It is a proven fact that each year termites destroy more structures than fire does—but it’s always the fire that makes the headlines, not the termites. This is also true in a marriage. Most homes are not destroyed because of enormous, headline-making fires…but because of the quiet, gnawing, unnoticed, irritating insects who eat away at the troth, or trust, in a relationship year after year.
Immediately upon the mention of the word “honeymoon,” most people picture a time of intimate romance and unrestrained physical affection between newlyweds. But God’s plan is for married couples to enjoy such delights without shame or reluctance until “death do us part.”
God’s plan for renovating a house into a home calls for some specific behaviours and attitudes, which serve as bricks or building blocks for the relationship. Some of these bricks are contributed by the wife and some by the husband. Regrettably, both sets of bricks can be substituted with cheap imitations. These may seem to be adequate and acceptable at first, but over the long haul, they cause great damage.
The reality of crumbling marriages in our world should cause God’s people to stand up and take notice. Thankfully, the Bible provides clear direction regarding the proper materials it takes to build a lasting marriage.
The air today is filled with the shrill cry of “my rights.” And in the centre ring of this loud arena is the home—more specifically, the marriage bond. Mate-swapping, group marriages, and living together without official marriage commitments are realities no longer carried out under the hush-hush blanket of shame and disgrace. Is monogamy an outdated concept?
Damage to a marriage can begin even before the vows. Among the greatest threats to a new union are the young bride and groom’s thoughts about what life with a new spouse will be like. Expectations often lead to broken dreams, as invariably, young couples fall into the trap of looking forward to a non-existent reality. However, there is no ideal marriage this side of sin. Instead, marriage promises a lifetime of two people striving together for maturity.
Changes are never cheap. Renovating a house is expensive…but restoring a home is infinitely more costly! No one ever worked through a difficult, hurting marriage without paying a very high price. This fact alone causes many partners to refuse the process. The pain of changing is, in the opinion of many, too great to bear. But for those who do change, how sweet it is!
The institution of marriage has fallen on hard times—divorce rates are soaring, men and women are testing the marriage waters by living together first, to say nothing about society’s attempts to redefine marriage to include same-sex couples. But marriage is a divinely designed institution, and if marriage is to thrive in an increasingly hostile culture then we must first consult the architect of marriage…God.
God’s desire is that we, His people, fully enjoy our freedom in Christ. However, there must be self-imposed boundaries or we will become self-serving, independent-minded, and careless rebels with no regard for others. The last 11 verses of Romans 14 address this issue.
Because of the weak believer’s human tendency to judge those who don’t embrace his or her customs and convictions and also because of the strong believer’s decision to discount judgments passed by those who find fault in his or her expressions of freedom, conflict emerges and persists. The solution? Put grace into action.