Marriage, Divorce, Remarriage: Part I

25 The woman replied, “I know that Mashiach is coming” (that is, “the one who has been anointed”). “When he comes, he will tell us everything.” 26 Yeshua said to her, “I, the person speaking to you, am he.” Yochanan (John) 4: 25, 26

The woman at the well had been married and divorced many times and Yeshua recognized each man as her husband, except the one with whom she was currently living (not her husband).

He told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.”

“I have no husband,” she replied.

Yeshua said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have said is quite true.”

“Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet.” Yochanan (John) 4:17-19

Though she had been divorced a fifth time and was living with a man (not her husband) it is clear from the reading of scripture. Messiah acknowledged that she was NOT married, and had in fact been married five times. He never said she had one husband (her first husband), and He never denied the other men were husbands while she was married to them – He simply said she’d been married five times and her current lover was not her husband.

There are many who say that only one marriage is a marriage and that divorce and remarriage does NOT end the first marriage. Yeshua said [Mattityahu (Matthew) 19:9] that for a man to divorce his wife causes her to commit adultery. Those who believe there is only one marriage use this as a proof text. They say it is adultery because “man’s” divorce does not end a marriage. However, Messiah did NOT say to the woman that she had ONE husband. He said she had had five husbands. What does it mean if not that each one to whom she was married was as much as husband as the first?

To men whose spouse has divorced them, specifically when 2/3’s  of all divorces are initiated by women, being wrongfully divorced does not mean a man cannot remarry if he chooses, BUT this doesn’t mean carte blanch in marriage, divorce, and remarriage. In fact the only way a person may remarry and not call it adultery is if (for the hardness of their heart) they divorce a spouse for having committed adultery, or if an unbelieving spouse divorces them.

Hardness of heart

The higher calling in Messiah Yeshua is forgiveness and restoration! Though one may divorce an adulterous spouse after adultery, because they’ve been deeply hurt by the sexual betrayal, we are called to forgiveness when that adulterous spouse repents. They should be forgiven.

21 Then Kefa (Peter) came up and said to him, “Rabbi, how often can my brother sin against me and I have to forgive him? As many as seven times?” 22 “No, not seven times,” answered Yeshua, “but seventy times seven! [Mattityahu (Matthew) 18]
12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with feelings of compassion and with kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with one another; if anyone has a complaint against someone else, forgive him. Indeed, just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you must forgive. [Kehilah in Colossae (Col) 3]

Yet, with regard to a marriage a man has a duty to obey the L-rd, which includes his treatment of his wife. If it was imagined that a man has not abused his wife (physically, emotionally, verbally) yet acts in such a manner that she does not feel safe, ignoring her need for acceptance and security, this action alone may leave her feeling the only way out is divorce. So, though he is innocent in the divorce, it is reasonable to say that he is guilty in setting the conditions which forced her hand.

To ignore her needs, to not help her feel as if she is the center of his human life (above children, above the job, above all else save the L-rd in his life) he may find himself alone. This does not excuse her divorce – it is still sin and disobedience to the L-rd – rather she should have sought to pray for him in love [Kehilah in Corinth Alef (1 Corinthians 13)]

Why then does Jesus call divorce and remarriage adultery? He never explains why. He simply states it to be so. Are there any exceptions to Christ’s statement? Yes, Yeshua also said,

And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery. (Mattityahu 19:9)

So then ending a marriage to a wife who has been unfaithful is recognized as the only valid reason for divorce. And nowhere in scripture does it ever say that a man whose wife has divorced him means that for him to remarry is adultery. The Bible and Yeshua himself NEVER said this and for “standers” to say it sets a dangerous precedent for they are treading in an area the L-rd condemns.

I Timothy 4:1- 3 The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron. They forbid people to marry …”

While I am not saying those who say they are standers and preach one cannot remarry in light of a dissolved marriage have abandoned the faith, it is clear from the word of G-d what they are saying and what they believe.

 Excuses and Lies

There are Catholics and other faiths, which promote the idea that marriage given NOT under a priest or official of their faith constitutes an invalid marriage. Thus men and women of those faiths use the excuse that they “married themselves,” meaning G-d was not in the marriage. This is a lie.

