Calvary Road Baptist Church

ďMARRIAGE ISNíT FOR YOU. REALLY?Ē

Some of you may have noticed a blog that was shared on Facebook last week by a young man celebrating his marriage and the wisdom he has acquired over his eighteen months of marital experience. It caught my attention because so many people liked it, signifying their approval of what he wrote. The title of his blog article is ďMarriage Isnít For You.Ē

Allow me to read the blog to you as a point of departure on our journey from what the young man wrote about marriage to what the Word of God says about marriage:

Marriage Isnít For You

Having been married only a year and a half, Iíve recently come to the conclusion that marriage isnít for me.

Now before you start making assumptions, keep reading.

I met my wife in high school when we were 15 years old. We were friends for ten years untilÖuntil we decided no longer wanted to be just friends. :) I strongly recommend that best friends fall in love. Good times will be had by all.

Nevertheless, falling in love with my best friend did not prevent me from having certain fears and anxieties about getting married. The nearer Kim and I approached the decision to marry, the more I was filled with a paralyzing fear. Was I ready? Was I making the right choice? Was Kim the right person to marry? Would she make me happy?

Then, one fateful night, I shared these thoughts and concerns with my dad.

Perhaps each of us have moments in our lives when it feels like time slows down or the air becomes still and everything around us seems to draw in, marking that moment as one we will never forget.

My dad giving his response to my concerns was such a moment for me. With a knowing smile he said, ďSeth, youíre being totally selfish. So Iím going to make this really simple: marriage isnít for you. You donít marry to make yourself happy; you marry to make someone else happy. More than that, your marriage isnít for yourself, youíre marrying for a family. Not just for the in-laws and all of that nonsense, but for your future children. Who do you want to help you raise them? Who do you want to influence them? Marriage isnít for you. Itís not about you. Marriage is about the person you married.Ē

It was in that very moment that I knew that Kim was the right person to marry. I realized that I wanted to make her happy; to see her smile every day, to make her laugh every day. I wanted to be a part of her family, and my family wanted her to be a part of ours. And thinking back on all the times I had seen her play with my nieces, I knew that she was the one with whom I wanted to build our own family.

My fatherís advice was both shocking and revelatory. It went against the grain of todayís ďWalmart philosophyĒ, which is if it doesnít make you happy, you can take it back and get a new one.

No, a true marriage (and true love) is never about you. Itís about the person you loveótheir wants, their needs, their hopes, and their dreams. Selfishness demands, ďWhatís in it for me?Ē, while Love asks, ďWhat can I give?Ē

Some time ago, my wife showed me what it means to love selflessly. For many months, my heart had been hardening with a mixture of fear and resentment. Then, after the pressure had built up to where neither of us could stand it, emotions erupted. I was callous. I was selfish.

But instead of matching my selfishness, Kim did something beyond wonderfulóshe showed an outpouring of love. Laying aside all of the pain and aguish (sic) I had caused her, she lovingly took me in her arms and soothed my soul.

I realized that I had forgotten my dadís advice. While Kimís side of the marriage had been to love me, my side of the marriage had become all about me. This awful realization brought me to tears, and I promised my wife that I would try to be better.

To all who are reading this articleómarried, almost married, single, or even the sworn bachelor or bacheloretteóI want you to know that marriage isnít for you. No true relationship of love is for you. Love is about the person you love.

And, paradoxically, the more you truly love that person, the more love you receive. And not just from your significant other, but from their friends and their family and thousands of others you never would have met had your love remained self-centered.

Truly, love and marriage isnít for you. Itís for others.

 

I understand why the blog was received so favorably. In this era of the feminist conquest of the culture it is always a triumph when a man, any man, realizes that nothing should be all about him and that everything should be all about the woman in his life. ďI have come to the realization that my dad was right, marriage is not about me. Marriage is about my wife.Ē Yay! Applause. Cheers. Queue the in-laws to come into the frame to congratulate the heretofore evil husband. Redemption comes with the acknowledgment that marriage is about the wife of the boorish man. If you doubt my take on it, ask yourself why you donít see blogs going viral in which the woman admits that her marriage should not have been about her, but about her husband. However, that is just my opinion as a man who is militantly opposed to feminism in all its forms.

