On this beautiful snow-falling Saturday morning, I have been contemplating a conversation I had with a dear friend yesterday about marriage as well as contemplating the events of a young couple in my life who are going through a restoration of their short marriage of five years and beginning again after some really rough waters this past year.
What is marriage? By definition it is the state of being married, a close union, wedlock, an alliance, becoming husband and wife. Husbands are defined as being a partner or spouse, a mate, yokemate, groom or bridegroom. Wives are defined as wedded wife, spouse, helpmate, the better half, or bride.
There are many types of nuptials in our society today - of people "tying the knot." I am not here to address all the issues our world faces today, but simply to reflect on what it means to truly give oneself to another person in marriage. When we become a wedded couple, a wedded pair, or newlyweds, what does that really mean to us???
Marriage to me is a blessing, holy, and sacred. It means that we love someone else and that we choose to commit ourselves to the other person and make a solemn vow to them. A vow that lasts our entire life.
Yes, for a lifetime. Not a microwave marriage like we have in society now: get married, get divorced. Get married again, get divorced. Live together, break up. Live with someone else, move out. Find another "match" and try that one on for size, etc. etc. etc. Marriage in NOT something that you put in the microwave and "zap" it until its done, but a long-term commitment that means we will love that ONE other person despite all their flaws and our flaws......it means we are willing to work through the issues - one at a time. We take the good and bad, the rich and poor years, the sick or healthy seasons of our life, the bad temper or good temper of the other person, the good points and the mistakes, and all attributes of that person and ourselves - no matter what! Please realize that I am not saying we should stay in an abusive marriage or situation, or condone bad behavior at all...that is not the point. The point is what is marriage to each of us? How do we perceive our responsibility in a committed, mutually healthy, loving relationship??? How do we create a marriage that honors each other, honors our commitment, and honors God??? How do we love someone THAT much for our whole lives??? It is not an easy question to answer. And, we do not have very many role models that show us that kind of committed love and sacrifice. That's right, sacrifice.
As most of you may know, I have been married and divorced twice. That's right. Two times I have given my heart and it did not work out as I expected, hoped or dreamed. One marriage lasted 19 years to my high school sweetheart and the other was for 9 short months. "It just didn't work out." So, please know that in writing this blog, I am not judging anyone, but just trying to get us to think BEFORE we get married or move in with each other - why are we doing this? Is love really at the core of our actions?
I have heard of several "senior citizens" who choose to live together because their Social Security payments are higher if they are not married. I have heard of people staying together for the sake of their kids. I have heard of women who won't get married because there is no way they are going to "submit" to any man, let alone a husband! (Did you know that in the Bible, husbands are to submit to Christ first before they love their wives with their whole heart? Read Ephesians 5:21-33 for yourself and see!) I have heard of women who won't divorce someone because they are afraid they cannot take care of themselves on their own.
I have heard of people who are afraid to get married because what if they get really, really sick (cancer, brain tumor, etc.) and they have no health insurance - how in the world will that other person ever pay their bills?
Seriously??? Is that our thought process of why we should or should not get married? Again, I am not trying to pick on anyone, but my thoughts keep coming back to the original reason I believe people should get married!!! LOVE. Love that stands the test of time. Love that says you mean more to me than any other person on the planet. Love that says, I am staying no matter what! Love that says I am willing to work through the issues. Love that honors, cherishes, respects, and reveres that other person enough to be by their side for a lifetime. Yes, a lifetime. Short or long. A lifetime.
Ephesians 5:21 says: "Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ." Submit to one another.......not just wives, not just husbands, but both! And, I Corinthians 13:13 says: "And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. And the greatest of these is love." LOVE....the real reason to marry someone.