As we can clearly see in First Corinthians 7:28, pain is a biblical reality. Marriage is not cookies, milk, flowers and butterflies. However, the cross over level in marriages rise above all that, it is the commitment that establishes, you are my wife and I am your husband no matter what. Even as you get on my last nerves I will always be there for you, in the good times, the bad times and the ugly times. These are marriages that can only be destroyed by continual adultery, domestic violence and death itself.

I pray for a marriage that is filled with the Philadelphia love (Friendship). I pray for a marriage that is fill with the Romantic love. But neither one of these kinds of love is strong enough to survive the tough times. For the tough times, the Agape love is the only force that will help us cross over. Show me a marriage that end up in divorce and many reasons could be given for such failure; but there is really one reason, they never learn to love each other with the Agape love. Show me a long marriage and, without a doubt, they were transformed by the Agape love. The Agape love never fails.[2]

 

 

 

[1] Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2000).

[2] First Corinthians 13:8

Consider the Alternative: A Word for Marriages


Marriage is difficult, very difficult! The Apostle Paul tells us in First Corinthians 7:28, “…Nevertheless such will have trouble in the flesh, but I would spare you.” (NKJV) I go as far as to say that marriage is overrated, Paul backs me up when he states, “But if any man thinks he is behaving improperly toward his virgin, if she is past the flower of youth, and thus it must be, let him do what he wishes. He does not sin; let them marry. Nevertheless he who stands steadfast in his heart, having no necessity, but has power over his own will, and has so determined in his heart that he will keep his virgin, does well. So then he who gives her in marriage does well, but he who does not give her in marriage does better.” First Corinthians 7:36-38 (NKJV) These verses are referring to fist marriages, when you add second and third marriages with children it gets even more difficult.

         Paul even sees marriage as a distraction for ministry, “There is a difference between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman cares about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit. But she who is married cares about the things of the world—how she may please her husband. And this I say for your own profit, not that I may put a leash on you, but for what is proper, and that you may serve the Lord without distraction.” First Corinthians 7:34-35 (NKJV)

         So then, why do we get marry? Two main reasons: 1) It still not good for a man to be alone.[1] And 2) It is better to marry than to burn.[2]     My mom also gave me a good reason. My dad is a great man now, but he used to drink a lot, committed adultery several times and was not the easiest guy to get alone with. I asked her, why did you stay? She told me, because I considered the alternative; you guys growing up without a dad, me raising you guys as single mom, etc.” I am so grateful that my mom considered the alternative! Have you considered the alternatives?

         There is a strong spirit of divorce that is taking over our society and even our churches. Seems like with every argument divorce comes up; as long as that is so, the spirit of divorce is in your house. Beloved, unless there is continual adultery, domestic violence, any kind of child abuse and things of that matter, stop whining, grow up from your teenage little fantasies and make up your mind to consider the alternative. That man or that woman is not there to complete you; only God can do that. If you are going into your second marriage it is going to get harder. If there are children involved even harder. With every divorce and every marriage is going to get harder.

So now that you are marry, it will do you well to understand your role as a husband and your role as a wife.

Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. 24 Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. 25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, 26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. 28 So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. 30 For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. 31 “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”32 This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. 33 Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.

Ephesians 5:22-33 New King James Version (NKJV)

[1] Genesis 2:18

[2] First Corinthians 7:9