Tag Archives: marriage
Several years ago, The Guardian printed some anecdotes from readers about the break-ups of their marriages. To say the stories were wide-ranging would understate things hugely. Recollections ran the spectrum from celebratory to matter-of-fact to heartbreaking.
One reader, a middle-aged Irish woman named Enda, practically exulted. “While I was totally knocked sideways by my husband’s unexpected departure, I came to realise that the situation presented an opportunity for me to focus on me and my own dreams. I moved back to Ireland from the UK, opened my chocolate business here, bought a house in the country, and I’ve never been happier … All my dramas are my own, not his. All my successes are my own, not his. All my happiness is my own, not his. My divorce has allowed me to arrive in my own life – and stay here comfortably with a smile on my face and a sense of gratefulness for my health, my happiness and my dream.”
Another divorcee, American-born Theresa, was more straightforward. “We mailed out a ‘divorce announcement’ card. The cover read, ‘To let you know that we have a new life apart …’ The picture was of two ships, one named ‘me’, the other ‘you’, traveling in different directions with a breaching whale between the two. The back of the card read, ‘What we call the beginning is often the end. And to make an end is to make a beginning. The end is where we start from.’ Reception to the card was mixed.”
And then came the sad experience of a young British woman who wished to remain anonymous: “I got divorced earlier this year after two years of marriage. For me, it came really out of the blue. My husband came home one night and told me that he had fallen in love with someone else; when I asked him if our marriage was over, he said, ‘Yes.’ And that was it. My parents came and picked me up and took me home. He moved in with her one week later. Finding out he had been unfaithful was a very surreal moment. He was the last person you’d expect to do that, and it sent shockwaves through our family…”
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8
It’s a beautiful description, isn’t it? This is how love should always be described: patient, kind, trusting, hopeful. But for most of us, that’s where it stops: it’s a beautiful description of what a marriage should look like, and hopefully it is. But sooner or later, the honeymoon ends. Then you’re chasing careers, having kids, paying bills, fixing toilets, just doing life, and it’s amazing just how quickly this feeling of love that we see here in 1 Corinthians 13 gets lost in the chaos of life.
That’s why so often married couples look at each other after several years and say, “I just don’t love you anymore. Whatever feeling that was there is gone.” It doesn’t help when we get a constant picture from society telling us exactly what love should look like and what should feel like. Culture would tell us that love looks like a romantic getaway, but doesn’t mention the debt that comes from trying to maintain a lifestyle you can’t afford. Culture tells us that love is like The Bachelor, with exotic locations, background music, script writers and seven takes to get your lines right.
But that’s not what marriages look like. Marriages look like conflicting work schedules, folding laundry at 10 pm, biblical marriage looks like monogamy, one man, one woman, together forever. From a sexual standpoint, when’s the last time tv and movies celebrated monogamy in marriage? It just doesn’t happen.
So, on the one hand, we’ve got this beautiful picture of love in 1 Corinthians 13 that is read once at our weddings and then promptly forgotten about, and after that we’ve got a constant bombardment from culture of a false narrative of what love is supposed to look like.
From culture’s standpoint, love is a feeling. Here’s the argument I want to make: I don’t think culture’s definition of love and marriage is working, because I think culture’s definition of love is flawed. That’s why so many marriages, even good Christian marriages, are struggling. So, what I want to humbly suggest is that we go back to 1 Corinthians 13 and see what we’ve missed. If the Bible is true, if it’s authoritative, if it’s inspired by God, and I believe it is, then the 1 Corinthians 13 definition of love should have practical application and should improve our marriages even today.
So, let’s look back at this passage again, and I’m going to simply pull out one small but absolutely marriage-changing truth from 1 Corinthians 13, Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 1 Corinthians 13:4
Right here, we see it five times. This one statement flies in the face of how culture defines love. You’ll see it in the words that are italicized: patient, kind, does not envy, does not boast, is not proud. What’s significant about these words? They are all verbs. They are all actions. None of them are feelings. And that’s the whole ballgame right there.
Culture would have you believe that love is primarily a feeling. The Apostle Paul taught that love is a verb, love is an action. Love is a choice.
How would this change marriages? Well, think about what typically happens a marriage breaks down. At some point, the husband and wife look at each other and say, “I’m sorry, I just don’t love you anymore.” And if love is a feeling, well then, you can’t control your feelings, can you? It’s just one of those things. You can’t be held accountable for how you feel, can you? If love is a feeling then you’re off the hook.
But if love is a choice, well then, that changes things. When you look at your spouse and say, “I don’t love you anymore,” in reality what you’re saying is “I’m choosing not to love you anymore. I’m making a choice, and I’m choosing to stop showing you love.” Wow, that’s a bit more harsh, isn’t it? Now, here’s the pushback to all of that: are you saying that marriage is supposed to be an emotionless void of feeling where we just stay married out of obligation even if the feeling we associate with love is long gone? No, God created feelings, God created emotions, and He wants and designed marriage to be filled with romance, feelings of elation, contentment, laughter, ecstasy. But that’s the byproduct. Let me put it another way, because this is a deep concept and if we can understand it we can fundamentally improve all of our marriages.
