Marriage Lie: The Church has limited responsibly to marriages

August 26, 2012

in Beyond the Marriage, Grass-roots Movement, Links to good stuff, Series, Shared walk

Wedding rings and roses | freedigitalphotos.net

This is another lie no one says aloud, but we see it in what people do and do not do. The church is supposed to serve couples, it is supposed to guide and protect couples. We, the church, should be ready to sacrifice for marriages, especially new marriages and those in trouble. Want some Bible to back that up?

“Let marriage be held in honor among all…” [Heb 13:4a ESV]

The Greek word translated as “honor” there is “Timios” and it means, “as of great price, precious, held in honour, esteemed, especially dear”. We are commanded to treat marriage as very special, as something to uphold and protect. Do we treat marriage as if it is precious? Do we act as if it is especially dear? Words means nothing, our actions show whether we really honour marriage.

“When a man is newly married, he shall not go out with the army or be liable for any other public duty. He shall be free at home one year to be happy with his wife whom he has taken.” [De 24:5 ESV]

This scripture does not get nearly the attention it should. Understand this was commanded at a time when war was common. To give a man a one-year pass on the army so he could develop a strong marriage, shows God thinks marriage is exceedingly important. The second part, that he should not be liable for any public duty takes it even further. He could not be required to take food and drink to the army, could not be pressed into service to build or maintain roads, and was not to be called on to keep watch on the city walls. The Rabbis of old even said a man was to be free of public taxes for the first year of his marriage. He would still have to work and earn a living, but his duties would be limited, and would not be apart from his new bride overnight.

God is serious about marriage, and about a couple getting a good start on their marriage. God says the entire community should sacrifice for a newlywed couple – this is not optional, it is not something we do out of the goodness of our heart, this is what God calls all of us to do.

Have you ever seen a marriage most in the church wanted to see fail? I have, several times. Not that anyone would say it, but they felt that the couple should not have married (for whatever reason), They secretly wanted the marriage fall apart, or at least to have many problems, to show they were right, the marriage was a bad idea. I doubt God is amused by such feelings! In one such situation, the pastor of the church showed great wisdom and courage; on the Sunday the just married couple was on their honeymoon, he did a sermon about marriage. He said once a couple was married, it was God’s will for them to stay married and to have the best marriage possible. Even if the couple was “not supposed to get married,” once they were married that all changed. The pastor made it clear those who did not agree were thinking and acting contrary to God’s will!

What are you doing to support marriage? Do you pray for newly-weds? Do you go out of your way to make them part of the things couples from your church/group/office do as couples? If they are young, do you help them move from the singles crowd to the married crowd?

Many years ago, before Lori and I were doing anything even remotely like marriage ministry, a young couple from our church asked if we would spend some time with them to help them better their marriage. We felt less than qualified, but also felt we could not say no. For a couple of months we met with them weekly for dinner and conversation. Over time we met a bit less often, but continued to meet regularly, and to be available to them. To us it was just a friendship, enjoyable time spent together. Imagine our shock a year later when we over-heard one of them telling someone how we had “saved their marriage!” It seems they had come to the point of discussing divorce when they asked us to spend time with them. God used us, and our time together, to help them. They learned from watching us, and from talking with us. I suspect they also felt far less alone (they married young and many in the church felt they should have waited) and glad someone believed in them and their marriage.

I share this to show you how easy it is to help, or even “save” a marriage. We did nothing spectacular; we knew so little then, but we shared what we did know, and in God, it was enough. It makes my blood run cold when I think what could have happened if they had not had the courage to ask for our help, or if we had felt too busy or not experienced enough to say yes.

If you have a halfway decent marriage, you can be a support and help others, especially those recently married. Whom can you help?

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