Marriage; April 26, 2018

Malachi 2:16 “I hate divorce,” says the Lord God of Israel, “and I hate a man’s covering himself with violence as well as with his garment,” says the Lord Almighty.
So guard yourself in your spirit, and do not break faith.

The Church today seems to have forgotten this is in the Bible! This speaks not only to divorce as such, but to domestic violence as well. That is never God’s plan! When people treat each other as objects for their convenience, all sorts of things go out the window. Verse 14 speaks of the wife as a partner, which connects both to Genesis and to Peter. Genesis records, “The Lord God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.’” (Genesis 2:18) That term, helper, is a very strong word that appears otherwise in the Old Testament either in relation to military action or God’s direct intervention. Such a helper is never to be taken lightly! Then Peter, the only one of the original 12 apostles we are sure was married, comes through with this: “Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.” (1 Peter 3:7) Some women are offended by the use of “weaker,” but context, biology, and simple experience all teach us that simply refers to muscle strength, which was far more important back in the days before powered machinery. God instituted marriage as an equal partnership, with the husband designated as the head for a number of reasons I won’t expand on here. Failure to recognize and act on that results in loss all the way around. Naturally, when such partnership is recognized, violence is out of the question. Paul indicates that such violence is being violent to yourself! (Ephesians 5:28-29)

My wife and I both had the example of Godly parents as we were growing up, never seeing domestic violence but rather respect and affection. That doesn’t mean we didn’t see disagreements and even tears, but we saw people who worked to make their marriages work. That gave us a tremendous advantage. I entered marriage with the expectation that it would be the biggest job of my life, but it would carry the biggest rewards. I was right! Actually, my expectations about marriage made me unwilling to put it off, and I got married at 20. Some people thought we would crash and burn, but that wedding was 49 years ago next month. With that kind of life experience, I have great difficulty empathizing with people who seem bent on divorce. I have seen more tragic results of divorce than I could list, even in my own children. I am convinced there is no such thing as a completely one-sided divorce, but some are certainly weighted to one side or the other. Both partners need to be willing to work at the relationship, and I am deeply blessed to be married to someone who agrees.

Father, thank You indeed, for the partner, the marriage, You have given me. Many of our friends and acquaintances are envious or even downright disbelieving. We are a demonstration that indeed, nothing is too difficult for you – even creating a good marriage! Help us be the example and inspiration You want us to be, so that the works of the devil may be destroyed in many homes and people set free to enjoy all that You intend for them, for 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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