What was alarming to me was the astonishing number of professing Christians who bought into the blogís view of what marriage should be like without any mention in the blog about marriage of God, or of the Savior, or of the Holy Spirit, or of sin, or of redemption. In fact, the blog about marriage was clearly a two dimensional article presuming marriage to be the communion and interaction of only two people, with no end in marriage, no purpose or design for marriage, mentioned at all. The article is purely secular, with no acknowledgment of a spiritual component in marriage to be found anywhere.

I will make no comments regarding the modern day assumption that your best friend should be your spouse, or that your spouse should be your best friend, or that two people fall in love. Instead, I suggest we consult Godís holy and infallible Word regarding this matter raised by this young manís blog of who marriage is for:

First, THERE IS THAT MARRIAGE IN WHICH THE MAN BEHAVES AS THOUGH THE MARRIAGE IS ALL ABOUT HIM, AS THOUGH THE MARRIAGE IS FOR HIM

Admittedly, there are a troubling number of these kinds of marriages in the English speaking world, particularly as individuals in our culture become less and less influenced by Bible truth. Consider almost any culture prior to the arrival of Godís Word and you will invariably see a profound disparity between the perceived worth of a man and the perceived worth of a woman, with the assumption being that the man has value all out of proportion to the woman. Such is still the case with Islam and Hinduism. Consider the British Isles of centuries past. I remember my brother once commenting that he had looked up the Old English word wif, which has gradually evolved to our modern English word wife, but which originally meant mate of a human being. I have not verified what he said to me, but he is usually careful about such details. Parity in marriage is historically shown to be the direct result of the influence of Godís Word on a culture, with Christianity embracing the Biblical notion that men and women have equal standing before God.[1] No one can successfully argue that secularism militates such a view, once it is known how Karl Marx, Voltaire, and the other famous intellectuals treated their women.[2]

What can be said, then, about a man who believes that marriage is all about him, his needs, his wants, and his desires? Regardless of how such a man speaks, whatever his first concern happens to be is in reality his god. If his first concern happens to be him, his needs, his wants, his goals, his desires, and his actions serve only his ends, then he effectively and for all intents and purposes worships himself. Of course, that makes such a husband an idolater, in light of the Biblical prohibition against exalting anyone, even oneself, to a position of prominence and importance surpassing Godís prominence and importance in oneís life.[3] I know that it is often the case that a professing Christian will behave as though what he wants in marriage is most important, though he will forcefully proclaim that he is innocently functioning as a spiritual leader according to the dictates of Godís Word. However, it must be kept in mind that truly spiritual leadership is only rarely misinterpreted in marriage in such a way, and then usually only by the most unspiritual of spouses. Most of the time a husbandís spiritual leadership produces in his wife an eager compliance and a willingness to cooperate with him, because Godís Word shows genuine spiritual leadership to be sacrificial.[4]

Thus, we see that the young married manís conclusion that marriage is not about him is on target, as far as it goes.

Next, THERE IS THAT MARRIAGE IN WHICH THE MAN BEHAVES AS THOUGH THE MARRIAGE IS ALL ABOUT HER, AS THOUGH THE MARRIAGE IS FOR HER

The young married man advocated this as the enlightened position in his blog. Of course, this is the feminist ideal, among those who are not feminist ideologues committed to the notion that all marriage is abusive and men can only be brutes. We used to have a guy named Ray attend the church, before I ever became pastor, who was of such a mind. He once told me that when he came home from work on pay day, his wife demanded that he slide the paycheck under the door for her to examine before she would let him come into the house. Though such marriages can go to that extreme, I have observed many marriages over the years that exhibit all the characteristics of being all about her, as though the marriage was just for her, without going quite that far. Of course, I speak only from the perspective of the husband in such a case. This is frequently a poor fellow who is now married and can do nothing about it short of divorce, who knows he is married to a shrill shrew who will pursue a scorched earth policy to maintain her stranglehold on any prospect of peace in the home.

