BIBLE VERSES FOR THOUGHT
It is not good that man should be alone. Genesis 2:18, ESV
Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”
Matthew 19: 4-6, ESV
OK, yes, today Harriet and I are celebrating our 47th wedding anniversary. That she has put up with me for 17,166 days, or 2,452 weeks, or 563.96 months, is evidence of her spiritual maturity and discipline. She is grace filled, steadfast, and a model of patient endurance. In forty-seven years she has never threatened to leave me. Of course, there have been many occasions when she wanted to choke me. Still, she has demonstrated the faith and character of that biblical bride which has been her model since that Saturday years ago---the bride of Christ. Today, as we remember that day and this milestone my personal gratitude extends to God for his guidance and to Harriet for her long-suffering heart.
Sharing a Christian worldview from the very beginning, we have sought to consider our marriage as one of those made in heaven. Every marriage is not. We humans have the natural tendency to make important decisions through physical and emotional grids that determine the suitability of one life partner over many others. God's intention, however, was that marriage would provide the foundational framework of society. In the creation accounts marriage was the first of God's institutions and provided the humans in the Garden of Eden with a new context of life, the context of us. It was to be God's design for the common good, propagation of the species, and the education and training of children. Marriage was to be the standard for family life in society. For these many generations since creation marriage has been a unifying force in nearly every culture around the globe.
That was all then, and this is now. Today those living outside the traditional Theistic worldviews---Christianity, Judaism, Islam---have broadened the ideals of marriage substantially. All fifty states permit legal marriage unions between people of the same sex. Several religious organizations and denominations have softened their demand that marriage could only occur in male-female relationships. Meaning, that even among the religious cohorts marriage is being redefined. While divorce statistics are difficult to decipher, the divorce rate has declined in the United States over the last two or three decades. Today, millennials are marrying later, usually after living together and testing the dynamics of life partnership.
So, like many other societal standards, the institution of marriage as designed by our Creator God is under significant human revision. That's why celebrating anniversaries, at least in my opinion, are important for our families and society. They celebrate God's intention for humankind and herald the union of one man and one woman joined for life. They are also occasions for remembering the blessed moments one couple can experience over the years, and for reflection about those that were more difficult and trying. These anniversaries remind us of that truth spoken by God in creation---it is indeed not good that man should be alone.
Our grandson told us that Solomon had 700 wives and 300 porcupines, actually concubines. Of course Solomon also concluded that most of life was meaningless, maybe even his many marriages to foreign princesses. In his evaluation of life, he wrote---
Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor:
If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and
has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how
can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend
themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.
Ecclesiastes 4: 9-12, ESV
Was he talking about marriage? Friendship? Relationships in general? Well his words certainly apply to marriage. The third strand he references? Surely God. Without that third strand I'm wondering if Harriet could have put up with me for 17,166 days.
17,166 days. Happy anniversary Harriet. Thank you, And, thank God.