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Sunday, March 22, 2015

Why Marriage Is Important

The title might seem like an exercise in obvious idiocy...marriage is a sacrament, it's a covenant, blah, blah, blah.

But we can hide the meaning behind the screen of words, especially some of the obsolete words from the King James Bible. (Does anyone ever use the word "unto" for anything but a religious reference, outside of direct Scriptural tags?)

I mean, do we really have a feeling for the words "sacrament" and "covenant", outside of their Biblical use?

I suspect not, so let's look at marriage without some of these doodads.

Marriage is a unique relationship. It's intended, and promised at the altar, for a lifetime, beginning when the betrothed are both consenting adults. That means that they may or may not have a significant history together before that day.

In other words, it's a relationship that is completely artificial, no matter how 'natural' and 'right' it may feel. Forget soulmates; whether these exist or not is outside my purview, and we'll leave those metaphorical angels dancing on their pinheads.

Our other significant relationships are natural. The bind us through genetics, shared history from an early age, shared culture...they are the arms and bosom from which we spring. We have a natural bond with our parents and grandparents and siblings and cousins.

We may hate them, but those bonds, deep down, will still exist in some form, and are the stuff of legend, myth, and bad TV movies.

But we're supposed to put marriage, this artificial thing, above them. We're supposed to choose to walk away from nature.

And we're supposed to stick it, through thick and thin, if we lose our health and our money, or if we're rewarded beyond avarice and thereby tempted by the young and beautiful.

We're supposed to keep our allegiance to this construct, this marriage, this promise, even when circumstances change and we don't want to do any such thing.

We're not supposed to leave open an avenue of escape to our original family...home is where they'll always take you in, but they're not supposed to, if we use home as a refuge from our marriage.

And WHY? Why are we called to this? Why does it matter that much?

Why can't we just have  time-limited marriage contracts, drift in and out according to interest level?

Part of it is stability for children...it's an important part, but I don't think it's everything.

EVERYTHING is the keeping of a promise that may be hard to keep, and a promise for which we can lose the reason we made it in the first place.

It's holding onto faith in the dark, that all of this does have a deeper meaning, that the honour of our actions is something more than a flicker between eternity and oblivion.

It's placing ourselves behind and below something else; if we can't serve a spouse, if we can't remain true in a storm, how can we possibly remain true to a God who died on the Cross, and was gone for three hellish days?

If we're 'first' in our hearts in marriage, how can we possibly say "Well, GOD'S really number one!" and have any integrity whatever.

And that, I believe, is why marriage is important. Looping back to the word sacrament, it's supposed to be representative of our relationship with God.

But it's not just a love-love thing. It's also holding on like grim death, in the face of grimmer life.


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This post is linked to Wedded Wednesday, a compendium of really cool posts on marriage. If you click on the logo below, you'll be taken to www.messymarriage.com, which is the springboard to a wealth of information. It's run by Beth Steffaniak, who has a heart for marriage and a soul for God!


  1. Marriage is a beautiful sacrament. It is set under the umbrella of God. He created each of us and when two bond together as one, they become a source of procreation under God. As for me, I married once without God, Jesus, anyone and thing. It was just two young people who were adults but were not committed to Christ. Ten years later, the rough and rocky marriage ended. I stayed that long due to the fact that I believed in marriages that worked. Now I am married after 13 years of being divorced and am a daughter of God, married to a son of God. We came together as 45 year old adults who knew the LORD and have remained under His umbrella doing our best to live a life in peace and love but under His guidance. It is wonderful now...almost 22 years and I could have not asked for a better partner in life.
    Andrew, I do not know if you will receive my response to your comment on Being Woven so I am printing it here: You are not typing incoherently, Andrew. What you say makes sense to me and leads me to prayer. Know that I am lifting you up to your Creator in prayer and He is and will do His will in your life. You are desiring to bring Him the glory and that is what He wants from us.
    and I am Caring through Christ, ~ linda

    1. Linda, thank you for sharing your story. It's hopeful and inspiring!

      And thank you for the prayers. They're needed. Rough days.

  2. Yes, Andrew, how true your words ring in the face of what we must "live" with...disease, illness, whatever - and our vows are "in sickness and in health, 'til..." Yes, I have considered leaving in the face of that illness or whatever it is that we deal with; yet, here I am, still clinging to those words and that sacrament of marriage...'til whatever may be.

    Your words hit home for me; as I know they do for you...your heart and soul show up in your words and I am "hearing" you again!

    Blessings to you in sharing your heart...

    1. Thank you so much, Barbara.

      The important thing is not what we think about, in this case...it's what we do. It's 'being there'.

  3. I definitely agree, Andrew, that marriage is a reflection of our relationship with God. And wholeheartedly agree that if we cannot remain committed to our spouses, then how can we expect to remain faithful to God? These two spheres of relationship are inextricably mingled--God and marriage. But I don't exactly like the term you've used "artificial" for describing marriage. I think that might indicate that something is false, fake or at least not true. I believe that our marriages are formed from two distinct, unrelated or foreign people--not bound by blood. But, in my opinion, that's not necessarily an artificial union. I know what you're trying to say. They are bound together by the commitment rather than the familial connection. One is harder to maintain, for sure, than the other! Thanks for a thought-provoking post, as usual, Andrew!

    1. Yeah, 'artificial' was probably not the best word. Still can't think of exactly the word I'm looking for.

      I did mean that the relationship is not one of blood, but one of deliberate choice...and I wanted to step away from the romantic "made for each other" sighing that can blind so many people to the reality of who they are marrying, or have married.

      Thanks for being here!

    2. Yeah, 'artificial' was probably not the best word. Still can't think of exactly the word I'm looking for.

      I did mean that the relationship is not one of blood, but one of deliberate choice...and I wanted to step away from the romantic "made for each other" sighing that can blind so many people to the reality of who they are marrying, or have married.

      Thanks for being here!

  4. I love history - and history is so full of covenant - like knights to their liege lord, covenants between countries and their people, God to us, husband to wife - all brokenly mirroring God's covenant with us. I like how you redeem the covenant, the importance of keeping faith, that it's just not a feeling - it's a soul commitment - which we are designed to need!

    1. I like that...it's something we're designed to need. Good thought!

      Thanks for bringing it in, and thank you for being here.

  5. You've nailed it once again, Andrew! Marriage is more hard work than just 'heart work.' that commitment to a covenant is so important (and oh, so unnatural, as you point out). I think the beauty of commitment comes from learning to truly put someone above ourselves. It's a lesson I learn and relearn on a continual basis ;).

    1. Yes, learning and relearning are what it's all about. None of this is static...and thank God for that!

      Thanks for being here today.

  6. Thank you again... another post that affirms and encourages on this subject. I love how you are real about the challenges of marriage, and yet also not blinkered by the flimflam of our romance-culture. It's helped to counterbalance some discouragement for me... somehow you are living this and celebrating it right in the middle of it 'not being easy' (understatement). I'm inspired, rather than feeling 'let's leave marriage to the professionals, it's too hard for mere mortals!'

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