Summary: How can I take steps to help my marriage become better? Consider the "stumbling signs" and Use the "stepping stones".
The Ideal Marriage
(Senior Adult Sunday)
Matthew 19.8 June 10, 2001
He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so.
The preacher said I could have 16 wives;
The sayings and stories surrounding the subject of love and marriage are legion. For instance: What is the difference between a woman and a man in love? When a woman is in love she acts like a fool; when it’s a man, he’s not acting!
Divorce was a common practice in Jesus’ day, as in ours. But divorce was a side issue in our text. The Pharisees were just using the issue as a smoke screen (Mt. 19.3,7) to trap Jesus into one of those have you stopped beating your wife questions. Their real agenda was to discredit Jesus’ teaching. In answering them, however, Jesus not only silenced his enemies, but his answers show the long term IMPACT our choices make on our own lives, and the lives of our families and neighbors. Consider Jesus’ teaching on…
The Holiness of Marriage
Few of us would argue that God has a blueprint for marriage. A man and woman are to leave their respective families, and cleave to each other, forever! My favorite way of expressing that is to be joined at the heart. If you do not believe that can happen, you have no business getting married.
The holiness of marriage is foreign to our culture today. Most people view it as a civil arrangement, or contract, that is up for scrutiny whenever one of the partners feels uncomfortable with the terms. The commandment of God makes it a holy commitment (see Exodus 20.14).
What does an ”Ideal” Marriage Look Like?
May I say, It doesn’t matter what it looks like? Listening to a National Public Radio broadcast the other day , I heard the storyteller talk about the German occupation of France during the Second World War. The Nazis sent out officials to many of the vineyards to confiscate the best bottles of wines. Many of the managers hid their best, oldest stock. They took dust and coated the bottles some of the newer (and cheaper) wines.
Although history records how France’s wine industry was preserved with this trick, the dust on the bottle could not change the quality of the wine inside. It is that way in marriage. No matter what your neighbors, church family, or even you might imagine about what a marriage looks like, it cannot change the value of what is happening on the inside, where it counts!
In honor (and with all truthfulness), on this Senior Adult Day in our church, where we are affirming our Seniors, and especially those with forty-plus years of marriage, I want to announce that we have not the first perfect couple among us!
We do, however, have the Scripture, which points out the ideal – and our responsibility to move in that direction. Let’s investigate that direction.
Weatherly, in his work The Ten Words, says,
Marriage is the union of one man with one woman for the purposes of sex fulfillment, the procreation and nurture of children, and the completion of the basic development and expression of personality through intimate communication and interaction with another human being enough like him/herself to be congenial, and sufficiently different to be enduringly attractive and stimulating to the point of exciting him/her toward the fullest and richest possible realization and employment of his/her potentialities as a person.
Whew! Don’t you love clear thinking?. In short (if you can shorten that at all) Weatherly agrees with me – marriage is when people are joined at the heart!
Spend Time Choosing
In order to be joined at the heart, those contemplating marriage should spend large amounts of time selecting a mate. There is great depth of truth in the experience of a young seminary grad, who was to conduct his first marriage ceremony. He asked a retired pastor what advice he’d give. The senior pastor said, If, in the middle of the ceremony you forget the words, just quote the first passage of scripture in your mind. The young pastor did forget; the first words that came to mind came stumbling out; Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.
Andy Capp’s wife, Flo was listening to a young lass. She couldn’t make up her mind about the right fella. She asked how it was with Flo and Andy. Love at first sight, dear, said Flo, My own fault for not taking another look.
It pays to spend a long time courting. It’s a little like deep-sea fishing; you never know what you’ve got until you get it in the boat.