“The Importance of Marriage”
by Larry Thorson
The Importance of Marriage
What is your most valuable possession? I believe that those who are Christian would first respond that it is their gift of salvation and would agree with Jesus’ words in Matthew 16:26 questioning the profit of gaining everything this world has to give, only to lose their own soul. There is no question about that being a losing strategy.
Let me suggest to you, especially those who are married, the second most valuable possession, second only to your salvation, is your spouse. Some of you may be uncomfortable with the notion that I consider your spouse a possession, but I am not saying that he or she is a thing. They are only a possession in the sense of exclusiveness. It is similar to the Song of Solomon saying, “My beloved is mine, and I am his” (3:16; 6:3; 7:10). Certainly in the marriage relationship, we individually possess that other person in a way that is exclusive to all other relationships. Though jealousy can be an awful sin when its reasons are unfounded, it also can be a “God given” warning sign that something is wrong in that exclusive relationship of marriage.
The Scriptures give us wisdom and invite us to care for that most sacred of relationships. Here I share a few of my favorite portions. The first is Proverbs 5:15-19. I won’t take the space to quote this rather long portion, but there is merit to looking it up yourself in your favorite translation and letting the Holy Spirit speak to your heart. Concentrate on the various metaphors which are used here. Scripture is using the language of poetry to tell us to be faithful in our marriage. I particularly like the reminder of God’s watchfulness in verse 21, it reminds me of that old Sunday school chorus:
Be careful little eyes what you see…
Be careful little hands what you do…
Be careful little feet where you go,
Because the Father up above is looking down in love.
The second portion is found Ecclesiastes 9:9, just the first few words: “Live joyfully with the wife whom you love all the days of your life….” Each life is full of joy and sorrows (a theme of the book) and here we are commanded to “live joyfully” in marriage. Perhaps a joyless marriage should be a warning to any married couple.
The third portion is Malachi 2:14-16 (again, read it for yourselves). What does it say about the “wife of your youth” (vv. 14 & 15, cf. Prov. 5:18)? How is she to be treated? Review Malachi 2:10-12, “Judah has profaned the Lord’s holy institution which He loves….” One of Malachi’s themes is that of covenant breaking of any kind. I wonder what God thinks of our marriage situation in our changing social view of marriage today (no fault divorce, open marriages, multiple spouses, gay marriage, etc.)?
From where did marriage begin? In Genesis 2:18-25, we can clearly see that marriage was a gift from God to his human creation. Verse 24 states: “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” Perhaps you’ve preached from this verse and had these three words as your main points: the exclusiveness of marriage means that we must (1) “leave”; (2) “cleave” and (3) “weave” with that other person like we do with no other person in this world. It is also clearly referring to the marriage union of two separate genders. It is difficult to overlook this conclusion because we find that Jesus supports it in the Gospels (Matthew 19:4-6; Mark 10:6-9).
In Ephesians we also find the Apostle Paul telling us thick-headed husbands to, “love your wife” three times (5:25, 28, and 33) and yet many preachers beat the drum on the “submission” theme in verse 22. If we back up one verse, we find that “submission” is a two way street: “submitting to one another in the fear of the Lord” (v. 21). And again in verse 31, we find Paul supporting the words from Genesis and Jesus regarding the importance of marriage.
From this I would conclude that marriage was God’s idea, it is to be an exclusive relationship, and it is to be jealously protected by both the husband and wife. If you are married, I pray for your marriage, but also I encourage all officers (married and single) to pray for the marriages of those people for whom you are responsible as a corps officer. And “therefore, what God has joined together, let no man separate” (Matthew 19:6).