Ruminations on Scripture and Marriage

As I sit here thinking, the word of G-d came to me like water to a thirsty man. I wondered, wounded soul and all, what it is that G-d thinks about marriage. Without looking in the bible I remember that G-d divorced Israel, but He did so when they were utterly corrupt, going after foreign gods like an animal in heat. Yet, he kept His word, kept His promise to His beloved Israel. He brought them back and they became a nation again. No other nation once lost to history has ever come back from the grave, yet Israel did. And if the comparison holds, that is room for rejoicing for (our) marriages.

If you believe as I believe that obedience to G-d is the plumb line of your life, a line you will not, cannot cross because obedience is tied to your very salvation (not in the sense that obedience earns salvation), but you obey because He saved you, then scripture is like water for life. Water is a necessity because we cannot live without it. Why then do we allow so many things to overrule walking in obedience?

G-d’s word clearly states that we (believers) must…

With all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

Ephesians 4:2-3

Yet, many people allow their marriage to disintegrate even while one of the partners desperately wants it to work. He, or she brings home marriage books and suggests book studies, or finds a counselor only to be rebuffed, or if they go, to quit after one or a few sessions. We are asked by G-d, our creator to…

…over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

Colossians 3:14

This is a way that we should live, in love unafraid, in love without guilt or remorse for past events we cannot change, or which we did not agree to. We do, however, have a choice in who we obey and how we express that obedience. So, as Paul writes,

… the text also applies to each of you individually: let each man love his wife as he does himself, and see that the wife respects her husband.

Ephesians 5:33

These commands are not choices we would naturally make, why else would G-d command that a man loves his wife, while she respects him? From the majority of men honor, duty, devotion, and respect come as naturally as breathing, but love is a choice. For most women love is as natural as breathing. Women are more driven by relationships than men, and though men form relationships it is more in line with a duty we perform; like jobs or clubs or organizations joined.

Men must love.

Women must respect.

Both seem to be at odds with our natural inclinations, so G-d had to make sure we understood both ends of the spectrum; love AND respect.  Yet, there are other commands regarding marriage which are equally as important, especially regarding disposition of marriage.  God commands we do not divorce.

To those who are married I have a command, and it is not from me but from the Lord: a woman is not to separate herself from her husband.

1 Corinthians 7:10

Yet, this is exactly what is happening. Obedience is sacrificed on the altar of self. Please understand, I am not referring to the worse cases one can imagine, but to seemingly good marriages when one partner decides to walk away, often with no obvious cause.

What is the answer to this perplexing conundrum wrought of marriage in the modern era? I once suggested a group or grass roots rebellion against too easy divorce and argued for a return to fault-based divorce. (Edit: Since this writing many pro-marriage, G-d centered marriage ministries have proliferated on the internet; it is a matter of choosing wisely). These ministries may not decrease epidemic divorce rates, but would serve to encourage those who genuinely desire to obey the L0rd in life and marriage.  G-d designed marriage for the family; one man, one woman, (children) for life.

Dr. Ramón Argila de Torres y Sandoval

Edited: September 06, 2020

 

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