I'm posting this as a very small beginning of what I hope will become a much deeper discussion about marriage and the beautiful unity that can be experienced between a husband and a wife. This to me is one of the saddest things that has happened and is happening in the church today, the increasing rarity of true marriage. I don't think most divorces are the break-down of true marriage, but the break-down of superficial imitations of true marriage.
Can a superficial marriage that started with attraction and infatuation and then built on law and duty ever ripen into mature and intoxicating love? I whole-heartedly believe it can! But too many times it doesn't. So let the discussion and revelation begin, and may our God enlighten us about his kind of love! And as he pours it out his lavish love on us may it transform every other relationship in our lives. And let's also remember: THERE IS NOW THEREFORE NO CONDEMNATION FOR THOSE IN JESUS CHRIST! This is not the time or the place for pointing fingers at people in self-righteous disgust. This is about freedom and joy!
The wedding vows...Do we doom marriages to failure when we base them on legal contracts and vows that are impossible standards of perfection? Did Adam and Eve make 'vows before a holy God'? (Also posted on facebook at the Free Believers Network with comments following.)
This is one of my comments, modified a little:
There's nothing more deadly in a marriage than one or the other feeling 'trapped'. The idea of marriage taught in the church is ridiculous and damaging. As soon as you tell someone they are tied for life to someone else no matter what, of course panic sets in. Not to mention it isn't true, it's a contract that can easily be gotten out of .
The church has been so busy preserving the outward image of marriage, teaching that living at the same address for the rest of your life constitutes a major accomplishment( sometimes even inferring that the more miserable you were the more faithful you were), that they've completely missed the point of marriage as God designed it. It was for a man and a woman to enjoy--revel in-- the same kind of love and unity as God himself does within the Trinity. And that would be a beautiful picture of Christ and the church as she enters into that union through redemption. It would truly be an unbreakable bond of love.
More and more to find an honestly happy couple who are truly enjoying intimate union in all the ways God has provided, is difficult. A happily married couple is a complete rarity. And to me, this false marriage is much much sadder than divorce because divorce is just the truth of what a marriage probably was all along in most cases, especially in the performance based 'church'.
Marriage is wonderful when you are able to experience it as the freeing unity and love it is supposed to be. We are not bound together with chains of rules , vows, or promises, but we melt together over time until neither can imagine life or joy without the other. It's not perfecting of roles or duties that make a marriage work, but husband and wife both letting go and truly enjoying the other's love and companionship, sharing every part of themselves until it becomes difficult to draw a line between the two and divide them into two separate entities. This is the same way we are conformed to Christ, not that there is no individual still, but that the harmony is so beautiful and wonderful that there is no desire for a solo part.
This is in no way intended to make anyone who is married and not happy feel bad about it either! I just long for people to be free and happy in every part of their lives...and so we continue to share and enjoy the best news in the world until it gets down into every fiber of our being and transforms our minds and sets us free more and more!