Written by Karen Carlson
Let’s face it, many marriages just don’t work out. Even in Christian homes, the divorce rate is hovering at around 50%–a pretty sad statistic no matter how one looks at it. Sometimes, a spouse simply has no choice but to leave a marriage since either infidelity or abuse in one form or another can be the final nail in the coffin, so to speak. And no one should have to put up with such disrespect, especially if all indicators point to behaviors that will never change.
But then there are marriages that seem to just ‘drift’ due to willful negligence or apathy. Nothing abusive has taken place, either emotionally or physically, but interests that were once shared and enjoyed are now separated by a chasm that is too wide to bridge.
Not to make light of the demise of so many marriages, but it has been said that there are three types of ‘rings’ involved with marriage— the engagement ring, the wedding ring and, for far too many, the suffering. Then you’ll hear things like, “Don’t get married! You two are doing so well, why throw a wrench into a good thing!? Getting married will just jinx it!” Some single couples truly believe their choice to remain single, and even have children together, is the better choice, somehow believing that being legally married will place a curse on their utopian relationship. If believing a relationship that is viewed as ‘ideal’ will become an ‘ordeal’ once marriage is added to the mix, then something is very skewed in our thinking, which is why marriages absolutely must be viewed from a divine perspective.
Where Exactly Did The Idea Of Marriage Come From?
I’m so glad you asked…marriage is a divine notion; it is from God. Marriage is, quite literally, a covenant designed by God in order to equip both partners to carry out their divine reason for being with one another in the first place. Because marriage is a divine creation from a divine God, marriages simply must have a divine frame of reference in order to remain healthy, thriving and lasting.
If we go back to the very first indication of God’s desire for a man and woman to complement one another and serve one another, we have to go as far back as the Garden of Eden. Without a divine frame of reference, humans—being the selfish, flawed creatures that we all are—will allow just about any entanglement in a marriage to become a tangled web-of-marriage that is no longer viable or desirable.
Ever Hear Of the “Law of First Mention”?
If you’ve never heard of the “Law of First Mention”, allow me to interject for just a moment to briefly mention what this means. Many serious students of the Bible and every legitimate Bible scholar will tell you that if you want to understand what God has to say about a particular subject and how He truly feels about it, all one has to do is analyze the first time a topic is brought up in the Bible. How God presents something for the first time typically indicates how passionately He feels about it. Everything that relates to that first incident will simply build upon it. The “Law of First Mention” applies to marriage as well as other vital biblical subjects. God is passionate about marriages that reflect His character and His plan. When God is left out, other entities take His place.
The First Marriage Was Sheer Perfection:
Marriage begins in the book of Genesis where we find absolutely NO sin—zip, zilch, nil, nada! The first marriage between Adam and Eve was embedded in an environment of pristine perfection.
The Bible tells us that after 5 days of mind-blowing creation including the heavens, the earth, the animals, the plants, we are clearly told a 6th day was reserved for a one-of-kind creation, so loved and so adored, it became the pinnacle of God’s entire plan— that being man.
God makes it clear that mankind was to be the zenith of His entire scope of living things. God was intent on creating both male and female and they were to become one and they were to be blessed. And being blessed in marriage meant man and woman were to fall in line with what God expected.
What Does God Expect In A Marriage?
God made it clear that a marriage is between a man and a woman, only—God said ‘Adam and Eve’, not ‘Adam and Steve’. God goes on to say that marriage is intended to last a lifetime. There was no escape clause written into the first marriage that ever allowed that relationship to break apart. God’s design, also, stressed monogamy—God’s plan was one man and one woman for one another, exclusively; it was not to include sexual partners on the side and on the sly. Any interest outside the marriage is not of God, nor part of His divine plan.
One can have a happy marriage or a miserable marriage dependent on whether both spouses choose to reflect God’s character and expectations. It all goes back to what was mentioned earlier about how we must have a ‘divine frame of reference’. Though God is in complete control, we still have free reign to utilize God’s fundamentals of what he deems a marriage should look like and feel like—or not. When we deviate from God’s fundamentals, we begin to enter some very dark places. And if anyone knows what happens to marriages once those dark places are chosen and visited, it’s God. And He doesn’t want anyone to go there. But if one rejects God’s marriage guidelines, God can allow that misguided journey to take place. Then, once all the misery, dysfunction, torment and mayhem have occurred, one will, hopefully, begin to realize that God knew what He was talking about all along.