Love is patient and is kind; love doesn’t envy. Love doesn’t brag, is not proud, (1 Corinthians 13:4)
“Without love, we can live together; yet live alone. Without love, we can have children; yet despise and revile them. Without love, we can be filthy rich; yet desperately destitute.” - Cole Will in his personally written marriage vow to Katie.
Cole shared that with me Sunday night at youth and it was so profound I asked his permission to use it in this article.
How many people are living in a loveless marriage? How many people despise their children? How many people have money, but are destitute? Marriage is an institution which is ordained of God; yet it is used and abused by many who are married. It is not meant to be a torture chamber. It is not meant to be a place of loneliness while sharing the same roof with someone. How many women are trapped in bad marriages because they need the provision that the man is earning?
Silence, distance, co-existence mark many relationships. Man living in his man cave with the TV on, the woman is her chair with her hobbies and phone and Facebook. I have seen people who take separate vacations, have a separate social circle, who, for all intents and purposes, are divorced. They are divorced emotionally. What keeps people like that together? Finances do. Children do. Social pressure does. Embarrassment does. A fear of God does for some.
The Pharisees asked if a man could divorce for any reason. Jesus told them it was not so from the beginning. That the man and the woman would become one flesh. When asked about the law of Moses, Jesus responded that it was because of the hardness of hearts that divorce was granted. So the unity that is intended in marriage is far more than realized. The one flesh rule includes far more than sexual union. It implies that there is a common goal, a common life, a common care. As one nourishes and cares for their own body, the same response is given to the marriage partner. Nothing is to be done to harm the other. While there are huge gender differences and emotional approaches, it is never an excuse to quit on the other person. We are one flesh. It is like one being.
Now the reality is far different. Self enters the picture regularly and consistently. Self wants to emphasize the differences, emphasize personal need, and lobby strongly for what self wants. This is true of man and woman. The playing field of marriage shifts regularly. It is place of constant change and adjustment. Children change things, jobs change things, in-laws change things, age changes things. Each decade seems to bring changes in physical and emotional health for each member of the marriage and learning the oneness is a new adventure.
Those who are constantly looking for romantic bliss will probably never see it. Those who are looking to serve and love their spouse will find those moments of romantic bliss. However, the moments are fairly spontaneous, extemporaneous, and fleeting. Sometimes, it is almost like when you recognize and mention it, it is gone. So, when you have the moment, savor it and keep quiet, do not label it, just take it in and cherish it.
However, long term success in marriage is not one long romantic moment, it is more the peace, acceptance, the calm love, the security, and the shared journey that really counts.
Men and women who keep their marriages charged with jealousy, arguments, insecurity, and constant distrust, ruin the intended blessing of one flesh. No one wants to live with someone who does not trust them. And every partner should be so committed to the other that there should be no distrust.
Remember, love is kind and patient. We must work toward these Biblical goals. Trouble comes and we are troubled by events and circumstances, but they can be overcome by the patience and love that each should have for one another. Remember, we are one flesh. Together we make a pretty formidable stance against the enemy and any situation thrown against us.