What Is Marriage? *
Is it a contract between two people of opposite sex? Is it a partnership of those two to go through life as a team? Is it a legal & religious institution; or a paradise of physical pleasure for two people in love? Is it a proposition where “what she feeds me I will swallow, where he leads me I will follow (or - what he feeds me I will swallow, where she leads me I will follow?”) Is the American philosophy and psychology of marriage working? If so, why are so many folks avoiding marriage and/or getting divorced?
My wife & I have been married for 38 years this month, July 2011. Neither of us were “hippies” as such but we have followed one of their key ideas – “make love not war.” Now as concerned with long term marriage, what does that mean? First the negative: (WAR in the house). It only makes sense that “impurity, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, anger, selfishness, & drunkenness” equals war. If the partnership has a lot of those factors it can’t last. Second the positive: (LOVE in the house). It only makes sense that “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, & self-control” equals a setting for long-term marriage. Those factors make a climate for happiness and goals to be achieved. Such as establishing careers, making & raising babies, building the house/paying off the mortgage, becoming rooted in a community, etc, etc. Basically this generally describes most people’s idea of happiness & success.
Is there some magic or secret to having that “love” in the house and at the same time keeping the “war” out? We believe there is. Is it an accident that those 9 factors above – love, joy, peace, etc are a word-for-word quote from the New Testament? Galatians 5:22 says “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.” And those factors are an excellent & natural enhancer of marriage. They also purge out the negative stuff. And that impurity, sorcery, enmity, strife, - list of heart burn is also a direct quote from Galatians chapter 5.
It’s a sad fact of our modern day & age that the youth culture generally shuns true religion. Hollywood also shuns it. And the U.S. university spirit is also anti-Christianity. Successful marriage is in trouble because young people are programmed to reject Christ and His Spirit. Too many folks are looking for the worldly spirit. (see “The World” Link 27). But God calls us to his salvation; then His Spirit comes to us and into our homes. It’s a better deal by far.
As far as the title “What is Marriage?” this short essay is not especially geared to answer that question. But it does offer an answer to the question, “how can we make it work better & longer?” That answer is to be Christian & ask for the Holy Spirit – Luke 11:13 (And don’t worry about being labeled charismatic. They don’t have a monopoly on the H.S.) Choose Jesus – he is alive & His Spirit will bless your marriage. See also 1 Corinthians chapter 7 & 13 for marriage info.
*The "What is _____?" series were written about '09.
Many other Titles: www.gospelnotes.net - link 1 is Index * * F. J. Stone * *