Earp Takes Aim | Faith, Culture, Life

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Marriage

“What I Did On My Summer Vacation,” by Steve Wyatt.

  • I spoke a warm hello to my first grandson, and a bittersweet goodbye to my little sister.
  • Sadly, my house got robbed.  Thankfully, the good-hands people at Allstate replaced my stolen clubs with a brand new set of Pings.  Unfortunately, they haven’t helped my game.
  • In July, I took a road trip back to the Midwest with Drew, and managed to cover 4362 long miles over the course of ten short days.
  • In August, I sold my aforementioned house— and I’m still homeless.  Well, not really, but I am still living [for the most part] outta boxes.
  • On the fun side, I got to spend nine glorious days on Oahu with my best friend.  And, oh yeah, I also married her.

After nearly 18 months of flying “solo” again, I found myself strongly disagreeing with God.  A reaction that didn’t impact Him nearly as it impacted me. 

So what did me and God bicker about?

 

His very famous conclusion about lonely Adam.  Remember how God put it? 

 “It is not good for the man to be alone.”[1]

Fine!  Maybe, for Adam, it was simply a matter of “not good.”  Cuz he had nothing to compare with his  “alone-ness.”  But see, I did!  So for me, being “alone” wasn’t just “not good,” it was devastating!  And, at times, absolutely debilitating. 

So when God gave me my new love, I eagerly embraced His “gift” as my bride.  And I did it quickly so she couldn’t change her mind.

So go ahead!  Call me old-school if you want, but this man loves the very idea of love and marriage.  And I cherish the fact that God conceived His plan in response to a very palpable human need.  I also love how He intimately engineered the working parts of a husband and a wife so that when two come together under His direction and live in concert with His wisdom according to His divine leadership— when those “two…become one”[2]…?  Dude!  It really IS a “join[ing] together.”[3]  A blessed union.  A “one flesh” story of amazing love.

And I say that fully aware that marriage, though wonderful, can be, at times, anything BUT easy.  See, over the course of my life, I’ve been married WAY longer than I’ve been single.  So I’ve learned some things about marriage. 

I’ve learned, for example, that:

·        Whenever two sinners come together, there will be conflict.

I don’t care how deeply they love the Lord OR each other. 

It doesn’t matter how many shared passions or common experiences they enjoy. 

Marriage, by its nature, causes…conflict. 

There is inevitable rubbing.  And with rubbing comes chafing!

It’s inconceivable to me how many people still wanna believe in a “happily ever after” fairy tale!  That two very imperfect and flawed people can come together, exchange some promises, trade rings—then walk away with an inked agreement and a thoroughly perfect and flawless marriage! 

Well, it may work like that when it comes to math, but when we’re talking marriage?  Two negatives do not make a positive. 

Instead, when two flawed people come together, they quickly uncover incredibly vital things they’re willing to go to the mat for!  Stuff like: 

How to properly fill an empty toilet paper roll. 

Who manages the remote. 

What is the acceptable amount of me-time I should rightfully claim as my own. 

Sex [or the lack thereof]…

And the granddaddy of them all…?  How will we spend our money?

Which brings me to another thing I’ve learned:

•  Whenever conflict happens, it seldom ends well when I take my cues from culture instead of Christ. 

So I’ve learned, in marriage, but also in every other area of life— that when I do get stuck?  I need to ask first not “what do I want” or “why aren’t my needs being met?”— what I really need to find out is— WHAT DOES GOD HAVE TO SAY ABOUT THIS?  And I’ve learned that when I’m willing to hear first from God and then actually DO as He commands— things generally work out WAY better than if I attempt my own strategic plan.

So Chris and I have committed to each other that we’re gonna implement that very discipline into our marriage.  That doesn’t mean we won’t have our moments.  Cuz at best, marriage is trial and error, baby!  But because we wanna glorify God through our marriage, we wanna learn how to fight fair.  How to disagree with grace.  And how to walk with one another [and with God] in unbridled intimacy and with a mutually submissive and ever-deepening love. 

And we’re intensely committed to that, cuz I’ve also learned that:

•  Whenever I follow Christ, I find that God’s commands [as difficult as they are to hear and even harder to act on…those initially stifling directives], instead of robbing me, THEY ENRICH ME!

The great surprise of my life is that God’s way— WORKS!  And that His instruction, even though when I first hear it— it feels like DOING it will rob me of whatever I think matters most to me— whenever I actually DO it…?  Whenever I allow God to reshape my thinking…?  Whenever I line myself up according to the way He created things to be…?  It generally works way better than my plan ever could!

But— when I decide that I am smarter than God is…

Or when I act as though God is ignorant about how things work now… [Maybe it worked back then— when humans dragged their knuckles on the ground?  But now…?  Not so much.] 

Or— when I have a pity-party cuz I’m not getting what I deserve to get…

Or— when I try to make it work MY way…?  I usually wind up crashing and burning. 

There’s one other thing I’ve learned.  And this will lead us into what I wanna talk about today.  I’ve learned that…

• When I wanna understand the true meaning of anything, I need to first understand its origin. 

Whether we’re talking about the meaning of death or sin or racial differences— or even marriage…?  The answers for why things are the way they are— can be found in “the book of beginnings.”  The book we call, Genesis.  Because it’s in the pages of earth’s first book where we can find why the human experience is what it is.

Did you know that even Jesus looked to Genesis for such insight?  When the Pharisees asked Him about His position on divorce, ☞☞☞Jesus  handled that touchy issue by asking them, “Haven’t you read that at the beginning the Creator made them male and female?”[4]  In other words, to understand divorce, you gotta first understand marriage.  And to understand marriage, you gotta read…Genesis. 

A peculiar and frightening process is currently unfolding in our culture— as many of contemporaries are actually trying to REDEFINE MARRIAGE.  A concept that’s borderline insane, if you think about it.  It’s kinda like redefining air or “what is a tree?!”

It’s bizarre to even imagine that we can take what has historically always been this— what is unquestionably and biblically this— and after 6000 years you and I can take what has always been and re-describe it and fundamentally morph it into something that it has NEVER been! 

So what happens is— a divinely conceived relationship between man and woman is now driven by self-indulgence and foolish pride and a pursuit of personal pleasure. 

And if that pursuit actually does become the fabric of our society?  People, we are hosed.  Now you know me.  I’m not a “sky is falling” kinda guy.  But when you take something as central as the basic building block of culture and you unravel it and deconstruct it and then reconstruct it in a perverse and clearly diametrically opposite way— you’ve started the clock on the disintegration of our culture!

But this isn’t the first way we’ve tried to redefine marriage.  The whole idea of “submission” with regard to how a husband and a wife relate to each other also took a tumble a few decades ago.  In fact, we’ve so altered those roles— that just last month Congresswoman Michelle Bachman, a leading candidate for President, was openly ridiculed cuz she dared to say that, in her marriage, she was “submissive” to her husband. 

A radical thought these days— but if you go back to the origin of marriage, it’s not radical at all.  Nor is it condescending or a repudiation of a woman’s personhood.  Submission is quite beautiful, if you go all the way back to its genesis. 

Besides, it’s the only way that marriage can work the way God intended it to work.

 



[1] Genesis 2:18

[2] See Matthew 19:5

[3] Matthew 19:6

[4] Matthew 19:4

This is an exerpt from "Make Your Marriage Amazing, Part 1"




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