The Best Reason To Get Married – The Best Reason To Reconcile

By on September 1, 2012

Eric and Vickie are in love.

They came to their first pre-marital counseling session.

I asked them why they wanted to get married.

fall scents for your home

Vickie said that Eric finished her thoughts.

I wondered how she would feel five years into the marriage when he stopped talking.

She also said that he made her feel special.

I wondered how she would feel when he became preoccupied with other things like work.

Then she added that he was quite handsome and couldn’t believe that someone as attractive as Eric wanted to marry her. I wondered how she would feel as old age began to creep up on both of them.

Eric said he liked the idea of companionship. He did not like being alone. I wondered how he would feel when she begins to nag him about some of his habits.

He also said, somewhat sheepishly, that he couldn’t wait to have sex. Both of them had kept themselves pure, waiting for marriage. I wondered how he would feel when the babies came and Vickie would be too tired and overwhelmed for romance.

Eric and Vickie had some good reasons for getting married. I really liked the fact that they were very serious with God and determined not to give themselves away to someone else. That was cool, refreshing, and not the norm for our culture today.

I understood Eric’s desire for companionship, because God said it was not good for the man to be alone. Man (and woman) was made for community.

Then the LORD God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” – Genesis 2:18 (ESV)

The Father, Son, and Spirit were the first community and shortly after God created Adam in His own image, He recognized that it was not good for Adam to be alone, so He made him a woman. Good for Eric to acknowledge this reality.

I was glad that Eric was willing to state the obvious: he wanted to get married in order to have sex. There is no reason to beat around the bush on this one; it’s a real desire with almost every person who gets married. I respected his honesty.

I liked Vickie’s desire for a complementarian relationship: she wanted someone to complete her, to “finish her sentences.” This also is how and why God made Eve, so they both could complement each other.

Not their best

Nevertheless, there were a few things that drew concern regarding their reasons for marriage. While they had some good reasons, they were not the best reasons. Here are a few shortcomings regarding their reasons:

  1. They all were secondary or tertiary reasons, not the primary reason.
  2. Their reasons were more along the lines of desires, not necessarily needs.
  3. All of their reasons could change over time and probably would.

Marriage is a permanent, lifetime, unbreakable relationship. The only thing that should break the marriage bond is death. This is why it is hugely important that our reasons for marriage be the right reasons.

Having a secondary reason, as the main reason, for marriage could be the death knell to the marriage. Or it could relegate the marriage participants to some kind of self-imposed, roommate relationship that never enjoys or engages the depths of what a God-centered marriage could be.

Generally there are two kinds of couples that I counsel:

  1. Those who have been married for five years or less.
  2. Those who have been married for fifteen years or more.

The reason most of my marriage counseling falls into these two “camps” is because the first 5 years are typically before the kids come, or just on the cusp of parenting.

From the fifteen year mark and forward, the marriage embarks on the emptying nest period, when the kids become more independent, self-reliant, while preparing to move out of the home.

If the young married couple–first five years–do not get the help or make the appropriate adjustments to their marriage before the kids come, two things can happen:

He will be tempted to “escape” the marriage through his job.

She will be tempted to take a similar escape tactic through her children.

You can have two dissatisfied and discontented people choosing not to reorient their marriage around God, while pursuing their preferred distractions.

Though they may not have a God-centered marriage, they can “survive” in their distractions…until the kids start leaving the home. At that point the couple will be left with nothing to distract them from themselves.

It is not unusual to hear about a couple who gets a divorce after 25 or 30 years of marriage. Some people are shocked by this news. I am not. They ignored their problems and each other for as long as they could.

After two decades of muddling by, there were no more distractions and the things they never made right in the early years come back in force and hopelessness in the later years.

By this time there is too much disappointment that has passed “under the bridge” and the couple decides to part ways.

Only one foundation

It is imperative that a young couple knows and determines to build their marriage on the right foundation. This is a non-negotiable for a marriage that not only wants to go the distance, but go the distance with joy.

Before Lucia and I were married, we began hammering out a Marriage Mission Statement. We were quite aware of the statistics that pointed toward easy divorce.

You don’t need a good reason for a divorce anymore. All you have to do is play the irreconcilable differences card and you can get a divorce as easy as pie.

We also were aware of the number of marriages around us where the spouses were not happy. I’m not talking about non-Christian marriages, but the Christian ones. Too many couples in our lives were not manifesting the love of Christ to each other.

We purposed not to get a divorce and not to resign to something less than God’s best. Therefore, we knew that our marriage had to be built on the right foundation.

Companionship is great. Sex is wonderful. Finishing each other’s thoughts is a perk and being attractive is a plus too. Mercifully, Lucia was not looking for handsome.

