Herein lies the greatest difficulty mankind has ever faced. How does 1+1=1? I am a product of the public school system, and even I realize that the math doesn’t work! 🙂 The statistics bear this out. According to divorcerate.org approximately 50% percent of first marriages end in divorce, and those statistics get worse with subsequent divorces: 67% of second and 74% of third marriages ending in divorce.
Marriage is hard. Two different human beings, becoming one, in identity, purpose, future, etc. -how can this be accomplished?
First off, I’d like to say what the goal is not, and that is simply staying together. Have you ever been to a restaurant and seen the middle aged couple sitting there eating their meal in silence, never saying anything, not even looking at each other? That is not the goal, staying together, but remaining separate, is almost as ugly as divorce in my opinion.
The context for the first marriage begins with what is, for many, the missing ingredient –God.
There is no discussion with Adam and Eve about them needing to be convinced of the reality, purpose, and need for God in their lives, it’s a given. I discussed that a bit in post no.1.
So, how does having God involved, change things? I would have to say, that having Him involved, is just that, not just a mutual faith in God, but a faith that is practiced mutually. James lays that out a bit for us in his letter, when he says repeatedly that “faith without works is dead.” You see, faith is more than a mental agreement, it is a belief that motivates a particular behavior. In the case of Christian marriage, this is how it works: I believe in God, I believe in His word. He tells me to love my wife. I understand from the scriptures that love is an action, not a feeling. Love was demonstrated by God in sacrifice and commitment, therefore, my faith dictates that I must be sacrificially committed to my wife, in order to love her with a biblical love.
This is a decision, it’s a process, it’s a lifestyle. It’s not natural. If you want a natural process, it will most likely result in either not ever fully committing (loving), or giving up when it gets tough.
For me, both as a teacher of God’s word, as well as a married person with a two decade beginning on what I think is a healthy marriage, God is the key to making my math problem work. He does miracles when we are surrendered to Him. 1+1 does not equal one without Him, but with Him, it works. On a daily basis, as we are filled with His Spirit, and following His direction, we are able to accomplish His will in our lives. In my opinion, there is no greater explanation of what that looks like for us practically, than what the Apostle Paul laid out for us in Philippians chapter 2. I suggest that as required reading and application for every person, let alone every married couple.