FAMILY AND MARRIAGE: What is marriage?
“God created marriage. No government subcommittee envisioned it. No social organization developed it. Marriage was conceived and born in the mind of God.” – Max Lucado
“Then the LORD God said, ‘It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” – Bible
The last two articles have discussed why we should marry. Today we will take a slightly different but deeper and more significant look at why marriage is so important.
Joe and Jane were talking with a good friend, Henry. Henry had been around for quite a while and his response to the difficulties of life had given him a great deal of wisdom.
Joe and Jane were both expressing concerns about their marriage and wondering if it was really worth the trouble. So many of their friends were getting divorced, living together without marriage, or choosing to live the single life, just hooking up with whomever for short affairs but no commitment.
Henry tried to give them a better feel for the important of marriage by highlighting the fact that God had clearly created man and woman to be in relationship with each other. “Take a look at all of the creatures God gave the ability to have feelings,” Henry pointed out to Joe and Jane. “Animals, birds, fish, reptiles and especially humans can feel pain. Plants can't.
“All the creatures that have feelings were designed to reproduce in kind together. They can't do it by themselves. Most plants can. Plants don't need to be in relationship to procreate. We do. Therefore there must be something extremely important about relationship, since God has in a sense forced it upon us. We don't have a choice, at least not if we want the human race to continue.”
Mike Mason has written a book called “The Mystery of Marriage.” He reminds us that marriage and religion have much in common. Both deal with the phenomenon of otherness in our lives, which directly relates to relationship.
Quoting Mason, “Both [religion and marriage] feed upon our peculiar sense of encounter with someone who is like us, resembling us in image, but who is not us.
“Both are committed to exploring, at enormous cost and risk, the farthest extremes and ramifications of this mystery of relationship, and the miracle called love which may only be found and generated at its heart.”
Our natural selfishness which drives us to self-protection and isolationism is constantly faced with the truth that we are not alone, either in our vertical relationship with God, or our horizontal relationship with people. “However much we may wish at times to be left alone, it is not an option. It is the one thing which God and marriage refuse to allow us,” Mason reminds us.
In the very beginning, man was created for that vertical relationship with God. Then out of that vertical relationship came the creation of woman, who fulfilled the need for the horizontal connection.
The first act of selfishness, however, caused a breach in the vertical relationship and also in the horizontal. The man and woman realized all of a sudden that they were naked, or more significantly, unprotected and vulnerable, so they covered up. And we have been covering up ever since, to the detriment of marriage.
Through the institution of marriage we are reminded that God was in relationship from the very beginning. In the first chapter of the first book of the Bible we read “Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness;….'” Evidently God wasn't alone, either.
Quoting Mason again, “Only a God Who lives with Himself in love can call upon a man and a woman to love one another, let alone command all men to love their enemies. This God alone embodies the power for gathering into the unity of love the vast multiplicity of mankind.”
We trample on the divine design of marriage to our peril and that of all society. Marriage is the earthly embodiment of eternal relationship.
The Family and Marriage Coalition of Aiken, Inc. (FAMCO) provides resources for you to succeed in your marriage and families. Roger Rollins, Executive Director, FAMCO, 803-640-4689, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.aikenfamco.com