Let’s say you want to be happy. Let’s say that your goal is to be happy in life. It’s a very common goal and it’s not necessarily a bad goal. Who doesn’t want to be happy, right? Well, there are different ways you can be happy. You can go for immediate happiness. What does that look like? Well, it’s more enjoyable in the short run to take a vacation and skip work rather than have to earn a paycheck, so you could say that skipping work and dropping out of school will lead to happiness. And in a very short-sighted way, it will. You could also make the argument that drugs lead to happiness, at least in the short-term. That’s why people take drugs, to try and find happiness.
So what’s the problem with quitting your job and taking drugs if you want to be happy? Well, that momentary happiness will quickly give way to a longer term unhappiness as now you have no job, no money, and a drug addiction.
But, that is one way to be happy, at least in the short-term. What’s another way to be happy? Go to school and get a good degree, which doesn’t sound like fun in the short-term but leads to a higher income and a higher quality of life, which results in happiness. Find a job that where you can make a difference, and alongside the paycheck, you’ll discover that when you’re living your purpose you’re a happier person. Even when you become a giving person, when you give back towards others, it actually makes you a happier person.
So, there is a much better way to seek happiness in life, even if it means a bit of hard work. Let’s carry this concept back into marriage. Everyone wants to be happy in marriage. We want a marriage filled with love and laughter. There’s nothing wrong with that. The problem is that the world’s definition of love, that love is an elusive feeling, that will lead to only short-term happiness. And then when the honeymoon is over and the feeling is gone, you’ll break things off and search for the feeling somewhere else, never mind the relational scars that will remain in you and kids in your ever elusive quest for happiness. What Paul presents is a different way, the harder way, the staying in school and working hard in your career way to achieve a deeper, longer lasting form of love and happiness in a marriage.
In our section for today we have a brief report about the ongoing war between the house of Saul and the house of David. We are told that this conflict “lasted a long time.” The forces of David become stronger and stronger while the army of Saul grows weaker and weaker.
Families are important and we are informed about the sons that David has. Six sons are listed: Amnon, Kileab, Absalom, Adonijah, Shephatiah, and Ithream. And each was born to a different mother! This text tells us that David had six wives!
This raises a critical question about polygamy! Was it ever God’s intention that a man should have more than one wife? Not if we carefully read the Genesis account of Adam and Eve.
But there is no overt condemnation of having more than one wife in the Old Testament, is there? In fact, after David commits his great sin against Bathsheba and her husband (in 2 Sam. 11), Nathan the prophet says to David, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you from the hand of Saul. 8 I gave your master’s house to you, and your master’s wives into your arms. I gave you all Israel and Judah. And if all this had been too little, I would have given you even more. 9 Why did you despise the word of the Lord by doing what is evil in his eyes?” (2 Sam. 12).
How are we to respond to our Mormon friends who believe the Bible not only allows polygamy, but recommends that lifestyle? We have several Scriptures that clearly forbid polygamy: Deut. 17:17; Lev. 18:18; Mal. 2:14. But we also have several texts that permit polygamy: Gen. 4:19; 26:34; Job 27:15.
I found the following article from CARM (Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry) helpful:
Why did God allow polygamy in the Old Testament? by Matt Slick 5/2/2017
God allowed polygamy (as well as diviorce) in the Old Testament because of the hardness of people’s hearts (Matt. 19:8). God never approved of polygamy nor did he intend it to be the norm. In fact, he specifically said not to have more than one wife because, in part, they can turn a person’s heart away from God. Deuteronomy 17:17, “He shall not multiply wives for himself, or else his heart will turn away; nor shall he greatly increase silver and gold for himself.” Nevertheless, God permitted polygamy, just as he permits people to do other sinful acts.
Lamech was the first to have more than one wife (Genesis 4:19, 23), but he was a wicked man, a murderer. Abraham had more than one wife (Gen. 16:1-4)and because of it, there were problems. Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines (1 Kings 11:1-3) and he started serving false gods. Gideon had many wives (Judges 8:30), whose son was Abimelech who was wicked. David had many wives (1 Sam. 18:27; 2 Sam. 3:2-5; 1 Chron. 14:3), and there were problems because of it. Elkanah had two wives (1 Samuel 1:1-7) and there was bitterness because of it. Rehoboam had 18 wives and 60 concubines (2 Chron. 11:21-12:1) and they foresook the Law of God.
The standard that God established in the Garden of Eden was monogamy, one man and one woman. Genesis 1:27, “God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” God did not create multiple people, but only one man and one woman and from them, in that bond of marriage, was the means to have families and fill the earth. God goes on to say in Genesis 2:24, “For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.” This principle is in the New Testament as well.
Matthew 19:4–5, “And He answered and said, “Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning MADE THEM MALE AND FEMALE, 5 and said, ‘FOR THIS REASON A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER AND BE JOINED TO HIS WIFE, AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH’?” 1 Corinthians 7:2, “But because of immoralities, each man is to have his own wife, and each woman is to have her own husband.”
