We’ll call her… ‘Hannah.’ ‘Hannah’ does not want to get married. To her, marriage means heart-wrenching hurt, and she does not want to experience that hurt again. You see, ‘Hannah’s’ mom and dad were married and had her. Sometime later, they divorced. Dad remarried and had three children with his new wife. Mom married a man with three children from a previous marriage. So, ‘Hannah’s’ family consists of three step-siblings [not related by blood], three half-siblings [related by blood], and she’s in the middle. Her step siblings live with her mom and have a father. Her half-siblings live with her dad and have a mother. She lives with grandma. Dad does not cherish her, mom ignores her. To ‘Hannah’ marriage hurts.
We can call him… ‘Henry.’ ‘Henry’ does not want to get married either. To him, marriage means bitter arguments, and he does not want a wife who only argues. You see, ‘Henry’s’ mom and dad were married for many years and had several children. Then, dad’s wandering eye latched onto a [non-blood-related] sister-in-law. Dad divorced mom; sister-in-law divorced husband, and they married each other. Now, ‘Henry’s’ dad loves him, but his new mom not so much. This leads to arguments between mom and dad. Mom and dad grow so frustrated with each other that they yell at their kids, ignore their physical needs, and do not tend to their emotional needs. To ‘Henry,’ marriage means arguing.
‘Hannah’ and ‘Henry’s’ experience echoes the all-too-common attitude of our society: Marriage is not good. Many associate marriage with hurt and heartache and division. So, marriage is put off in order to avoid pain. The hurt inflicted and the reaction to that hurt was never part of God’s plan.
God makes that clear by leading us back to what he intends marriage to be. [S]ome Pharisees came and tested [Jesus] by asking, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?” Really, the Pharisees have no intention of learning. This calculated question attempts to steer Jesus into a contradiction. Either Jesus (1) rejects God’s institution of lifelong marriage or (2) he disagrees with Moses, the God-approved and revered teacher of the Pharisees. Yet, Jesus is not about to share his opinion. Instead, he returns to the written Word: “What did Moses command you?”
They said, “Moses permitted a man to write a certificate of divorce and send her away.” That’s true; Moses did allow Old Testament Israelites to file for divorce (Deuteronomy 24:1-4) and God did not stop him. Notice, though, God allowed divorce; he did not establish or command divorce.
The opposite is true! God instituted (or: ‘set up’) marriage in Eden (Genesis 2:18-24). Later, God protected marriage at Mount Sinai (Exodus 20:14). “But at the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female.’” Just think about that. Man and woman are similar, but different. They look physically alike, but have different features. They both problem solve, but reach different solutions. They have emotions, but comfort in different ways. God makes men different emotionally, physically, and mentally. God makes women different emotionally, physically, and mentally. When you put them together, those differences become compatible. “‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one.” Husband and wife care for one another with a single-minded focus. Men receive emotional, physical, and mental blessings from a wife. Women receive emotional, physical, and mental blessings from a husband. What is important the wife becomes important to the husband. What is important to the husband becomes important to the wife. This companionship is a blessing. It gives the security and the commitment so many crave. God set up something good (Genesis 1:31).
The Pharisees’ question is all wrong. The question is not: “Can you divorce?” Rather, “If God did not create divorce, then who did?”
That question resounds to this very day. When you look at what God intends marriage to be, you quickly reach the conclusion that God did not create problems through marriage. Husband and wife transform each other’s weaknesses into strengths. Marriage is about how much you give. The reason ‘Hannah’ and ‘Henry’ have such a low view of marriage is because their parents demanded to receive.
The number one reason marriages end in divorce is because at least one spouse is selfish. Jesus makes that clear: It was because your hearts were hard that Moses wrote you this law.” Husbands were bringing home mistresses. They were blowing money at the bar. So, God allowed divorce in order to protect the innocent party. The husband had already terminated his marriage and God allowed the wife to find commitment in a new spouse. The problem is not God, the problem is us.
If marriage feels unwanted, then the question must be: “As a husband, am I loving my wife as my own body?” (Ephesians 5:28) “As a wife, do I respect my husband like I want to be respected?” (Ephesians 5:22) “As a Christian, do I treasure the blessings God sets up through marriage?” (Hebrews 13:4) When our attention drift from God’s intention for marriage, then it is we who introduce hurt and heartache into our relationships. Our selfishness actually robs us of the joy God intends marriage to give and be. Marriage is ‘good’ because God made it good. It is our selfishness which separates what God joins together.
