Monday, January 5, 2009

God’s Design for Marriage

Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.
Genesis 2:24-25

These two verses are commentary on God's design for marriage. The outline is not my own. I began utilizing it in counseling couples years ago... it comes to me courtesy of the ministry of Chuck Swindoll and Insight for Living. But it serves as a clear vision of marriage in an age where it is being brutally re-defined to mean virtually nothing.

This Creation commentary shows that God designed marriage between the opposite sexes. It involves one man and one woman. Any other attempt by any other group, no matter how disenfranchised it claims to be, is purely outside the divine design for marriage. It is the biblical teaching on marriage that counters the arguments of proponents of same-sex marriage.

Between the man and the woman, there are four important elements that help a marriage to thrive:

SEVERANCE. The text says a man leaves his father and mother. A new marriage creates a new family unit, and the relationship with the old family changes. If either partner in a marriage fails to "leave" emotionally or physically, and join fully in the new marriage, it is in trouble.

PERMANENCE. The marriage relationship is initiated with the call to "hold fast" to one another. The idea is to be joined together in a permanent fashion. This is not a temporary relationship. This is one reason why I will not perform a wedding ceremony in which a pre-nuptial agreement has been signed. That is nothing more than a commitment to "maybe". The design for marriage is for a man and wife to hold fast to one another.

UNITY. The two become "one flesh". There is more here than just a sexual reference. This new couple is the beginning of a new family unity. The definition of marriage is "oneness", which is why all their lives this newly married couple must strive to live as two people becoming one in their marriage. It is not easy. It is always challenging. It is wonderfully rewarding. And it is a lifelong unity that just gets better as two people stop going their own way, and head together into obedience to a loving God.

INTIMACY. The man and his wife were naked and were not ashamed. Interestingly, the first response of the two of them upon disobedience to God was to "feel naked" and ashamed and attempt to cover their bodies. In the way their marriage was originally created, they had absolute freedom to be themselves without shame. Sin disturbs this natural intimacy. Of course, a high expression of this in Christian marriage involves a satisfying sex life. But that is the result of the deepest intimacies of soul that two people share together. And I testify that in every respect, this intimacy gets better over the years and decades of commitment together.

No comments: