Summary: Marriage is an invitation to move beyond yourself and focus on another. Marriage is a ministry. It’s not about getting your needs met but serving the need of your spouse. God called us to love one another not because of our feelings for them but in spite
A Love That Endures
There’s the story of a husband who placed an ad in the Rocky Mountain News just prior to a Super Bowl a few years ago. Will trade my non-cooking and non-shopping wife with attitude problem for one Super Bowl ticket. No Indian givers. Call so-and-so at xxx-xxxx. Hurry. When interviewed the husband claimed he was not kidding, although he was known to play practical jokes. He said the idea came to occurred to him the day after the AFC championship game, when it snowed heavily in Denver. "She refused to go shopping," [the husband] said. "She said the roads were too slick, so she made me do it. I get tired of that stuff after a while. If I could get a Super Bowl ticket, it would be a one-way trip."
I-It and I-Thou
When it comes to marriage much of the pain and problems come from being stuck in the I-It relationship. One or both spouses approach life as if it revolves around them and they begin to look at their spouse as someone who should meet their needs rather than a person they are to minister to. Today we’re going to consider what marriage is supposed to look like, what God wants marriage to be and how we can live into the I-Thou relationship of marriage.
In Genesis 2, God took the clay and formed a man with his hands and breathed life into him. He then placed him in the middle of a beautiful garden of paradise where the man could have everything he needed to survive. God would come down each afternoon as the sun began to set and take long walks with Adam and they would talk. But despite all of this there was still a hunger, a void in Adam’s heart. And so God said, I need to fulfill that need. Now there’s the story that before Eve was created, God was talking with Adam. He said, “You really need a helper, don’t you?” And Adam answered, “Yeah, I really do.” So God said, “What if I make a woman? She’ll be perfect for you. She’ll be beautiful. She’ll rub your back at night, & your feet in the morning. She’ll plop grapes into your mouth. She’ll prepare all your favorite meals without fail. She’ll clean up the kitchen & take care of the kids. You’ll never have to do a thing, just sit around & be the king of your household.” Adam said, “Boy, that sounds great, but how much is this going to cost?” God said, “Well, it’s pretty expensive. It will cost you an arm & a leg.” Adam thought for a moment & then asked, “How much can I get for a rib?”
God caused Adam to fall asleep and took a rib from him, and from it God made a new and improved model of the man, the woman. Then he brought her to Adam and showed him and Adam said, This is at last what I have been longing for. She is flesh of my flesh and bone of my bone. She is like and yet mysteriously different from me. And the Scripture then says And the man shall leave their father and mother and they shall cling together and become one flesh.
From that passage, we learn three things. First, we shall be helpers of one another. God didn’t say he made Adam a servant but a helper. Marriage doesn’t mean you are to be always in love with your spouse. That’s psychologically and physically impossible. Whether you are madly in love with this person or not, you are always called to be their helper. To be a helper, you need to ask, “What does my spouse need? How can I encourage and support her? How can I stand by her and help her achieve God’s will for her life.” Being a helper involves sacrifice. It means you’re giving up your time and your energy and maybe even your plans to help your spouse achieve their dreams and aspirations but also to become all that God intended. You do it because God has called you to be a helper. Part of the calling in marriage is we are helping our spouse to be sanctified. We are helping them to grow in the likeness of Jesus Christ and their service in Jesus’ name and to become what God wants them to be. That means we are to pray for them, to encourage them and to challenge them. We do what Paul says in Colossians 3:16, we teach and admonish one another in all wisdom. Yes helping our spouse is helping them to fulfill their hopes and dreams but more importantly, it’s helping them to fulfill God’s will for their life which is to become like Jesus Christ.