G-d created marriage in Eden, before Church and State, and therefore He alone officiates at all marriages as a witness to vows made by the couple both to each other and to Him. Marriage was therefore created by G-d for all men and women of all faiths (or lack thereof) as a human institution for all time.

39 A woman is bound to her husband as long as he lives. But if her husband dies, she is free to marry anyone she wishes, but he must belong to the Lord. [Kehillah in Corint Alef (1 Cor) 7]

6 So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” [Mattityahu (Matt) 19:6-7]

11 But if she does, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband. And a husband must not divorce his wife. [Kehillah in Corint Alef (1 Cor) 7 ]

 So, a wife divorcing her husband (except for adultery) is not allowed to marry again. G-d’s word clearly indicates her options; live single the rest of her life, or reconciliation with her former husband (except if an intervening marriage has occurred, more on this later).  Though these options exist, they are not options FOR DIVORCE, since He has clearly commanded that believing men and women DO NOT DIVORCE. If she divorces him for any other reason than adultery, remarriage is not allowed and is called adultery.

Why else and for what reason is the wording in Kehillah in Corinth Alef (1 Cor) 7 so very specific?

10-11 To the married I give this command (not I, but the L-rd): A wife must not separate from her husband. But if she does, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband. And a husband must not divorce his wife.

What command of the Lord is this? Mattityahu 5 and 19 in which the L-rd says one may not divorce except for adultery, so that if a man divorces his wife (except for adultery) he himself (when he remarries) commits adultery, anyone who marries her also commits adultery. It must, however, be noted that the Master never says the opposite. If a woman divorces her husband she causes him to commit adultery, and anyone who marries him commits adultery is not said and it isn’t written. However, the general principle may be applied.

Thus if a believer divorces his or her spouse they cause them to commit adultery. It is clear that they have abrogated his duty to the L-rd and to each other. The divorcing spouse is the cause of the adultery.

Mattityahu 19:9 gives the exception of a man divorcing his wife because of sexual immorality. It does not address a woman divorcing her husband because of sexual immorality. In fact, both passages that give the “exception clause” (i.e. Mattityahu 5:32 & 19:9) end stating adultery has been committed if a divorced woman is married.

. . . And whoever marries a woman who is divorced commits adultery. (Mattityahu 5:32)

. . . And whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery. (Mattityahu 19:9)

Scripture does not give a woman permission to divorce her husband. Even under the law, it was the men who were permitted to divorce their wives (Deuteronomy 24:1; Mattityahu 19:8), not the women. The P’rushim (Pharisees) asked Yeshua, “…why did Moshe give the commandment that a man should hand his wife a get and divorce her?” (Mattityahu 19:7). Yeshua’s reply is succinct and cuts to the heart, ““Moshe allowed you to divorce your wives because your hearts are so hardened. But this is not how it was at the beginning. ”

Some might argue that a woman has the right to divorce her husband if he is sexually immoral. Scripture nowhere says any such thing. Jesus said no such thing.

Moreover, the very passages that would most likely be used to justify such a conclusion (Mattityahu 5:32 & 19:9), end stating anyone who marries a divorced woman commits adultery. Therefore, Scripture teaches that a divorced woman involves herself in adultery whether her husband was sexually immoral or not. Because, Jesus says repeatedly (three times, Mattityahu 5:32; 19:9; Lukas – Luke – 16:18) marrying a divorced woman constitutes adultery.

No matter the reason she was divorced with one narrow exception (more on that later). Messiah recognized that divorce ends a marriage (as He did with the woman at the well). Rav Shaul (Paul) writes that Messiah commands that believers if they divorce are TO REMAIN UNMARRIED or RECONCILE. The issue here is of TWO MARRIED CHRISTIAN BELIEVERS. If the spouse committing the divorce is unsaved, the believer (1 Corinthians 7:15) is not bound. The word for bound is the same word for slavery, meaning not bound to slavishly wait for the unsaved spouse. The believer is free to remarry.

