Summary: Looking at Marriage. Part 2 in series Relationships That Work. The three places we look to build a balanced, healthy marriage.
Looking at Marriage
Relationships that Work, part 2
Wildwind Community Church
David K. Flowers
May 27, 2007
Recording artist Roberta Flack once said, Getting married is easy. Staying married is more difficult. Staying happily married for a lifetime should rank among the fine arts. Sydney Harris said knowing when to say nothing is 50% of tact, and 90% of marriage. From anonymous sources we get these two bits of wisdom. First, keep your eyes wide open before marriage, and half shut afterwards. Second, love is one long, sweet dream; and marriage is the alarm clock. I agree and disagree with this.
As I said last week, marriage is definitely about waking up and getting real. I don’t do any weddings without nearly two months of fairly intense pre-marital counseling. And I always believe the greatest service I’m going to provide for the people I’m counseling is to wake them out of their dreams about being married. Joshua Liebman said that “And they lived happily ever after is one of the most tragic sentences in literature. It is tragic because it tells a falsehood about life and has led countless generations of people to expect something from human existence that is not possible on this fragile, failing, imperfect earth.”
I could not agree more. Some would say, “It’s just a line in a fairy tale – don’t take it so seriously.” Women, that idea that you would find a dashing man to sweep you away one day, who would meet all your needs – where did you get that idea, if not from fairy tales and popular culture? Guys, this idea that you’d meet the perfect hotty who would live to clean your house and pick up after you and always be there for you sexually at the drop of a hat – where’d you get that? From fairy tales and popular culture. Most couples come into my office convinced that they will never have the problems they have seen in other marriages. Folks, if you hear nothing else this morning, please hear this: There are two things you can count on when you work with marriages. First is practically every couple will say, “We’ll never have serious problems in our marriage.” Second is practically every couple will have serious problems in their marriage. It’s true that marriage is an alarm clock – that it wakes us out of a dream and slaps us into the real world. What is not true is the part that love is one long, sweet dream. The long dream was never love in the first place, but rather lust, infatuation, or something else. Marriage is the place where love is really built – where love either takes off or crashes – and that depends on nothing more and nothing less than the decisions of two people who choose to marry.
We’re in part 2 today of our series Relationships that Work. We talked about dating last week, and this week I want to move on to look at marriage with you. There are three directions I believe we need to look in order to build strong marriages. We must look up, we must look inside, and we must look around. First we must look up to God, so let’s do that right now by reading our scripture text for today:
Matthew 19:3-6 (NIV)
3 Some Pharisees came to him to test him. They asked, "Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?"
4 "Haven’t you read," he replied, "that at the beginning the Creator ’made them male and female,’
5 and said, ’For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’?
6 So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate."
I chose this text today not because of what it says about divorce, but because of what it says about marriage. We’ll look specifically at divorce on August 12, but today we’re focusing on marriage.
Folks, as we live our married lives together, and as we discuss marriage this morning, we must look up. We must begin with God, for this is where everything begins. Our text says at the beginning the Creator made them male and female, and for this reason the two will become one flesh. What would be another way of saying that? Husbands and wives, you are married today, you are together today, because marriage was God’s plan from the beginning. God created you to fit together, not just physically, but emotionally and spiritually.
I’ve noticed in many sermons that I have the need to start in this place. After all, you can tune into any TV show, read almost any book or magazine article about marriage, and expect to see marriage approached like it’s fundamentally about you – about your contentment, satisfaction, growth, well-being, and happiness. Please hear me here. It doesn’t matter that this is the prevalent view of marriage in the secular world. That does not make it true, and it certainly is not something that those who are living a life that is supposed to be built on God should be taken in by.