All of the things that I just mentioned could not receive top billing in our marriage. Therefore, we began to think through what God considered to be the best reason for marriage.

The answer for that was easy. The best reason for marriage, we believed, had something to do with the main point of the Bible–the Gospel. We began to filter our future marriage through a Gospel lens.

Why should we marry each other?

You could get at the “why marry” question this way: why did Christ come? Or, what is the point of the Bible? Christ came to reconcile fallen man to Himself. He came to redeem a fallen race of people.

In Ephesians Paul gave all marriage partners a picture of this Gospel work and appealed to us to think about our marriages as a redemptive picture.

Husbands, love your wives, as Christ 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, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. – Ephesians 5:25-28 (ESV)

Lucia and I began to think about our marriage as a picture of the Gospel. Therefore, we concluded that we could best glorify God by marrying each other so we could express this picture of Christ and the church more clearly.

I believed that I could glorify God more effectively by being married. Lucia believed the same. We were not thinking about getting married just to be married. We wanted to get married, primarily, so we could model the Gospel.

Therefore, our Marriage Mission Statement became the following:

When we become one flesh, we will be able to image God more effectively than by being single. Therefore, we pray that our marriage will:

  1. Manifest the relationship of Christ and His church to God.
  2. Manifest the relationship of Christ and His church to each other.
  3. Manifest the relationship of Christ and His church to our families and friends.
  4. Manifest the relationship of Christ and His church to the world.

We further pray that our relationship will be a sweet offering to God, a blessing to each other, a testimony to our families and friends, and an opportunity to model Christianity to a world that has no hope.

As you can see from our Marriage Mission Statement we clearly crafted a plan to put the beauty of Christ and His church on display. According to Paul, I am a picture of Christ and my wife is a picture of the church. We both have the privilege and opportunity to make God’s name great through our identification with Him.

Change is here to stay

For the record: we have failed many times in portraying this picture perfectly. We’re realist, not unreasonably idealistic. Nevertheless, the good news that has steadied our marriage through the years has been our purpose for the marriage.

Much of my hair has fallen out. My belly protrudes farther than it used to. Lucia has a lot of gray hair now. We are not the people we married. We are different.

There have been three miscarriages. We’ve both have had some job changes or losses. There have been a few strained relationships. We have changed churches and moved twice. We’ve made lots of money and we’ve made very little money.

I cannot even begin to count how many times I have sinned against my darling wife. It would be safe to say that I have sinned against her more than any other person in her life has sinned against her.

We have had many desires throughout our marriage. She has had some for me. I have had some for her. We’ve had some for our life together. Some of them have come to fruition, while others we had to let go.

We never get everything we want, but getting or losing has never been what has defined us or our marriage.

The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD. – Job 1:21 (ESV)

Through it all, there has been one constant: our main reason for getting married has never changed. We really do want to reflect the Gospel by our marriage.

A clear picture of who Jesus is

Our world is dying and we have an incredible opportunity to show them something that cannot be obtained but by Christ alone. We don’t want to obscure that picture. And when we do, we want to quickly repent to God and to each other.

The title of this article is: The best reason to get married – the best reason to reconcile

Let me speak ever-so-briefly to the second part of the title: “reason to reconcile.” Perhaps your Marriage Mission Statement is focused on changeable things rather than the unchangeable Gospel.

If so, maybe you need to reconcile. Perhaps you are married, but muddling through. May I appeal to you to begin talking about a “marriage redo?”

May I appeal to you to get some help? You do not have to get a divorce and you do not have to continue the way you have been.

You can redefine your marriage, though you may be several years down the road in your marriage. God is okay with that. You can “start over” no matter how far along you are.

Will you do that? Will you seek someone out to help you rethink what your marriage should be about?

My hope for you and my continued hope for us is that our marriages will be a sweet-smelling savor to a world that needs the hope of Christ.

You can read the rest of this story in the article on our Membership Site: The Day I Intentionally Blew-Up My Marriage

 

Originally posted on Counseling Solutions.

About Rick Thomas

Rick Thomas has been training and counseling in the Upstate of South Carolina since 1997. After several years as a counselor and pastor he founded and launched his own Christian training organization in order to assist Christians around the world regarding a better understanding and practice of Christian discipleship. In the early ’90’s he earned a BA in Theology. Later he earned a BS in Education. In 1993 he was ordained into Christian ministry and in 2000 he graduated with a MA in Counseling. In 2006 he was recognized as a Fellow with a nationally recognized counseling group. Today his organization represents clients in over 90 countries as well as all 50 states through his consulting, training, blogging, and coaching. Website: http://www.rickthomas.net/

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The Best Reason To Get Married – The Best Reason To Reconcile