November 20, 2012

Proverbs 2:17 who has left the partner of her youth
and ignored the covenant she made before God.

This particular passage, and several more like it, focus on the wayward wife, but they apply equally to the wandering husband. I am reminded of the statement of my wife’s great aunt who said, “Young people today divorce so casually. I never considered divorce. Murder, yes; divorce, no.” Of course she was joking about murder, but it is all too true that society has become entirely too accepting of divorce. A major reason for that is in the second half of this verse: we have forgotten that marriage is a covenant before, and really with, God. That’s why Jesus said, “What God has joined together, let man not separate.” (Matthew 19: 6) I do a lot of weddings, and I require some premarital counseling beforehand, so I talk about this a lot. Very few of the couples I marry are Christians, but frankly, few Americans enter into marriage as Christians. They choose their partners with little or no thought of God, and the results are obvious. Marriage was indeed instituted by God, both to provide a foundation for society and a stable environment for raising children and, quite frankly, because men and women need each other. A man is woefully unbalanced without a woman as a life partner, and a woman is equally unbalanced in the opposite direction. When we fail to recognize that, and especially when we think that our spouse is there simply to “meet my needs,” (rather than it being entirely mutual) then we get into a lot of trouble. My experience, backed up by a lot of psychological research, is that the more we focus on my needs, my satisfaction, the less happiness and true satisfaction we experience. We aren’t to ignore our own needs, but the more we are focused on ourselves, the less happy we are.

Obviously, I could go on at great length about this! From over 43 years of personal experience at this point, and from having observed countless other marriages, I am strongly confirmed in the idea that I had at the point I got married, that marriage is the biggest job of our lives, but it carries the greatest rewards. The problem is, fewer and fewer people are willing to work at it, so they miss the rewards. I find that communication issues are often a problem, but that the root issue is self-centeredness. I have yet to find a couple that was unable to work our their problems if they were centered on God. At the time I got married, frankly, God was not a priority for me, though I didn’t recognize it at that point. As I have made Him my first priority and my wife my first responsibility, the blessings have just piled up, and today our marriage is the envy of all around us. As a marriage coun­selor, my message is that anyone can have just as good a marriage, but they have to start with the foundation of a covenant before God.

Father, thank You indeed for how you have blessed us so abundantly with marriage. Thank You for the partner You have given me, and for how beautifully we complete each other. Help me communicate Your plans for marriage effectively to more and more people, so that the devil may be defeated in more and more families, for their blessing and Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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