Were You There When Jesus Talked About Marriage?


Mark 10:1-12

A woman accompanied her husband to the doctor’s office. After the examination, the doctor took the wife aside and said, “Unless you do the following things, your husband will surely die. Here’s what you need to do: Every morning make sure he gets a good healthy breakfast. Have him come home for lunch each day so you can feed him a well-balanced meal. Make sure you feed him a good, hot dinner every night and don’t overburden him with any household chores. Also, keep the house spotless and clean so he doesn’t get exposed to any unnecessary germs.” On the way home, the husband asked his wife what the doctor had told her. She replied, “You’re going to die.”

A man inserted an ‘ad’ in the classifieds: “Wife wanted.” A few days later he received several letters that all said the same thing: “You can have mine.”
Marriage is not dead. Nine out of ten Americans still get to wear a wedding band at some point in their lives. Cohabitation may be a seemingly sensible step prior to marriage, but it is not a viable protection against divorce. Nonetheless, the U.S. Census Bureau says 6,085,284 unmarried, opposite sex partners live together. Some call it cohabitation while others just say living together. Advocates of this set-up think it is wise to “test drive” the compatibility of a relationship before embarking on marriage. It is proposed as nothing more than a “trial run.” “If magazine subscriptions come with trial periods, why shouldn’t potential marriage relationships?” The logic can seem convincing to a couple not yet sure about marriage, but it just doesn’t hold up to hard core facts. Jeffrey Larson recently completed his research on 50 years of data to arrive at the conclusion: “couples who live together before marriage have a 50% greater chance of divorce than those who don’t.” He went on to say, “Psychologically, marriage seems to be a significantly different type of relationship. Commitment changes the dynamics of any relationship.
Cohabitation is not a trial marriage.”

Marriage is a divine institution designed to form a permanent union between man and woman that they might be helpful to one another (Gen 2:18). Moses presents it as the deepest corporeal and spiritual unity of man and woman, and monogamy as the form of marriage ordained by God. Parents do not credit themselves with having the greatest impact on their own children. We do not develop habits of genuine love automatically. We learn by watching effective role models – most specifically by observing how our parents express love for each other day in and day out. That is very different from what we find in the Bible.

In scripture, marriage is based on commitment, not love. In the Bible, most marriages were arranged. Abraham sent a servant to find a wife for Isaac – Rebekah. Jacob worked 7 years for one woman and ended up married to her sister.

Too often we change jobs, friends, or spouses instead of changing ourselves.
The grass on the other side of the fence may start off green but it usually ends up brown. 75-85% of all men who have had an affair end up staying with or returning to their wives. Of those who do divorce, only 15% marry the woman with whom they had the marriage-wrecking affair. Affairs are destructive and do not deliver what they seem to promise.

Commitment has always been the key to a good and long marriage. Do we hear the vows clearly? Will you commit yourself to her happiness and her self-fulfilment as a person, and to her usefulness in God’s kingdom; and will you promise to love, honor, and trust her in sickness and in health, in adversity and prosperity, and to be true and loyal to her, so long as you both shall live?

The issue of divorce in scripture is very difficult for many to understand. This is probably because I don’t think that the writers really understood. Some Pharisees came and tested him by asking, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?” “What did Moses command you?” he replied. They said, “Moses permitted a man to write a certificate of divorce and send her away.” “It was because your hearts were hard that Moses wrote you this law,” Jesus replied. When they were in the house again, the disciples asked Jesus about this. He answered, “Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her. And if she divorces her husband and marries another man, she commits adultery.” The burden is on the guilty party.

(1 Cor 7:15) But if the unbeliever leaves, let him do so. A believing man or woman is not bound in such circumstances; God has called us to live in peace.

The issue always comes down to commitment! We are permitted to get a divorce if there has been an unfaithful spouse. The widow/widower is free to marry again, why, the commitment has been broken.

We forget, marriage is an earthly issue that was instituted for our benefit.
At the resurrection, people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven.

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