For Those About To Be Married
A good marriage is a parable of the working of God. It
illustrates God’s redemptive design. What is begun by physical desire
ends in spiritual love. What starts by nature ends by grace. What
is begun by two opposites ends in a spiritual oneness.
Differences complement each other to make harmony and wholeness.
In marriage grace fulfils nature to form a higher type of
life, a wholeness between the two.
Marriage redeems a raw nature by spiritualizing it to make it useful to mankind and a means of glorifying God. Above all let a marriage be redeeming, the weakness of one spouse redeemed by the other, fulfilling each other to form a higher whole. That elevates the marriage to a redemption in grace, fulfilling a fulfilling nature.
Marriage begins on a theme of nature but if successful it becomes a spiritual statement. A successful marriage involves the enjoyment of the flesh, a wonderful creation of God, the ability of a couple to develop spiritually, growing in grace, and the beautiful mystery of becoming one together.
Through marriage the circle of love may be expanded, if children are mutually desired, and a family formed. This family must cleave to God that children may be reared rightly, with laughter and love, affectionately disciplined, and set upon the spiritual path that leads to grace and faith in their adulthood.
But consider fairness to your children if you plan to have them. A child has a right to a mother and a father and a family to develop in. Denying this by your choice is unfair to the child. Being denied this by fate, as when a parent is killed, is another thing completely. Marriage and a family involves good choices that are more than considering self.
Not only must you be fair to the children you may have, you must accept one another’s family and friends. Include them with joy or accept them with a grain of salt, but you must include them. If you do not accept them, your marriage will have a hole in it. It is as difficult to navigate a leaking marriage as to navigate a leaking boat.
When you enter into marriage, you must be prepared to sacrifice. There cannot be a successful marriage, much less a family, if you will not accept sacrifice with a good spirit. A sour sacrifice accomplishes little.
When things happen in marriage, as happen they may, and happen they will, let the man not explode and the woman not implode. This often happens, helping nothing, making things worse. But nobody is perfect. Kiss and start over.
In marriage never stop talking to each other. If one talks too much, don’t become irritated, just be thankful for the talking. It is no communication that makes things really shatter. In angry silence, the Devil, like a dog, will come creeping up to give you dumb sympathy. But blind sympathy is not what is needed. What is needed is for both of you to reason well and keep a measure of proportion and balance in your thinking. Do not make snap judgments quickly, like to leave, or indulge yourself in blind sympathy that makes it worse.
In marriage little things, small irritations, are to be seen as dynamite sticks. Once thrown, they can blow up anything. If you have grace enough, pray, and don’t throw verbal rocks. “Let he that is without sin...first cast a stone.” (John 8:7)
Try to keep a spirit of understanding even if you don’t understand. Do not say foolish things. Though we are told to “suffer fools gladly” in real life fools end badly. Ephesians 5:15 says: “See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise.” In no place is this more important than in a marriage. That is if you want it to endure.
Jesus blessed the state of marriage, saying in Matthew 19:5 that a man should leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife: and the two of them shall become one. You stand at the beginning of becoming one. Time will tell.
The fact you come to the church to be married means you have the right spirit and the right attitude for a good marriage. Except the Lord lay the foundation of the marriage, they labor in vain that build it.
I pray you may have much joy and laughing in the building of your marriage. I wish you also to enjoy that creative benevolence that comes from knowing God for the daily living of your life, I hope that you have children to love and to be proud of. Pride will be more likely if you rear them in the Covenant of Grace, the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
May the Lord bless you and keep you as you become one. May the warmth of God’s love shine in you, and His grace be reflected by you. May Christ know you and may you also know Christ personally that God’s peace may live forever in your hearts.
Dr. James MacLeod may be contacted through the Neill Macaulay Foundation.