Such a fellow is really pathetic to behold, oftentimes going to absurd lengths to demonstrate his manhood elsewhere to offset his misery at home. His sad situation is really the result of several areas of misunderstanding regarding the proper and God-ordained relationship between a husband and a wife. First, his own relationship with God is all out of sorts, because his conduct that operates on the assumption that his wifeís will is most important in their marriage is tantamount to idolatry. To be sure, he is not guilty of the idolatry of self-worship, as is the man who lives as though marriage is for himself. However, idolatry is still being committed by any individual who effectively bows down before anyone else, even if that other person is his own wife. Second, his relationship with God is all out of sorts because he fears his wife rather than fearing God. His primary driving philosophy is ďHell hath no fury like my wife when she doesnít get her way,Ē which is virtually blasphemy against God. God is the One who must be obeyed, not wifey. As Peter once said, ďwe ought to obey God rather than men,Ē or women.[5] Third, he values calm surrender to pursuing Godís will in his life. Understand, I am not suggesting any husband fuss with anyone, and I donít think husbands need to fuss very much with their wives. However, most husbands who view marriage as an institution that exists solely for the benefit of the wife are guys who surrender in anticipation of conflict, or because they erroneously think that peace at all costs is preferable to seeking Godís will. Do right, guy. And if someone starts shrieking at you, walk away, get in your car, and drive off. You do not have to fuss with anyone . . . or put up with anyone fussing at you. Calm discussions are the order of the day.

God deliver us from such marital extremes as husbands who think marriage is for them and husbands who think marriage is for their wives. Both alternatives are misguided, incorrect, and destructive to both the husbands and wives in such marriages, and also to the children of such couples.

Finally, THERE IS THE PROPER DESIGN OF MARRIAGE FOUND IN GODíS WORD

I am unapologetically committed to the Bible as Godís inspired and infallible Word, the only rule of faith and practice provided for our use as a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our pathway. Therefore, the foundational truth upon which a life is properly built is the truth of scripture. That said, I will summarize about marriage what the young man who wrote his blog about marriage completely missed, as evidenced by the fact that with respect to marriage he made no place for God, for Christ, for Godís Word, for sin, for salvation, or for anything else in any way spiritual:

First, there is the origin of marriage. Marriage is not an arrangement that evolved over a long period of time as a workable solution for bearing and raising children. Rather, marriage is the direct result of Godís creation of Adam and Eve for the purpose of joining those two together as husband and wife, establishing a pattern to be repeated in succeeding generations, Genesis 2.21-24. Please understand that marriage, as originated in the Bible, is in one sense optional, while in another sense it is not optional. Marriage is optional insofar as an individualís choice regarding whether or not he or she will marry. That is very clear in scripture.[6] What is not at all optional is the scriptural requirement that all sexual activity take place within the bounds of marriage. Should anyone engage in sexual activity outside the bonds of holy matrimony, that person is guilty of either fornication (if sinful sex is committed by an unmarried person) or adultery (if sinful sex is committed by a married person). Thus, marriage is an institution of Godís creation and Godís design. To misuse or to ignore the institution of marriage as God designed it is to sin against God in two ways: First, by directly challenging His wisdom and goodness as the Author of marriage and the Creator of our race in knowing what is best for us and how we ought to conduct ourselves. Second, by directly crossing boundaries of conduct He has erected for our benefit and protection. As is sadly the case with most marriages, God did not figure at all in the young bloggerís thinking, with respect to how marriage came to be and also with respect to who is supposed to be vitally involved in marriage. Remember, in the very first marriage, with Adam as husband and Eve as wife, the relationship was not a relationship of two, but three. God not only made the marriage between those two, but He also intimately participated in their marriage until they chose sin over God.[7] Thus, marriage was originally intended to be a three-party institution, not a two-party institution. Since that time, the institution that was created for Godís participation has for the most part stumbled along without Godís intimate involvement. The consequences of two-party marriages rather than the three-party marriages that God intended are obvious for all to see.

Next, there is the objective of marriage. With marriage, as with everything else, there is an overarching objective that is common to every aspect of Godís creative and sustaining work, and it is not for the husband or for the wife. It is for God. Someday, twenty-four elders will fall down before the throne in heaven and sing a song of praise, testifying about the grand purpose of all that God has done. I read Revelation 4.11:

ďThou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.Ē

So you see, marriage is not all about him. Nothing is all about him. Not a single thing. However, neither is marriage all about her. Just as certainly as nothing is about him, likewise nothing is about her. Not a single thing. Everything is, and has always been, about God, about His plan, about His purpose, to glorify Him in all things. Recognizing that as a craftsman uses different tools for the various aspects of his labor, so does God use different tools for different things in His economy. The congregation of the New Testament church of Jesus Christ is the pillar and ground of the truth, for example. Marriage, on the other hand, pictures the relationship between the Savior and His bride, as we see in Ephesians 5.22-25:

22     Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.