Ephesians 5:31, “FOR THIS REASON A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER AND SHALL BE JOINED TO HIS WIFE, AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH.” 1 Timothy 3:2, “An overseer, then, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable, able to teach . . .”
Conclusion: So, polygamy was permitted by God in the Old Testament but it was not his design. It often leads people astray and caused dissension within households where multiple wives are present. it is not properly represent the relationship between Christ and his bride the church (Ephesians 5:25-27). He does not have multiple brides, he has one bride.
It is hard to believe, but Linda and I have been married 47 years! That’s a long time for her to put up with someone like me! There are so many reasons that I thank the Lord for my wife, but you might find the story of my proposing to her interesting.
We met at Emmaus Bible School (as it was called back then), located in a suburb of Chicago (it has since moved to a beautiful campus in Dubuque, Iowa). When we first met, I was entering my second year of the three-year program and she was a freshman. We met at the freshman retreat and yours truly fell head over heels in love with this young lady from New Jersey.
She and her friend Robin, for some inexplicable reason, decided to switch names for the first week of school. So my roommates mercilessly teased me when I lay in my bunk bed in the men’s dorm moaning, “Robin! O Robin!” (my wife’s name is Linda).
Pretty soon she took pity on me and we began dating each other. Although it took her a bit longer than me to realize that we would be life partners, we began making plans to get married after I finished my third year at Emmaus.
Her mother gave us an engagement ring that had been in the family for quite a while. We took it to a local jeweler’s to have the diamond put into another setting. The jeweler told us that it would be three weeks before it was ready. So my official proposal had to wait.
What Linda didn’t know was that the jeweler called me to say that the ring was ready about a week early. I picked it up and began to plan “the proposal.” At the time I was playing second string on Emmaus’ basketball team and Linda was the best-looking cheerleader for the school. I decided I would propose to her at half-time. On the court. In front of the twenty people who came to see our game.
At halftime we were losing to the other school by seventy (that’s “7” followed by a “0”) points. The mood was ruined. I kept the ring in my pocket and we headed back to the school after the game.
There was a small coffee shop just a block from the school where we would occasionally go and split a piece of apple pie. As we were walking down the street, the ring was burning a hole in my pocket and I made my mind up.
I pulled Linda into a dark alley (just before the coffee shop) and asked her, “Will you marry me?” She started to laugh. “Why are you laughing?” I said. “You don’t have the ring! It’s not ready for another week or two!”, she said. I then realized the ring was still in my pocket. I pulled it out, held it in front of her, got on one knee, and asked the question a second time.
She began to scream. In a dark alley. Outside Chicago. I think she said “Yes!”, because we then went to the coffee shop where I got the whole piece of pie. But the best was — I got Linda!
I’m sure it’s just me — but I’m kind of tired of the living-together-without-benefit-of-a-marriage propaganda. Listen to the words of this commercial carefully!
The “Iron Sharpens Iron” conference at Emmaus Bible College is fast approaching — and I have two workshops to prepare! The theme this year is ‘Training for Godliness” and I will be presenting two workshops: “Guarding and Discarding: The Keys to Sound Theology (1 Timothy 6:20-21)” and “Sanctified Hedonism: The Case for “Worldly Saints” (1 Timothy 4:1-5).”
A number of issues jump out at me from this text. The passage is eschatological in tone. That is, Paul is referring to “later times” and is warning Timothy about how some will abandon the faith and follow demonic doctrines.
The human avenue of these deceiving ideas will be “hypocritical liars” who have callous consciences. Wow! Paul isn’t pulling any punches as he refers to the sources of these wrong ideas.
But what about the ideas themselves? Their errors fall into the categories of FORBIDDING MARRIAGE and DIETARY RESTRICTIONS. Marriage was God’s idea in the Garden and was clearly affirmed by the Lord Jesus when He said, 6 “But at the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female.’ 7 ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, 8 and the two will become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one flesh. 9 Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” (Mk. 10).
These false teachers, the Spirit of God says, will forbid marriage.
We will look at their dietary prohibitions in our next post. (to be continued)
St. Valentine was a Roman Priest under Emperor Claudias who persecuted the church and prohibited the marriage of young people. This was based on the hypothesis that unmarried soldiers fought better than married soldiers because married soldiers might be afraid of what might happen to them or their wives or families if they died.
Valentine lived in a very permissive society. Polygamy would have been much more popular than just one woman and one man living together. And yet some of them seemed to be attracted to the Christian faith. But obviously the church thought that marriage was very sacred between one man and one woman for their life and that it was to be encouraged. Valentine secretly married them despite the edict.
Valentine was eventually caught, imprisoned and tortured for performing marriage ceremonies against the command of Emperor Claudius the second. There are legends surrounding Valentine’s actions while in prison.
One of his judges was a man called Asterius, whose daughter was blind. He was supposed to have prayed with and healed the young girl with such astonishing effect that Asterius himself became Christian as a result.
In 269 AD, Valentine was sentenced to a three part execution of a beating, stoning, and finally decapitation all because of his stand for Christian marriage. The story goes that the last words he wrote were in a note to Asterius’ daughter. He signed it, “from your Valentine.” (http://www1.cbn.com/st-valentine-real-story)