The subject of the verse and the whole chapter is marriage, so it is clear that the believing male or female spouse having been abandoned by their unbelieving spouse is NOT BOUND. This is dynamically different for two married believers and the precepts are different, the principle involved is higher than for a mixed marriage (for the unbeliever in the marriage). That higher principle is forgiveness, reconciliation, and love.

Married believers are commanded to NOT divorce, and G-d will hold married believers accountable for the vows they speak, specifically, for their marriage vows. This short list demonstrates just that precept, G-d holds us accountable for our vows:

Wives should submit to their husbands as they do to the Lord; Kehillah in Ephesus (Ephesians) 5:22 

For example, a married woman is bound by Torah to her husband while he is alive; but if the husband dies, she is released from the part of the Torah that deals with husbands. Kehillah in Rome (Romans) 7:2

If you make a vow to God, don’t delay in discharging it. For God takes no pleasure in fools, so discharge your vow!  Better not to make a vow than to make a vow and not discharge it. Kohelet (Ecclesiastes) 5:2 – 4

So then, anyone who knows the right thing to do and fails to do it is committing a sin. Yaakov (James) 4:17

Then Moshe spoke to the heads of the tribes of the people of Isra’el. He said, “Here is what Adonai has ordered: when a man makes a vow to Adonai or formally obligates himself by swearing an oath, he is not to break his word but is to do everything he said he would do. Bamidbar (Numbers) 30:1 – 2

“If, having made vows or rashly committed herself to an obligation, she gets married; and her husband hears but holds his peace with her on the day he learns of it, then her vows and obligations she has bound herself to will stand. Bamidbar (Numbers) 30: 7, 8

 When you make a vow to Adonai your God, you are not to delay in fulfilling it, for Adonai your God will certainly demand it of you, and your failure to do so will be your sin.  …. but if a vow passes your lips, you must take care to perform it according to what you voluntarily vowed to Adonai your God, what you promised in words spoken aloud. Devarim (Deuteronomy) 23:21 – 23

For marriage is a covenant and a covenant is a picture of G-d’s relationship with fallen humankind. One might say G-d hates divorce because it gives him a bad reputation. Believers who divorce and refuse to reconcile, must remain unmarried and celibate.

Now if the L-rd recognizes the marriage ended, is this for believers? Yes, and no. Yes if the unbeliever departs (see below), and NO for two married believers. But then He commands both believers to remain single or reconcile to their marriage, because for either to remarry is adultery. Yet, this is NOT permission to divorce just to remain single. It is an admission that even believers will sin in divorce.

There is no way to get around this, though the marriage is ended, they are to remain single.

On the other hand, if 1 Corinthians 7:15 applies the believer (who did NOT initiate or cause the divorce) is free to remarry. Why do I say that bit in parenthesis? Simply this, there is no permission to divorce your spouse unless it is for adultery. I would go further and say adultery is not a reason for divorce, it is a reason for forgiveness. If that spouse repents, we are obligated to forgive them and reconcile. Yet, if that spouse is an unbeliever, you are free.

Mattityahu (Matthew) 18 says if your brother (or wife – husband) sins against you… forgive. Because 2 Corinthians refers to both husband and wife as believers in marriage saying they must not divorce, and because the higher standard in obedience to Yeshua (quoted in Mattityahu 5:23), we ought to not only forgive but to restore what has been stolen. Forgiveness and restoration, and all else is disobedience.

Dr. Ramón de Torres

Edited: June 28, 2020

Marriage and the Bible

Marriage and the Bible

12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with feelings of compassion and with kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with one another; if anyone has a complaint against someone else, forgive him. Indeed, just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you must forgive. 14 Above all these, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together perfectly; 15 and let the shalom which comes from haMaschiach be your heart’s decision-maker, for this is why you were called to be part of a single Body.  Colossians 3

Whenever I think of how good a marriage can be, I have to think about the downside, the days when things don’t go right. It is in those times that I am saddened by how far believers are from being a Single Body in Mashiach. And as evidence suggests – Christian divorce rates equal or exceed the pagan world in divorce.

Glenn Stanton writing for the Gospel Coalition remarked that.