23     For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.

24     Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.

25     Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it.

Thus, marriage has always been intended to glorify God in its own and unique way.

Finally, there is the opportunity in marriage. There is a scarlet thread of redemption that runs through the Bible, from the Garden of Eden to the Millennial Kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ. In the middle is found our Lordís incarnation and virgin birth, His sinless life and sacrificial death on the cross of Calvary, as well as His glorious resurrection and ascension to His Fatherís right hand, where He is presently enthroned until He comes again in power and great glory.[8] In the interim, Godís plan is for Christians in marriage to picture the relationship that exists between the Savior and His bride, thereby restoring in some measure the original intent and purpose of marriage as God first intended. The husband in marriage occupies the role that pictures the Savior (though obviously very imperfectly), while the wife occupies the role that pictures the bride of Christ. Thus, Christian couples in marriage are presented by God with a most wonderful opportunity, to present to the world around them a representation of the relationship that actually exists between the Lord Jesus Christ and His bride. What an honor. What a privilege. What an opportunity. Imagine, then, what happens to Godís devised plan of using marriage to portray the relationship that exists between His Son, Jesus Christ, and believers, if either or both partners in marriage are not Christians at all, or if there is a sexual partnership between two people who are not married, or when two people take upon themselves the notion that marriage does not have to be between a man and a woman? Thus, two people who are married but are not Christians, two people who live together but who are not married or who make babies without being married, and two people who propose to marry though they are of the same sex, are each in their own way engaged in conduct that destroys Godís objective for marriage (placing their desires above Godís will) and casting aside their opportunity to glorify God in marriage.

I would not be so naive as to suggest there has ever been a time in human history when marriages fulfilled their objective as God originally intended. However, God has been gracious to godly couples down through the centuries, to bring both husbands and wives to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, and then to gradually transform their marriages into the pictures of grace and mercy He has always intended. One of the great tragedies of our day is that people have drifted so far away from a consciousness of Godís plan for their lives as individuals and as married couples that they think lives can be successful and marriages can be good just because they like each other, just because they are friendly toward each other, and just because they agree about most things. However, such shallow thinking is so wrong. Great harm is done to individuals, both spouses in marriage and to young children, whenever what passes for marriage or ďa relationshipĒ involves two people who are not godly Christians. How infrequently people nowadays associate marriage with any relationship with God. Whose thinking of those you know reflects the Christlikeness of the husband and the yieldedness to Christ portrayed by the Christian wife? Marriage that does not involve a godly husband providing spiritual leadership and a godly wife providing spiritual submission is tragic, succeeding only in misrepresenting itself as real and as pleasing to God, while in fact it damages in ways too numerous to recount those who are affected by it and who observe it.

ďPastor, in light of all these things, what should I do?Ē You must come to Christ. That is the first thing.



[1] Galatians 3.28; 1 Peter 3.7

[2] Paul Johnson, Intellectuals: From Marx and Tolstoy to Sartre and Chomsky, (New York: Harper Perennial, 2007 Revised)

[3] Exodus 20.3

[4] Ephesians 5.25

[5] Acts 5.29

[6] Matthew 19.12

[7] Genesis 3.8-24

[8] Psalm 16.11; 110.1; Matthew 26.64; Mark 12.36; 14.62; 16.19; Luke 20.42; 22.69; John 3.13; 14.2-4; Acts 2.33, 34-35; 7.56; Romans 8.34; Ephesians 1.20; Colossians 3.1; Second Thessalonians 1.7; Hebrews 1.3, 13; 8.1; 9.24; 10.12-13; 12.2; 1 Peter 3.22; Revelation 19.11



Would you like to contact Dr. Waldrip about this sermon? Please contact him by clicking on the link below. Please do not change the subject within your email message. Thank you.

pastor@calvaryroadbaptist.org