Kody & Liz and Austin and Kelsi --Newly-Wedded
Following their greeting the congregants while standing beside the Pastor, Associate Pastor Amanda Patton (retired) invited the newlyweds to dinner at her daughter’s home. A happy afternoon followed; complete with an impromptu wedding cake. Later the newlyweds returned to their suburban Belleville bedroom-with-kitchen-privileges, convinced that homes like theirs form the cornerstone of the nation. That was Spring, 1947,shortly after World War Two and we were happy to be together, although BLT sandwiches were the best we could afford at times. Following our military time, we struggled with low income jobs, major health problems and the demands of higher education. Four years into marriage we bought our first car, had our first baby, and simultaneously received that coveted first degree.
Since then, we have observed an increaseingly mobile society decentralize our nation’s families, disconnecting many from their moral moorings. We began as two, in-creased to four, then six. Time watched us transition to nine with a tenth expected and one depart into heaven.
These were years of watching eroding and warping family values, when a quarter-million unwed mothers annually averaged sixteen years of age, forty to sixty percent pregnant on their wedding day. The widening stream of marital melancholy broadened and deepened into an overflowing torrent of personal grief, marital instability, abuse and mayhem.
Many Christians no longer viewed marriage as viable, with little insight into biblical marriage and family life. One troubled teenager confessed,
“I married in haste, and I’m regretting it in leisure. I am seventeen and a half years old. I am five feet ten inches tall. I weigh one hundred forty-five pounds. Physically, I am a woman. And I would have to say – I did say, over and over-that when I married Bill … at age sixteen years and five months, I was mature.”
Marriage follows a courtship that calls for a recipe requiring three ingredients to be anything more than a half-baked cake:
1) Preparation. Look before you leap! Many people prepare better for their driver’s license than for their marriage license.
2) Commitment. The right kind of court-ships do not dock in Reno, meaning that a serious relationship must have a true commitment that results in a mutual covenant.
3) Faith. True marriage builds on a foundation of faith that reaches upward into a triangle that puts God at the apex, where he alone adds the sacredness needed in every wedding vow.
One cannot make too much preparation in readying to commit one’s self. Simply said, one needs to look before leaping. Humpty Dumpty in LOOKING THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS reproached Alice for her rate of growth. “I never asked about growing,” exclaimed Alice indignantly!
“Too proud?” inquired Humpty Dumpty. “I mean,” Alice responded, “that one cannot help growing old.”
“One can’t, perhaps, but two can,” came the reply, and here is the Ode to Marriage, beautiful and true; “two can.”
Universal, compulsory, standardized views of marriage encourage today’s youth to marry and to value themselves primarily for marriageability, but many waste their energy by valuing themselves only by marital rating and adjustment. Couples contemplating marriage will, however, take comfort knowing Metropolitan Life Insur-ance reported four times as many bachelors die of tuberculosis as married men, three-to-four times as many die of influenza and pneumonia. Widowers and divorced men remain three times more accident prone than husbands.
Jackie Loughery. 1952 Miss America, revealed the innermost aspiration of most young women when she confessed,
“I concentrate on my acting career and hope everyone will forget that I once won a beauty contest. Although getting ahead in show business is my main interest in life, I know in my heart—like all women—that a career at best is a poor substitute for a loving husband.”
Comedian Jack Durant advised Las Vegas visitors to marry early in the day so a divorce would not ruin their whole day. there is more to life than marriage and more to marriage than sex, and some should not marry until they change, but should the church accept divorce?
Paul’s interpretation of Jesus is, “Let everyone lead the life which the Lord has assigned to him, in which God has called him. This is my rule in all the churches” (I Cor. 7:17). The Church needs to be less negative with divorced people and far more positive about premarital preparation.
Christian marriage brings two people for-saking all others and themselves, to commit to each other permanently. The Old Testament allowed divorce only because of the madness of men’s hearts (cf Mt. 19:1-15 JBP).
The issue was not the divorce per se; under discussion was the man’s role in marriage. Jesus expected the man to make a commitment to his partner that went further than burned toast. Marriage without commitment provides a contract but builds no re-lationship. Contrary to common practice, Jesus protected the women and children, both in and out of marriage. Rabbi Hillel allowed divorce for any cause and Rabbi Shammai allowed it only in for unchastity. The Jews were divided on the issue, but Jesus never veered from his concept of commitment.
“Is divorce too easy?” writer Howard Whitman asked a judge. “I think marriage is too easy,” the judge replied.
Commitment to one’s marriage becomes an act of obedience to God. Although most people are capable of marriage, not many are prepared for it, as Jesus implied: “It is not everybody who can live up to this” replied Jesus, ‘—only those who have a special gift. For some are incapable of marriage from birth, some are made incapable by the actions of men, and some have made for themselves so for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven. Let the man who can accept what I have said accept it” (Mt. 19:12 JBP).
