Do you, husband/wife, VOW to marry this woman/man, to love them until they continually annoy you? Do you VOW to stay with them so long as they don't get too sick for too long? Do you VOW to love him/her so long as they only spend as much money as you think is appropriate and don't accumulate any more debt than you deem appropriate? Do you VOW to stay faithful to them until someone hotter or more attractive shows up? Do you VOW to stay with them as long as you think it's a good idea? Do you VOW to keep yourself only for them and all the porn stars you'll watch whenever you aren't dedicated enough to focus your desires on your spouse?
Do you so VOW? Yes? Then you're just like over 70% of American marriages today.
Maybe it's just me, but when did marriage become a contract and not a commitment? When were vows replaced with bargains, and devotion replaced with interest?
It seems to me that far too many people take their car loan more seriously than their marriage. Seriously, people. If you can't keep your wedding vows--the most solemn, sacred, and serious promise a person could make--then how could anything you say, do, or promise in life be taken seriously?
And what of remarriage after divorce? Depending on the reasons for the divorce, how is the second spouse going to react to you saying the same vows to them that you said to someone else? How is the whole "'til death do us part" bit going to go over when you dropped your last mate because they put on some extra pounds over the years and weren't as attractive as they were on that first date? And what about the "for better of worse" part? Think you're second wife/husband will believe you when you promise that, even though you divorced your last partner because they spent too much money or got you in debt?
And what does the Bible have to say about divorce?
Malachi 2:16: “I hate divorce, says the LORD God of Israel.”
Matthew 19:6 & 8: “So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate” "Jesus replied, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning.""
Matthew 5:32: "But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, causes her to become an adulteress, and anyone who marries the divorced woman commits adultery"
Some understand 1 Corinthians 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.") as an “exception,” allowing remarriage if an unbelieving spouse divorces a believer. However, the context does not mention remarriage, but only says a believer is not bound to continue a marriage if a non-Christian spouse wants to leave. Others claim that abuse (spousal or child) is a valid reason for divorce even though it is not listed as such in the Bible. While this may very well be the case, it is never wise to presume upon the Word of God.
Here's the difference that many people miss: Marriage is a covenant, not a contract. It is a commitment, not a commencement. When I got up on the platform in that church in front of all those people and my future wife, I didn't say "I promise to stay married to you until you do (this), or so long as you don't do (that)."
Here's what I said (in so many words): "Sarah, I promise to stay true to you no matter what. My love for you is not dependent on your actions. Just like Jesus loves us, I will do my utmost to love you unconditionally. Nothing you can do or not do will make me stop loving you. I am committed to you. Even if you should ever stop being committed to me, I will keep up my end of the offer."
"Aw, but Joe, you've not been through what I've been through. 'She was mean', and 'he stopped loving me'." How many times have we done the same thing to God...and how many times has He forgiven us?
A contract says "If you do X and don't do Y, I'll do Z. But as soon as you don't hold up your end of the bargain, I'm gone!"
A covenant says: "Nothing can separate you from my love. I will love you for better or for worse; I will love you even when I don't feel like it; Even if you fail to keep your end of the promise, I will keep mine. I will love you even you don't like me, or when you make me mad, or do something wrong." Because after all, we're going to mess up eventually and need forgiveness too...
Ephesians 4:32:"Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you."
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