1 Jan 2000

Oneness in marriage?

Submitted by theshovel
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Hello Chris!

To be honest about the whole marriage, divorce, and re-marriage issue I have pondered and re-pondered certain aspects of it for years. Anyhow, I'll probably just ramble on a bit, so just keep that in mind, okay? :) I'm sure there are lots of couples that are better off not staying together, but divorce is still a stinky thing, as it rips at the very being and does damage beyond what we may suppose.

I have always been a big proponent of salvaging a marriage relationship whenever possible, for I have always seen the reality of a union created between the husband and wife. I have a feeling that many marriages are little more than psychological divorces that wear away at the being more than an outward split would create. On the other hand, many of those not considered married by law sometimes reflect more of that union than do those official marriages.

I have also heard some couples claims to have a better marriage the second (or sometimes 3rd) time around (oftentimes it's only one party making the claim). Truthfully, I take a lot of what is claimed with a grain of salt since it's pretty easy to overstate one's happiness or relationship when things are new ... or when one desperately wants to believe it is true. Doesn't mean I necessarily doubt the stability of a particular marriage, but I've seen too many sure things fade away rather quickly, if you know what I mean.

There's another element that I have considered for many years. More often than not, the verses we have heard or used define the union of marriage has far more to do with the true union of Christ and those in him than with the joining of husband and wife. Ephesians 5 is a perfect example.

Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her; that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she should be holy and blameless. So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, because we are members of His body. FOR THIS CAUSE A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER, AND SHALL CLEAVE TO HIS WIFE; AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH. This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church. Nevertheless let each individual among you also love his own wife even as himself; and let the wife see to it that she respect her husband. Ephesians 5:22-33

I mean, it is like one of the most popular passages used in Christian weddings, and yet its meaning is almost always primarily applied to the joining of the man and woman in marriage, and sometimes with a quick mention of the similarity between Christ and the church (believers). The fact is that it presents just the opposite. Just figure that after Paul writes those incredible realities of union that he goes on to say that he was referring to Christ and the church but that "nevertheless" -- as in, even though he was speaking about another reality -- the husband should still love his wife, and the wife to respect her husband. The husband/wife relationship seems to dimly reflect the full substance of Christ ... instead of it being the other way around. Nevertheless ... there is a temporary union in the physical that cannot be underestimated, and that union is the only basis upon which any true relationship is established in marriage.

Even the verses where Jesus speaks of that which "God has joined together let no man put asunder" in Matthew 19 may seem to be establishing Jesus' views on the human marriage relationship, but his comments had to do with law and the Pharisees' hypocrisy of disregarding the parts they wanted in favor of the loopholes.

And some Pharisees came to Him, testing Him, and saying, "Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any cause at all?" And He answered and said, "Have you not read, that He who created them from the beginning MADE THEM MALE AND FEMALE, and said, 'FOR THIS CAUSE A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER, AND SHALL CLEAVE TO HIS WIFE; AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH'? "Consequently they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate." They *said to Him, "Why then did Moses command to GIVE HER A CERTIFICATE OF DIVORCE AND SEND her AWAY?" He *said to them, "Because of your hardness of heart, Moses permitted you to divorce your wives; but from the beginning it has not been this way. "And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery." Matthew 19:3-9

I actually think the reality of which Jesus spoke had to do with the greater reality of that which God had already joined together in Jesus (Word made flesh) with a view toward the reality of union that was being brought about in him. After all, the verse he quoted is the same one that Paul demanded as having to do with Christ and the church.

I find it quite amazing how legal the institution of marriage has been made under Biblical mandate. The Christian Church seems to have used grace to make it into a poor reflection of the true reflection that speaks of Christ.

I truly hope you and your wife can reconnect, even though it may be a slim hope and not come to pass. I am thrilled to hear of your expression of freedom to her by which she may choose you or not. This must certainly remove some of her fears, and may free her up to think rationally. I'm sure this does not answer a lot of what you asked since I am rambling on, and you are free to ask anything again.

Love, Jim

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Random Shovelquote: No need for Christ (view all shovelquotes)

But the "gospel" we have heard so many times in this world needs no miracle, it doesn't really even need Christ for that matter because it is established after the pattern of the world's logic, motivations, and ideologies source