The church has a responsibility for/to marriages, and is often complicit in divorces. Be your brother’s keeper with regard to marriage. (Follow TMB on Twitter)
This was prompted by dream I had the night before (more on that below) but it’s hardly a new thought for us, and we feel the Bible says the same thing:
Let marriage be held in honor among all… [Hebrews 13:4a ESV] There is a good chance your version makes that a statement of fact (Marriage is honorable among all [NKJV]) rather than a command. We need not dig into the Greek to realise that the “statement of fact” translation is incorrect – marriage was NOT held in honour by all when this was written; marriage was not even held in honour by all who claimed to follow Jesus. Sadly nothing has changed – many who follow Jesus don’t understand how important marriage is, and don’t accept how vital it is for the church to support and protect marriages.
The Greek word that is translated as honour there means:
- as of great price, precious
- held in honour, esteemed, especially dear
Do our actions as followers and churches match that? Do we fight for marriages? Do we see a marriage as more important than our friendship with the husband or the wife? Are we willing to fight for the marriages of others, even if that puts us at odds with one or both spouses? Are we willing to limit what a couple does at church, telling them they need to focus on their marriage for a time?
I’ve seen plenty of divorces that happened with the church the couple attended never doing anything to intervene. Regardless of whether or not the church could have done something that would save the marriage, its inaction condemns it. When we put “privacy” or “it would be uncomfortable” or “I don’t want to offend” ahead of a marriage, we are NOT honouring marriage as the Bible commands us.
My dream is, to me, more how it should be. In my waking life I don’t know the people in the dream, nor did I recognise the location. In the dream the location was my home town.
It was mid-day and I was out on some small errand. I got a call telling me that a man had told his wife to leave, he wanted a divorce. The man was not a part of my church, by Lori and I knew the couple a bit. I was asked to go to his house. When I go there I saw a hand written sign on the door “Your key won’t work, I changed the lock.”
I knocked, and was let in. I had said a couple words when the man’s phone rang. It was someone in leadership from his church, and I could tell from his side of the conversation that he was being “encouraged” to work on his marriage. I heard him say, “Yes, I will be accountable to you about this.” just before there was a knock on the door. I walked to the door and saw several cars had arrived. The wife and several female friends were at the door, and I let them in.
From this point to the end of the dream I was moving around as if no one saw me, listening. Someone was talking to the husband, asking him questions and challenging him.
The women were talking to the wife, and one asked “Has sex been a problem in your marriage?”
“Oh yes!” the wife replied, “He is always asking, he wants it all the time.”
One woman replied to this with “So he is sexually starved because you refuse him?”
The wife looked like she had been shot! She suddenly got it, she was it. The woman continued to talk to her, helping her see that while this was not the only problem in their marriage, it was a very real problem, and was one that she had caused and she needed to deal with. It was loving but firm.
A short time later the wife went to her husband, and pulling him aside she told him to get rid of the people so they could go upstairs and have sex. She said this in a rather graphic way, and his reaction told me that one – she had never talked this way before, and two, he liked it.
The rest of the dream is not clear, but I recall hearing a report that they were doing better, and a couple of details of how certain people were meeting with them individually and as a couple. I also had a discussion with the man at some point in which he said her willingness to admit she had wronged him sexually, and her working on that, had caused him to see all the ways he had wronged her.
In my mind this is how it should be. It would be even better if the church had rallied before the man threw his wife out, but when it happened they jumped into action. I was called because someone knew I would be available, and they wanted a man at the house when his wife came home. Both husband and wife were confronted on their part in the breakdown of the marriage. The wife’s friends did not “Oh poor baby” her and tell her how horrible her husband was – instead they found something she could change and strongly encouraged her to do it.
Links to blog posts that stood out to me this last week:
Better Husbands and Fathers
5 Reasons to Tell Her You Struggle with Porn: A great article which has become a long debate in the comments (including a few with my thoughts). Thanks, Dustin.
Happily Married After
4 Ways to Make Marriage EASY: Yeah, this about covers it.
Intimacy in Marriage
Sexual Intimacy: My Love Letter to Pornographers: Julie has a brilliant tongue-in-cheek post here that can teach you a bit about how women are hurt by porn.
Is the Happy Marriage the ‘Me’ Marriage?: I have not had time to research this story, so thanks to Lori L for doing such a great job on it.
What Keeps Us From Being Happy?: A more or less follow up to the above, and a very good article.
Improve Sexual Sparks with Better Body Image: You may be tired of hearing about body image – but since the vast majority of women struggle with this (and have less sex because of it) I advise you to learn all you can.
One Flesh Marriage
Want more “sex in the mirror”??: Brad nails it when he says “since her sex life is your sex life …”
The Romantic Vineyard
In Sickness and In Health! : This is a beautiful post! (Especially to me – two nights ago my bride held me tight despite hot flashes when I was shivering uncontrollably, the brought me cold compresses when my fever got dangerously high. That kind of love is special, and not forgotten when one is well.)
11 Things You Won’t Learn In School About Marriage: An interesting quest post, although it nudges a few things I keep hearing about marriage that don’t quite sit right with me.