Sanctity of Marriage

Picked up a little palm sized James Dobson family devotional recently and felt particularly instructed by these words:

Relationships based on feelings are necessarily ephermeral and transitory.  The only real stability in marriage is produced by firm commitments that hold two people steady when emotions are fluctuating wildly.  Without this determination, the marriage is destined to disintegrate.

Whoa. A seemingly tall order?  Not in keeping with the “times”?
There has been so much local news about infidelity lately.  As they report tranche after tranche of names, one can’t help wondering whether there’ll be a familiar name amongst the next 40.  This is just the tip of the iceberg.  For every underaged prostitute, there are so many more legally engaged in this “trade”.  And men who visit prostitutes are just a subset of a greater number who are unfaithful to their wives.  Lest this sound like male-bashing, yes, there are probably sizeable numbers of women who commit adultery, with colleagues, proposition private bankers to function as their toy boys, etc.

I suppose many who strayed would say that they never “intended” to.  It was “love”.  As it’s been said before, the human mind can conjure up no end of excuse to justify one’s actions. But to me, if one does not have a moral compass, an absolute rather than relative plumbline, then there is very little to stop the slide into adultery.  Sure, there are believers who commit adultery, but I would say without belief in the Word, or fear of God, there is much less restraint upon “self-fulfilment”.  I guess there is an especial danger for those in ministry, and if you are, this article is one of the best I’ve seen on the topic with good practical advice.

One day I overheard two women talking loudly.  “He says he loves this woman, and he still loves his wife.  So how?  He doesn’t know what to do.”  Is that possible?  What is love? Can one person “love” two equally?  Sure, perhaps.  But that is not the plan we were made to live.  This route, as many have realised, charts the course to destruction.

Which is why I felt this was a timely reminder that our marriage vows are not premised upon feelings.  The covenant is not for “as long as we feel in love”.  There are many instances, sometimes on a daily basis, that I DON’T feel in love. We are annoyed. We feel slighted, misunderstood, taken for granted.  But these are not grounds to go jumping into bed with the next person we feel attracted to / infatuated with.

How awful! Some exclaim. To continue in a “loveless marriage”.  To that, I’d say, love is more than a feeling.  Yes, emotions are part of it, but a marriage without woozy head in the clouds sentimentalism can still be one stoutly undergirded with love.  Love that runs the distance.  Love that says “I will be here. Come what may.”  Love that is stronger than emotions, that is, ultimately a promise.  Not one made lightly merely between man, but one that has the sanctity of being made before our Lord.  And how can a believer take breaking a vow made before God lightly?

So whilst the news churns out name after name, each name probably representing shattered, bruised marriages and shocked, upset children, we take the warning to heart.  We are all just as fallible.  So, we guard our hearts.  We guard our minds in Christ.  We hold our spouse’s hand tight, communicate often, and love not just with emotions but with our lives.  We learn our spouse’s love language, we explain ours.  We flee from temptation, flee from every circumstance that could lead us into sin.  It’s all too easy, and the devil does prowl like a lion.

We encourage other couples to stand fast to their vows, not just for their children, but for themselves.  May every one of us work hard at our marriages, for marriage is hard work.  Let’s remind each other of the cost of broken marriages, damaged families.  And learn to love anew.

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