Article Library of Christian Thoughts July 20, 2018
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Marriage Matters
Republished From http://www.ryanfraser.org
Marriage is important to God because it reflects His relational image in the Trinity. This article discusses some of the unique challenges to the sanctity of marriage within our society as well as some practical ideas to strengthen our marital relationships.

This past week, a few of my colleagues and I tackled various marriage-related issues during our campus-wide chapel services. My topic was, "Staying in Love After the Honeymoon." I had quite a bit of fun with it and the audience was gracious and receptive. If you're interested, a video of the presentation will be accessible via the FHU website within the next few days or so. (Simply go to www.fhu.edu and scroll to the bottom of the homepage; then click on the Chapel Online icon. You'll be provided a link to "Chapel on iTunes U" videos and can then select the session for February 13.) I think you might get a kick out of it!

Next weekend (February 23-24), I am scheduled to conduct a Marriage Enrichment Seminar at the Henderson Church of Christ. The event will include five different sessions on pertinent topics, each relating to the basic question of how we can go about strengthening our marriages. I believe it's going to be an uplifting and enjoyable time for all participants. By the way, the church is providing this seminar at no cost to those who wish to attend.

Okay, so it seems like the theme of "relationships" has been on my mind a lot lately. Come to think of it, God is all about relationships! In fact, relationality is fundamental to the Trinity's intrinsic way of being. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit share with one another in a depth of intimacy simply incomprehensible to our limited human understanding. That being said, marriage clearly matters deeply to God. The Bible testifies to this reality in numerous passages including, but not limited to, the following: Gen 2:24-25; Deut 24:5; Prov 12:4; Isa 62:5; Matt 19:4-6; Mark 10:12; Rom 7:2; 1 Cor 7:2-5, 39; Eph 5:22-33; 1 Tim 5:14; and Heb 13:4.

A powerful and pervasive metaphor in Scripture for God's special covenantal relationship with Israel and, later, Christ's sacred and redemptive relationship with the church is that of marital union. Human marriage is thus intended to be a reflection of the Godhead's own familial intimacy and interdependency. 

It's sad to say that in our worldly society there are multiple forces militating against the divine institution of marriage. Among these formidable foes are such things as: (1) selfishness, (2) secularism, (3) social media, (4) sexual temptation, and (5) stressors. In our daily grind, we can all-too-easily be distracted from the priority of taking enough time and energy to nurture and grow our marital bonds. Let's face it, all good marriages involve hard work! Meaningful and mutually fulfilling relationships don't just somehow happen. They require significant effort, don't they? And they are only made possible when deep commitment is present!

Yesterday, many in America celebrated Valentine's Day, another one of those overly commercialized annual events. While I certainly don't intend to knock big days like that, we must recognize that they can't possibly make up for a glaring deficiency of daily kindnesses and small, consistent acts of love demonstrated towards and received from our spouses. It's the little things that matter most in the long run. They have a cumulative effect. And, what's more, different deeds and words communicate different things to different people. For instance, I'm not really big on greeting cards, but I know that they mean a lot to my wife. So guess what? I'm going to make the effort to buy her a card. On the other hand, she knows that I appreciate a good, home-cooked meal from time to time, so she is happy to oblige. (And, man, can she ever cook!)

Each of us is unique when it comes to our preferences, desires, and needs as related to feeling appreciated and loved. One size (or style) doesn't fit all. We all crave different things from our mates. Therefore, it is incumbent upon each of us as husbands and wives to figure out what it is that communicates to our spouse that we love them, appreciate them, and treasure them.

After almost 25 years of "marital bliss" I must confess: I'm still learning how to meet my wife's physical, emotional, intellectual, spiritual, and--yes--sexual needs. And believe me when I say that I still have quite a ways to go on all fronts. But that's the whole point of growing together in our "one-fleshness" as a couple. It's supposed to be a challenging and fulfilling adventure. Hear me loud and clear when I say that it is absolutely worth it!

Let's try to get more creative and much more intentional as we tune in to our spouses' needs and strive to love them with all our heart. I believe that's what God intends for us to do. That's what Christ does for the church, his bride!

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