People who seriously practice a traditional religious faith—whether Christian or other—have a divorce rate markedly lower than the general population. The factor making the most difference is religious commitment and practice.

The common factor seems to be those who seriously devote their time to faith, and I might surmise, the time spent with a spouse. Yet one may question the often-quoted divorce statics, does Christian divorce equal/exceed pagan divorce? Yes and No. For those who are nominal faith or for whom being a Christian is a title with no deeper meaning the answer is not only yes, but more so. Professor Bradley Wright found that people who self-identify as Christian and rarely go to church have a divorce rate of 60% compared to 38% for those who regularly attend church.

The Past

Statistics like these hit close to home, but in a way that is hard to explain (though I can try). My former spouse and I attended church every Sunday, but our prayer life at home was lacking.

“I only go to church because you do and besides, it’s free babysitting.”

That statement by my ex as she ran from our marriage haunted me in the years after the divorce (I didn’t want the divorce). First, I never realized she went to church with me to please me (or wanted adult time with someone to watch our children); second, now more than ever as I realize I had a chance to witness with my lifestyle to the person I should have been the closest to and failed. Though that failure hurt, hurts eventually heal when immersed in the Word of G-d.

Finding My Soulmate

It seems small, but to me the magnitude of a soul-mate, someone I’d longed for all my life began when I first held hands with my beloved. Our hands fit together in a way that meshed my soul with hers.  Our hearts and minds fell into sync as we walked holding hands. Time slowed down. I could feel each pulse of my heart as if from a distance, slow and loud in unison with the subtle telegraphing of her bio-rhythms into mine. I didn’t understand it then, and maybe even not now, but the spiritual and eventual physical connection grew from that simple act. And when we married, we tried to go to church together to grow the spiritual, but the “modern” church we chose played music so loud it hurt my ears (severe tinnitus and hearing deficiency from years in the Navy in a high noise environment). So, we looked for and found a Messianic fellowship.

Something Missing

The Messianic fellowship was wonderful. The music was just right, soul stirring and smooth, songs sung with love for Mashiach touched our hearts. The scripture reading, sharing passages with fellow messianic believers helped us to grow in faith. We planned on and looked forward to the meetings each week. I looked forward to the drive out of town across rolling green meadows bereft of houses for miles. As the seasons progressed, for reasons we don’t understand that fellowship faded away like grass gone dormant. We stopped receiving emails from the group and began Sabbath worship at home.

Worship with my wife on the Sabbath was amazing and soul stirring and I often found myself crying tears of joy. We began praying together nightly (both Hebrew prayers and free prayers) and writing in a gratitude journal. Holding her in my arms and seeing her hands as she held the prayer sheet touched me in a way I cannot compare to any other event in my life. As her small delicate hands held the prayer sheet, they were also holding my heart.

And yet, though Sabbath worship at home, as good as it was, lacked an element necessary for healthy worship and a healthy life as it turns out. We were missing fellowship with like-minded people and my wife was missing out on fellowship with female believers, with friends.


Over time I’d gained weight and with the weight gain came snoring. My wife tried to sleep and found that she was unable to drown out the buzz saw snoring. I tried sleeping on a mat on the floor and we continued prayer and reading from there alternating to the main bed. The snoring became worse over time and I moved to my office and slept on the mat on the floor there. Yet, I felt that my snoring had excluded me from time with my wife and I keenly felt the loss of quiet time together. Life’s events continued to unfold (some happy and many tragic, such as deaths in the family) the Sabbath worship became intermittent.

My dear wife in wanting to please me went along with me, so when I neglected to remind her about worship we didn’t worship.  In all this I find no fault in my wife, I do not blame her, rather I blame myself for not changing direction to find the fellowship we desperately needed.

Present Time

Where are we now? I really do not know. All I really know, from the small dark pit in my stomach was that I failed to realize things about my wife I should have learned. I failed to realize that the days she seemed angry were not about anger, not at me, but about fear and hurt. And even if she was angry with me, the genesis to that was the same, fear and hurt, much of it caused by male pattern blindness. I had failed to realize the immense value of fellowship and friends, but most of all I failed to give comfort to my dear wife.

