When Did Marriage Stop Being Forever?

Posted By on February 18, 2011

In June, Ty and I will have been married 15 years.

It seems utterly impossible.  For 15 years I have shared my life, my bed, my world with an amazing man.  And while he is still “just a man,” I often wonder how people can walk away from marriage after so many years of sharing their lives in such an intimate way.

When Jenny mentioned seeing Christian marriages fail after many years together, it struck a chord.  I’m seeing the same thing in my peer group.  Couples who got married around the same time as us are divorcing at an alarming rate.  I naively thought that if you had made it this far, there was no turning back.

{Now, I understand there are all sorts of extenuating circumstances, but this post isn’t about extenuating circumstances.}

The very first thing we have to recognize is that marriage isn’t governed by the state. Yes, most of us have a marriage license, but that piece of paper IS NOT what makes us married.  However, if you believe (as our society tends to believe) that piece of paper IS what makes you married, then there is no reason to believe such a piece of paper cannot be easily nullified, torn up, burned to ashes, utterly ignored.  It’s just a piece of paper after all.  Sure, it cost a bit of money, but it only takes another bit of money to override that piece of paper with another…divorce papers.

We have to start seeing marriage as a covenant before God. Granted, a society that has largely rejected the God of the Bible isn’t going to be too keen on accepting God’s authority over marriage, but it’s the Truth nonetheless.  Accept it or not…it’s still the Truth. The government did not make up this thing called marriage.  God did.  Therefore, the government does not have jurisdiction over my marriage.  God does.  This isn’t about a piece of paper.  This is about two people joined together…forever…by a holy covenant that states “the two shall become one.” (Mt 19:5, Mk 10:8, Eph 5:31)

We have to stop seeing marriage as something we do and start seeing it as something we are.  Women today are deeply offended by the idea of finding their identity in marriage; whereas the women of yesteryear were deeply honored by it.  Today’s liberated woman believes that was oppression at its worst, and seeks now to include marriage in her plans to further herself and find fulfillment, but never to “lose herself” to a husband, because finding your identity in marriage most assuredly means losing oneself.

But wait…doesn’t the Bible say,

the two shall become one

Yes it does…a perfect, harmonious melding of two very gifted, very different souls into one very gifted, very unique union.

You don’t lose yourself.  You find yourself as you’ve never known yourself to be.  A better you.  A you who’s gifts and talents find purpose and meaning when connected to the gifts and talents of another in a completion of an image meant to represent Christ and His Church.

When torn asunder, you are not tearing one thing away from another, you are tearing yourself in two.

I encourage you this Valentine’s Day to find your identity in your marriage. Marvel at how your giftings fit perfectly with your spouse’s to create something unique.  Consider your covenant before God.  How can you better reflect His image?  Have a wonderful day.  A ONEderful life.

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About The Author

Amy is the homeschooling mother of 5 living children with one on the way, and a precious little girl named Emily who left her arms at 7 months to be held for eternity in the Lord's. You can find Amy blogging about the joy and grief of raising these wonderful little arrows at Raising Arrows.

Comments

4 Responses to “When Did Marriage Stop Being Forever?”

  1. quiltermama says:

    That was beautiful! Next month my husband and I will celebrate 16 years of marriage. I knew from the moment we met that we were going to be married….so a few months after the state recognized marriage, there will be our 17th year together (at least that’s how I see it). 🙂

  2. jwhite05 says:

    Wonderful post: I think that this is one of the lies that has destroyed marriage….that it has simple become a legal contract, which is easily dissolved.

  3. Cheryl says:

    What a beautiful photo of you and your husband! My other half and I will be celebrating 10 years this year. Congratulations to you!

  4. conservativation says:

    Its a great post, and I wish more Christian women felt as you do. sadly, its just not the case. There are some things I’d bet most folks just dont know or dont want to know.
    70% of divorces in the church are filed by women. Before anyone gets too worked up, sure, some are in response to infidelity, abuse, addictions etc. But, the big surprise is the vast vast majority are not for those reasons. Even women who know this will say, “yes thats true but MINE had good reason”…and go on to explain the emotional neglect or other ill defined reasons. The statistics bear out that 4% of those divorces had cause. These are rigorous stats, not opinion surveys. they are deeply researched.

    So, while feminism isn’t to blame for divorce….there is something missing in our approach to it as Christians. Conventional wisdom today is, fix the man, fix the marriage. Men use porn, men cheat, etc. therefore divorces happen because of men. Just not really true.

    If you compare what is said at big mens conferences to what is said at big womens conferences….just read the descriptions of the speakers and topics, you will see that men pound accountability to family, to marriage, etc, thats the theme. Contrast to womens ones where its more about overcoming low self esteem and self image getting more to where God would have it.

    That imbalance contains somehow the root of this problem. Because if you suggest any changes in divorce policy that makes no fault even a TINY bit more restrictive, you will find the debate aligns along gender, with most men favoring stronger marriage laws and most women opposing.

    I have no idea why that really is the case.