The way to reverse this attitude is to let God’s Word reverse our hearts. The motivation to love selflessly comes only when we see how selflessly Christ loved us. When we ignored his Word, we separated ourselves from his loving arms. We wandered, chasing after the short-term pleasures of this world. Pleasures of commitment without marriage. Pleasures of domineering and belittling our spouse. Pleasures of transforming relationships only to benefit us. Those pleasures only fill us up with joy for the moment, but never give real happiness.
God had every right to sign a certificate of divorce and send us away (read Isaiah 50). Instead, he sought us. Jesus gave his entire life on the cross, putting his needs below our wandering needs. Losing his life because he knew we needed life. He cared for us that he drinks God’s wrath. Raised from the dead, he raises us to be his bride, to live with him in his kingdom forever.
Child-like faith grasps the selfless love of God. That is why Child-Like Faith is The Foundation of Marriage. It grasps God’s revealed blessings that he set up. Your faith takes God’s intentions for marriage to heart. You then take those intentions and apply them to your marriage—or to your views of marriage. Remember, what is inside of you will be seen through your words and actions. Faith promotes God’s revealed blessing.
The way you treat marriage will reveal to others the blessings God gives through marriage. It starts with you. [Jesus] answered, “Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her. And if she divorces her husband and marries another man, she commits adultery.” Remember, Scripture gives two reasons for divorce: (1) marital unfaithfulness (Matthew 19:9) and (2) malicious desertion (1 Corinthians 7:15). The one who had an affair or leaves a spouse breaks the oneness of marriage. The innocent person did not end the marriage, the aggressor did. God protects the innocent by allowing them to find commitment with someone else. Those who break their marriage commit adultery. God’s judgment is reserved for those who toss aside his command, break their promises, and share their body with someone else.
Christians who have fallen into this sin repent. (1) They admit their selfishness. (2) They receive God’s forgiveness. (3) They turn from past behavior. The divorced might reconcile with previous spouse. If they do get remarried, they do so knowing full well that God does not desire them to get divorced again. Their second marriage would seriously treat their union as the lifelong union God desires. Faith promotes God’s revealed blessings. Others see it and carry a Godly view of marriage.
That is important today. Many live together before marriage, purchasing a home, sharing a bank account, and even raising a family. Do you wonder why that is? During the 1980s and 1990s the divorce rate stood high (https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/dvs/divorce_rates_90_95_99-11.pdf). Nearly half of those who could marry today came from divorced households. That means, you have a generation who have experienced hurt, heartache, and arguments. Either (1) their parents were divorced and they do not want to bring that hurt on their children or (2) they do not to reintroduce that hurt into their own lives. Delaying marriage is meant to insulate and protect.
We do not help when we close our mouths and say nothing. We might say: “Well, times have changed.” Times might have changed, but God’s Word has not. The blessings he showers in marriage then are the same blessings he gives today. Searching for those blessings outside of marriage will never bring lasting commitment. So, God uses you (and me) to share his blessings with others. People were bringing little children to Jesus to have him touch them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” If others are to know, learn, and live marriage, then they “must be brought” to know and see what Godly marriage is.
Some children do not treasure marriage because their parents did not treasure marriage. If we do not model God-pleasing marriage, then how can our children hope to live God-pleasing marriage? Regardless of your age, you can share with others the blessings you received in marriage. You can highlight how selfishness creeps in to destroy union. You can help others set their sights on the selfless giving. People need to hear God’s intentions of marriage. Not just that, people need Godly examples in our world today.
Look, you (or your friend) might be apprehensive of marriage. Maybe your parents did not shine the best example. That should not have been. But, do not remain stuck under the shadow of the past. Living together does not bring more commitment. You can still leave at any time! It will still hurt you and hurt children! The way to prevent that hurt is to set your attentions on God-pleasing marriage. See the myriad of blessings God gives. Be different; set a new trend by turning to the Word.
Families brought their children to Jesus. He took the children in his arms, put his hands on them and blessed them. And Jesus blesses you too. You (and I) do not approach him physically. No, we approach Jesus in his Word. Set your heart and mind on the Word and see how he blesses you through marriage. He gives you security. He gives you companionship He gives you the satisfaction in trusting others.
Many will see marriage as something ‘not good.’ Yet, you know the truth. Jesus reveals God’s good intentions for marriage. Change a broken view by viewing the Word. As explore God’s intentions, you see how Child-Like Faith is The Foundation of Marriage. Faith grasps God’s revealed blessings Faith promotes God’s revealed blessings.