Our son suggested going to Life Group and we did. This was a huge event, first because I had gained a reputation in my family for not going to these religious events (a mistake I believe based on not wanting to go to a church with music so loud it hurt my ears) and secondly, because it opened my eyes to worship with others. I was amazed and happy to be in the home of a Christian couple who genuinely demonstrated love.  But like so many other parts of our spiritual life, this faded as life’s events (health scares and legal issues) interfered.

The Commands

There are two commands I dwell on in my life. The first is the fourth, and this is partially cause for the predicament I find myself in now. I was unwilling to depart from Sabbath, and even when the Messianic fellowship faded, even when the home Sabbath worship faded. For me Sabbath meant stay at home, rest, recharge body and soul with worship with my wife, but not everyone feels this way.  Some feel they need to be engaged to be happy to be satisfied with life and Sabbath is a rest from work, a rest from activity.

People are different in how they accept or experience Sabbath. What I failed to realize is that some choose to be engaged in work as a way of self-medicating. In this case from pain and the anxiety caused by pain. Work could be a salve and the mind can ignore pain when engaged. To some, Sabbath allows the mind to open and the pain rushes in.

This Will Change.

The second command that is on my heart is found throughout the Torah and the Apostolic Writings (Brit Chadeshah).

For I hate divorce, says the LORD, the God of Israel, and covering one’s garment with violence, says the LORD of hosts. So take heed to yourselves and do not be faithless. Malachi 2:16

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. But if she does separate herself, she is to remain single or be reconciled with her husband. Also, a husband must not leave his wife. 1 Corinthians 7:10, 11

That the perfect, powerful L0rd of all Creation HATES divorce should have us on our knees. The modern generation of easy divorce has done what G-d hates. But G-d, knowing we would sin so horribly also provided forgiveness through faith in His perfect son, Yeshua haMaschiach.

It is easy to see these are not unrelated verses taken out of context, the theme of G-d hating divorce, commanding us to seek His face in unity – as believers individually, collectively and in marriage. Which leads back to the beginning.

12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with feelings of compassion and with kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with one another; if anyone has a complaint against someone else, forgive him. Indeed, just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you must forgive. 14 Above all these, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together perfectly; 15 and let the shalom which comes from haMaschiach be your heart’s decision-maker, for this is why you were called to be part of a single Body.  Colossians 3

It is clear to see that “our heart’s decision-maker” (our emotions) need to be channeled through faith, through peace in Mashiach. When we do this, we find that “compassion and with kindness, humility, gentleness and patience” become the rule instead of the exception. Running, as my ex did, is understandable, but letting forgiveness guide us when we run out of options, when we are out of peace and patience leads us to love, as my wife has. And in the end, the love of G-d.

For God so loved the world that he gave his only and unique Son, so that everyone who trusts in him may have eternal life, instead of being utterly destroyed. John 3:16 (CJB)

Recent Edits

Between the first time I wrote this page and now have been many events that have tried our souls. My wife and her son… has lost 3/4’s of a lung due to a blood clot and has to stop working. Had the doctors removed the non-functioning remnant he would be able to work, but the 1/4 lung fills with air and won’t “exhale” so to speak. It inflates and does not deflate so he has to be careful to not work out/exercise too hard. Even job type work.

Thankfully my beautiful wife was able to guide him through the process of disability. It is difficult, there are still challenges, such as insipid doctors who do things that make no sense and we start over again, but G-d is with us.

My wife and I are far happier now than ever. No number of challenges that have come our way have made us give up, for we walk in Maschiach. He alone is our comfort and shelter. To anyone who divorces their spouse “because <name any gaumless reason>” without the proper and appropriate BIBLICAL framework, you are missing out on blessings too great to explain in this small space!

Dr. Ramón Argila de Torres y Sandoval

Edited: June 28, 2020                      

Marriage and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

[Foreword: This post began as a sermon I preached for the Christian Motorcyclists Association, Chapter 651.]

