The national (liberal/progressive) narrative increasingly bad-mouths “old-fashioned traditional” man/woman marriage as being stodgy and dull—while promoting the new relationship excitement between people of the same sex “uniting” in marriage. Just this week we learn that Chevrolet is using the Olympic games to promote a pro-gay platform, thus “helping drive the crusade to normalize two men having sex with each other as a ‘family’” (cf. American Family Association blog, Feb. 14, 2014). One commercial shows a male couple with a son and a daughter.
In the face of and over against these perversions, we have appreciated some fine articles on traditional marriage that we have read lately, particularly from WORLD magazine, which unapologetically presents and promotes the Biblical/Christian view.
For example, an article entitled “For better, for worse” (Feb. 8, 2014, WORLD, p. 3) appeals to magazine readers not to buy into the “conventional wisdom” that “marriage is OK—but don’t expect too much from it.” The writer deplores the fact that whereas “when we were little kids, weddings seemed mysterious, marvelous, and full of wonder,” by contrast we are taught today to “put away our naïveté, discard our illusions, and grow up to the fact that marriage in the real world involves slogging through a whole lot of disappointment, trouble, and sorrow.”
A few paragraphs later the writer gets to what we would consider to be the bottom line: “…[too many] Husbands and wives have…bought into the devil’s lie that God’s gifts are phony, and that He didn’t know what He was talking about when He said that marriage is so magnificent that He intends it as a picture of His own relationship to His people.”
That last sentence, of course, is a reference to the Apostle Paul’s familiar blueprint for a God-pleasing—and God-blessed—marriage as laid out by the Apostle Paul in his divinely inspired epistle to the Ephesians (5:21-33).
Then there was an earlier article on Christian marriage entitled “Stretch marks” (July 13, 2013, WORLD, p. 71). A by-line gave the article’s thought-provoking thrust: “Marriage isn’t about finding the perfect mate, but rather [about] the process of being perfected.”
We want to quote the writer at some length here, while calling special attention to the fact that concluding comments refer again to the Apostle’s Ephesians blueprint.
We begin with this quote: “…The secret to marriage is related to the secret of the meaning of life. If the meaning of life is to find the way of pleasantness and ease, then try out as many partners as you must to find the one who maximizes your happiness quotient. Lots of luck with that.
“But what if marriage is for stretching, for no-pain-no-gain advance in maturity, rather than primarily for having one’s desires met? What if we went into a marriage with the attitude of adorning the other? What a paradigm shift that would be! What if we understood that we are all a work in progress—and what if we were willing for that work?”
As the article winds up, this is said: “What if we counted the ways that godly marriage is a constant reenactment of Christ’s relationship with the church (Ephesians 5:32)?”
Yes, back again to God’s/our perfect (!) blueprint for marriage!
Even a superficial reading of that blueprint leaves no doubt that the marriage union spoken of is between a man and a woman—each of whom pattern their love for one another after the noble (unconditional) love of God the Father for the world (see John 3:16), leading then to His only-begotten Son’s self-sacrificing love for the world of unworthy sinners (“…just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her…”, Ephesians 5:25).
We especially appreciate the godly perspective offered that marriage is for “stretching” rather than “primarily for having one’s desires met.” We dare to suggest that even our first parents would have benefited from such a long-range perspective.
Preserve the vow we two have made, This circle round our life.
This golden ring that none may break Which makes us man and wife. Your daily mercies let us share, All threats of harm destroy; By this our vow divides our care And doubles all our joy.
[altered hymn stanza, WS 2000 #791:2.]
But the challenge is for us now at the beginning of the New Testament’s third millennium. In that regard we say that husbands and wives will do themselves and their relationship a godly favor—yes, they will discover that, according to the previously mentioned “little kids’ view,” their marriage can still be ‘mysterious, marvelous, and full of wonder’—if from the heart they use as one of their daily prayers: