Friday, March 29, 2013

Redefining Marriage

Despite being a "country" pastor, I do keep up with the trending topics of the day. One such topic is how the traditional view of marriage does not fit with the current (seeming) majority mindset. I say seeming only because media, being what it is, more than likely does not give us the full truth.

So anyway, I know in the past the Church has not been exactly Christ-like in its approach on how to deal with some of the current issues concerning marriage. Terms like "close minded" and "bigoted" seem to get tossed around. I won't say whether I agree or disagree with those assesments simply because the Church isn't exactly this monolythic entity that speaks for all Christians everywhere.

But then there have been voices who claim to represent the Church and Christians that compromising to fit the culture is acceptable, some even going so far as to call anyone who holds firm to biblical teaching "toxic". If you have read my blog for any length of time or know me in person I think you know what I believe about that.

Here's where I might surprise some people though. I am all for a redefinition of marriage. I have thought long and hard about this, considered what my own experiences have been, and most importantly looked to God to see what His opinion is. Since He instituted marriage I think He ought to be the final authority.

Nevertheless, I am in full support of a redefinition of marriage.

Marriage, in both the Christian and non-Christian world tends to gravitate toward it being an institution that satisfies the needs of both husband and wife and seeks to fulfill their own personal happiness. I think this is absolutely wrong.

Marriage is not about my happiness being fulfilled, nor is it about my wife's happiness being fulfilled. We are both happy in our marriage to each other, but to be honest with you there are times where we are anything but happy with ourselves or with each other. What is my happiness, my own personal fulfillment or gratification, or what is hers, if all marriage is is to fulfill our own desires? It would be extremely selfish, self-centered, and we might end up doing things to each other, and saying things to each other that ultimately would undermine our marriage and drive us apart.

Marriage is also not about love as it is commonly understood. The Greeks had four words for love, we have one that is supposed to cover all four.

Marriage that is based on love should not be an emotionally charged love that says "I will love you as long as I get a good feeling out of it." That is an abhorrent definition. Rather, I choose to love my wife. I made that choice before I married her, and I affirmed it the day we married, and since then I have woken up finding it easier and easier to make that choice. She makes that choice with me as well. She doesn't always have nice feelings toward me, but she chooses to love me despite her feelings sometimes.

I think we're getting that marriage is not about seeking our own desire. There is one more important aspect that a redefinition of marriage needs though, and that is marriage needs to bring about the kind of completion that God intended.

When God created Adam, the lack of a woman wasn't an oversight. Eve came along later after Adam realized that no other creature could be a suitable helpmate for him, so he would appreciate her as a completion of himself and see a more complete view of God.

I have shortcomings in my life, in my personality, that doesn't make it easy all the time for people to get to know me, and I am aware of this. So God sent me my wife, Buffy, who is unlike me in every good way possible. She is warm, outgoing, extremely personable and bubbly. Anybody who spends even just a little time with her knows she is a great person to be around. She has a gift of conecting with people that I don't.

With her, people better see God in us. I could not accomplish this with any of the guys I count among my friends, although I cherish those friendships deeply. But with her, we can together become the one flesh God designed marriage to be. That means too often I need to set aside my selfishness. Much like Christ set aside all of His rights for us.

So, maybe it's not so much a redefinition of marriage as might be understood. Maybe it's a restatement of God's intention of marriage. Either way, one thing is clear. Marriage is not something of our own making. If it were there would be nothing good about it.

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