There are probably a lot more motorcycles in museums than we realize, and motorcycles like our lives and especially our marriages aren’t meant to be put in a box surrounded by a rope or glass, but are meant to be exposed to light, to wind, and in marriage we are to be exposed completely to another human being. I believe this message applies to everyone, whether you are married in this life or a member of the Bride of Messiah, for the angel in Revelations says, “Come, I will show you the Bride, the wife of the Lamb,” Revelation 21:9.

Our lives before a lost world are meant to shine. Luke 11:33 expresses this sentiment best saying, “No one having lit a menorah (candle stand) hides it, nor puts it under a basket, but on a stand, in order that the ones entering may see the light.” The essence of this is that a lamp like a motorcycle or a single life or marriage are meant to be used, not hidden. When I say used – in marriage, I mean where there is an active participation in both partners who demonstrate G-d’s love for each other, a shining light in being godly in Messiah.

The relationship of this expression when referring to a motorcycling lifestyle is in its use, where all the parts contribute to a safe and fun ride! We benefit through being a living example of a lifestyle that combines the best of motorcycling and our passion for Messiah! Rav Shaul (the apostle Paul) wrote, “Therefore, brothers, I call on you through the compassions of YAHWEH to present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, pleasing to YAHWEH, which is your reasonable service.” Riding a motorcycle is a lot like that, a living offering to G-d; without inspections and tune-ups motorcycles and marriages run down. Here are some further thoughts on marriage and the art of motorcycle maintenance.

Walk around, develop an awareness of what’s right.

Matthew 6:22-23 that ’The eye is the lamp of the body.’ So, if you have a ‘good eye’ [that is, if you are generous] your whole body will be full of light; but if you have an ‘evil eye’ [if you are stingy] your whole body will be full of darkness. If, then, the light in you is darkness, how great is that darkness! Having a stingy eye is a Hebrew saying which equates the state of generosity to goodness in the heart of people. When we have a good eye, are generous, it can be that this generosity of character includes a clearness of vision which is a readiness of heart to clearly and honestly inspect what we see; a motorcycle, or the heart of a spouse.

In other words, “He who has clean hands and a pure heart; who has not lifted up his soul to falsehood and has not sworn deceit. He shall lift up the blessing from YAHWEH, and righteousness from the Elohim of Yeshua” (which means G-d saves) Psalms 24:4-5. The idea of clean hands and a pure heart related to a motorcycle maintenance is understood as making sure the tools are in good repair and clean, and that our heart (our intentions and beliefs) are to make accurate estimations and repairs or maintenance before the ride.

Shifting your attention into “what’s different” mode may help you spot minor issues before they become big problems. Even though using your eyes to gauge your bikes condition sounds simplistic, other than wiping bugs off the shiny parts when was the last time you looked at each component of your bike? You might miss something that needs attention without looking over each separate part of your bike. The same is true of a marriage.

Example: I heard of a man whose wife love tchotchkes, knick-knacks, and would put them on the window ledge in the living room and kitchen, both of which faced the street. Because he was embarrassed by these diminutive mementos when he dusted the living room or straightened up in the kitchen, he would move them down to the tables below the windows; and she would put them back up. One day his wife became ill and as happens in stories like this, after a brave battle with her illness she passed away. After her funeral as he was sitting distraught in his living room, he noticed that since she’d been ill, she’d never put her beloved tchotchkes back on the window ledges. In tears he strode across the room and carefully, lovingly put each one in a special spot on the window ledges. He had realized, it really wasn’t about those little ceramic statues, it was about loving his wife.

Wash Me Whiter Than Snow

The best place to start is carefully washing your motorcycle. The importance of cleanliness is often understated, because scripture records that G-d will “Sprinkle me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.” Psalm 51:9. Whiter than snow means a level of cleanliness that is pure. Even though some claim that a bike that is dirty and has bugs plastered on it means the bike is being used, the fact that dirt hides defects is clear.

The brother of our Savior Ya’akov (or James) wrote, “For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body” James 3:2. Bridling the body begins with self-introspection, a type of troubleshooting for the spirit that resembles maintenance of a motorcycle.

The Psalmist tells us to “Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life” Proverbs 4:23. Check for fluids where they don’t belong; find what flows out of a motorcycle. Find out if it’s gas? Oil? Coolant? Then follow the trail to the source. Similarly, we find leaks that spring from our heart expressed in our lives and speech may be used to troubleshoot relationships.