MOST WEDDING VOWS SAY, “What God has joined together, let no man put asunder.” Christian marriage builds a three-fold relationship that is social, physical, and spiritual. Parenthood provides fulfillment for the physical needs of marriage and the human task of replenishing the earth. As a law of creation, marriage remains open to all.
From a Christian perspective, the spiritual principle holds: only a total and absolute commitment fulfills the marriage ideal (I Cor. 7:3-4). Ideally, a couple entrusts to each other the very best of what they themselves are, all that they may become, and they leave no back doors open. While society holds the door open for all to marry, not all should marry, not without making some changes.
Christian marriage is a miracle of God. It requires partnership with God as the medi-ator. There can be no ideal marriage with a selfish spouse. Marriage means a lifetime of sharing love unselfishly, concerning itself with the spouse as unconditionally as with one’s own self.
There can be no ideal marriage with a spouse mocking the marriage-bond by sipping irresponsibly from the cup of love. Such sin only adds misery to the marriage; meaninglessness to men, worthlessness to women, and casualty to children. Thinking of the immature, Rosalind Russell once quipped, Too many youngsters are setting out on the matrimonial seas before they have learned basic seamanship.”
The church that takes divorce seriously will constructively work at preparing couples for marriage. When a Christian and a non-believer marry, conflicts of faith just will naturally result (I Cor. 7:32-35). When a Christian single dates anyone s/he would not wish to marry, s/he risks emotional involvement that often leads to serious marital conflict of interest. Churches that take seriously the causes of divorce will take even more seriously the needs for preparation for marriage, since insufficient preparation is a major cause of divorce. As suggested earlier, a driver’s license seem-ingly requires more preparation than a marriage license .
Religious faith pffers another key factor. Some say couples have a six-hundred per-cent better chance to succeed when they attend the same church and when they take their religious faith seriously. Others claim common interests improve one’s chances by fifteen percent However, the divorce rate is said to increase nine times when the couple is acquainted fewer than six months.
Finance and Sex each contribute signify-cantly to marital bliss, or failure. Whether a man winds up with a nest egg or a goose egg may well depend upon the chick he marries. Dr. Irving Sands concluded that premarital sex by females blighted their emotions. A certain gossip columnist reported, “For about fifteen years I have been the confidant of /broadway abnd Hollywood actors and actresses who have opportunities to live a promiscuous … life. And some of them … to the hilt … But when they trust you and let down their hair, they will confess how frustrating and unsatisfying it all is.”
The sex impulse involves the deepest emotional levels and cannot be measured by an IBM computer. Without minimizing the physical side of marriage, the marital re-lationship depends more on the merger of one spirit with the other, than upon glandular satisfaction. This suggests compatibility depends more upon emotion-al satisfaction than upon sexual adjustment.
Immaturity provides a powerful area of marital stress. When emotional adjust-ments are poor, sex problems become exaggerated. “What’s Mrs. Monday kicking about,” Mr. Monday asks. “She’s getting her share. I’m providing her a good income and paying the blls. Does she want the world with a picket fence around it.”
Marriage entitles Mrs. Monday to emotional stability with economic support, a normal sex life and children, companionship and normal social interaction. If Mr. Monday has no will to provide them, he has no right to marry. Even before marriage, experience suggests emotionally heathy girls usually reject sex without love and that persistent petting does exist among those most neurotic.
Looking back; we see our preparation and commitment would have been inadequate without a strong faith. Ideal marriage becomes a conspiracy with God. Greatness did not come to Moses by accident. His parents conspired with God (trusted in time of trouble) and birthed a son through whom God could initiate the Exodus. Giving personal priority to God’s will and faithfully maintaining one’s relationship with God does much to build a lasting relationship (I Cor. 7:29-31). Successful marriages seldom happen by accident.
Successful marital partners strive consistently for excellency of self: “Make love your aim,” advised Paul (I Cor. 13). There can be no conspiring with God without worship-ping together--regularly. The couple that marries for keeps will avoid the obvious dangers of falling out of love.
When God holds his rightful place in the marriage, the two equals can submit equally and mutually. Husbands will love their wives realistically, but sacrificially, purposefully, willfully and absolutely (Eph. 5:22-31). Wives will be subject to, but never inferior to, their husbands. He is subject to, but not superior to, his wife. The law legalizes marriage and provides a protective environment for procreation, but marital stay-ability comes only through God’s presence to make the relationship a mutual journey of faith.
The marriage that puts God first becomes a quest with each spouse walking the High-way of the Kingdom of God. Without God, marriage as man’s masterpiece easily crumbles into a meaningless muddle that lacks in preparation, in commitment, and in faith with which to maintain it.
This is walkingwithwarner
remembering the three to twelve months Medical expertise promised my bride of four months. God alone transformed months into years, until they became 70.5 years and he honored her “I do” and agreeably called her home_____