December 4 – The Marriage Covenant

Read Matthew 19:1-12

“Do you take her to be your wedded wife, to live together in marriage?  Do you promise to love her, comfort her, honor and keep her for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and health, and forsaking all others, be faithful only to her, for as long as you both shall live?”

Over the years, I have listened as dozens of husbands responded with “I do” answers to questions very similar to those above.  Of course, I have also heard similar words (with the change of a few pronouns) expressed from brides to grooms.  In fact, the love of my life and I just celebrated the fact that 34 years ago we expressed promises like those to each other.  Those are vows of commitment.  They are words of covenant.

As a covenant, it is no surprise that Jesus describes it as binding.  Somehow, through marriage, a man and a woman become one.  This is an inseparable union.  This is a “super-glued relationship.”  But it is important to note that it is not the couple that provides the cement.  And, even though a minister of the gospel or justice of the peace pronounces the union, neither of them can ultimately bring the two together.  Instead, this is a relationship that “God has joined together.”  As such, it is one that man should not separate.

If you are married or are considering marriage, don’t lose sight of the covenant aspect of the relationship.  Don’t forget that God forges two into one.  And, as with two pieces of wood that are glued together, there aren’t any clean, smooth edges when you attempt to separate them.  Instead, the separation results in rough, jagged, splintered, and potentially painful edges.

Now, is that to say that there are no potential reasons for dissolving a marriage?  It is certainly worth careful study of God’s word in passages like Matthew 19:9 and 1 Corinthians 7:8-16.  But, even if one concludes that there are exceptions to the rule, don’t lose sight of the clear principle: marriage is a covenant made in His presence in which He joins people in a union that He intended to last a lifetime.


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