King David wrote, “Examine me, O YAHWEH, and prove me; purify my reins and my heart” Psalms 26:2. Examining motorcycles for these leaks is important – they come from the heart of the machine. Verbal leaks (so to speak) appearing in speech come from the heart. For we understand that each leak has at its source a defect. Don’t let your words be a defective leak in your character. Yeshua said, “every idle word that men shall speak, they shall account for in the day of judgment. For by your words you shall be justified, and by you words you shall be condemned” Matthew 12:36-37.

The Working Parts of the Body

Rav Shaul wrote to Timothy, “physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come” 1 Timothy 4:8. In this he was referring to the value of submission of the body to the spirit. Additionally, he wrote that discipline or training of his “body like an athlete, training it to do what it should” (1 Corinthians 9:27) was how he prepared for rightly dividing the word of truth in preaching. Physical training aids mental and spiritual development and the submission of the body to the Spirit. Examination of the critical parts of your marriage is more important than of your motorcycle. In 1st Corinthians 12:20 we read, “As it is, there are many parts, but one body,” referring of the body of believers comparing the body of the church to the human body and the importance of the whole body where no part has preeminence. The same is true in marriage, each partner brings a specific benefit to the marriage.

We read in Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 that, “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, R9but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.”

Just as there are many parts and one body in the church and in marriage, motorcycles have many parts each important. Some may say, “I bought a bike and removed all the chromed parts. I didn’t need those.” True, but think of those bits as you would clothing. You can change clothes, but how often do you change out parts of your body? In marriage we’ve become one body.

The Moving Parts

Examine swing arms and all moving parts. Check the suspension linkages. If you have an older bike or one without sealed bearings hit the grease fittings with a grease gun till the grease oozes out the other end. If your bike has a chain, check the tension, check whether the links are dry and need oil. Check (and touch) any boots or seals you can reach for damage. Check visible wiring for the starter, battery, headlights and signal lights and check the horn. Check your battery if you haven’t put it on a battery minder, then test all lights again. Test the brakes. Check your insurance and your plates renewal dates.

As simple as this sounds shifting your attention into a “what’s different” mode for your marriage may help you to see those inconsistent, minor annoyances and deal with them before they become a huge issue. Some marriages suffer over small stuff that built up over time. So before small things like-oil-leaks-on-a-bike build up, take care of the little issues in your marriage, investigate and search out the source, pray over the issue and give it to G-d. Then involve your spouse and work on it as a team.

Example: There was a man with the bad habit of leaving the toothpaste uncapped, tube squished in the middle and smears on the sink. His wife soon grew tired of cleaning up behind him, but thinking it petty to argue over toothpaste remained silent. Over time this small annoyance became larger, almost to the point of starting new arguments over other issues. Because he cared about his wife, he reasoned that arguing over toothpaste was not as important as his wife, so he began a routine of capping the toothpaste, cleaning up and putting away. For a week or so things were quiet, no arguments about toothpaste or other issues. One day she came to him angry and crying. “What’s wrong” as he hugged her; she replied, “You aren’t brushing your teeth and we can’t afford a visit to the dentist!”

Motorcycle maintenance is ongoing, and so is the work you do in marriage. A good marriage should last a lifetime. And though there are motorcycles well over 100 years old, they are of little use behind glass or roped off. An hour on the motorcycle, and the hours spent on a good relationship will last a lifetime and both beat having your bike towed, or being towed to divorce court.

And finally remember what Ya’akov (James) the brother of our L0rd wrote – “Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath” James 1:19. It is better to listen than to talk if you aren’t committed to the dialogue. So, make an effort in maintaining your motorcycle to ensure a safe ride, but more than that make every effort to cleave to your spouse in goodness and in the fellowship of like-minded believers!

Father G-d I ask that you hear the unspoken prayers of the heart for each believer here. Let this prayer grow into action and prepare us for a lifetime of service to each other, and to you for your glory!

Dr. Ramón Argila de Torres y Sandoval

Edited: June 26, 2020