What's Going on with Marriage?
As much as possible, I try not to write about things that bother me on here. I have this philosophy because I want this blog to be something that is encouraging to all believers and something that [hopefully] will be able to help you throughout your life's journey with the Lord Jesus. This being said, I have something that at first is not going to be very encouraging, in fact it's going to be really sad, but that Lord willing will be able to end on a more positive note.
According to Divorce Statistics, 45-50% of first marriages in the United States of America end in divorce. I know that we all know this, but that doesn't make it any less terrible. In fact, it gets worse. 60-67% of second marriages end in divorce and 70-73% of third marriages don't work out! Not to mention, 40% of couples with children divorce, while 66% of those without kids also end in divorce. In the year 2010 alone, 872000 of people living in the USA were either divorced or had their marriages annulled. In fact, 10% of the entire US population is divorced.
This is wrong and needs to change.
In my own life, I have actually had to deal with the issue of divorce and the idea that marriage is bad quite frequently actually. No don't worry, my parents are happily married and living a biblical marriage, but there are so many people who aren't. A girl I am in class with, I won't use her real name so let's call her Abby, was in the military, got out, and is now currently married to a husband who is apparently a real jerk. They don't live with each other anymore, she moved back home is now back at school at MSU and in the process of getting a divorce. Something Abby says all the time in class, warning her three other partners (myself being one of them), is that we should never get married because it just turns out bad. I finally had enough of this today and told her that maybe we just shouldn't marry the WRONG person, to which she actually agreed. Okay, but how many people has she told NOT to get married? How many people will consider her advice? Let's move on...
The media loves to play with this idea of divorce or not getting married at all as well. In the comic book universe, Superman and Lois Lane were married, The Flash and Iris West were married, and Aquaman and his wife Mera were happily married, until DC Comics decided to change up all their characters giving them new ages, personalities, and stories, which lead to these marriages being split up as if they never happened. The same thing happened to Spider-Man and Mary Jane Watson too! All of this was done to create "more story-telling opportunities" for the characters, completely dissolving the vow and bounds of marriage. The only marriage I've seen recently in comic books was that of a gay couple from the X-Men!
Speaking of, unless you're watching a television sitcom, how many times recently have you seen a married couple (as in one man and one woman) on a drama show? I honestly can't think of many, only a few. Chuck & Sarah on Chuck, Oliver & Chloe and Clark & Lois (who really never got married but had a ceremony that was interrupted, so that only kind of counts) on Smallville, and Ichabod Crane and his wife Katrina on Sleepy Hollow. I'm sure there are more but the fact that I can't remember them is sad, not to mention that none of these marriages were biblical marriages in the first place! Each one of the couples mentioned above, besides the two from Sleepy Hollow, had sex before marriage, each one of these couples kept secrets from each other, each one (on some level) either betrayed each other or left each other for a time, and two of them even tried to kill one another, one succeeding.
Which brings me to last night. Last night I watch the season finale of Sleepy Hollow (spoilers will follow by the way), a show that I really like largely because of the biblical lore (specifically the Book of Revelation) that is the main context of the show (as the main characters are the Two Witnesses from Revelation who face the Headless Horseman of Death as one of their archenemies, it's actually a pretty cool concept!). However, there have always been three things that have bothered me about the show, only one of which I'll talk about tonight. One being the use of magic and sorcery, something I absolutely hate because God hates it, the second being the Witnesses conforming to society (as in, they aren't prophesying or preaching the Gospel, only battling evil, which is good but not accurate), and the third is the way that marriage takes a backseat to their mission and partnership. The main character, Ichabod Crane, is married to his wife Katrina (a witch by the way), who keeps secrets from him (strike one). In the final episodes of this season, Katrina becomes consumed by her blood magic powers and joins the Horseman of War to destroy the world and bring witches about to rule the Earth (strike two). When the Horseman dies (who just so happens to be her and Ichabod's son) at the hands of the Second Witness, Katrina goes back in time in order to kill her husband (strike three). This ends with the Second Witness following her, restoring time, and Ichabod, the First Witness, having to kill her in order to protect the Second.
Now, there are a few things wrong here. First of all, Katrina, in the first season, was portrayed as a hero and faithful to her husband, but by Season 2, her devotion to her husband wavers, eventually turning into betrayal. This is not an accurate picture of what marriage is supposed to be. It goes even further when Ichabod kills his wife in order to save his partner's life. Now, I'm all about saving people, but killing your wife to do so is also not what marriage should be. Ultimately, the real issue here is that the writers of Sleepy Hollow and the characters in the series don't understand what marriage truly should look like in a biblical context.
According to Scripture, marriage is for six different things. Now, I wouldn't limit marriage to only six different uses, but based on what I've seen in Scripture, this is a biblical picture of marriage:
- Marriage, first and foremost, was created for Procreation. In Genesis 1:28, God blesses Adam and Eve's marriage and tells them to multiply and fill the Earth, to rule over all that is in it. Marriage is how children are supposed to come into the world! Children who grow up in broken homes or homes with one parent or two of the same sex don't get the same kind of structure and biblical outlook on what marriage is supposed to be! This is why this is the first thing the Lord tells the couple after they are married, so they can share with the world what marriage is to be like and so that they can fill it.
- Marriage is for Pleasure. Marriage is supposed to be fun! If something like sex, within the context of marriage, wasn't something that was pleasurable and was simply a way to create kids with no joy or happiness involved in it, then it would be pretty boring on some level. But no, God created sex with a sense of pleasure, to stimulate us and make us connect with our spouse. Proverbs 5:18-19 tell us that we should be satisfied with our spouse. And sex is a two way street too people, it's for both parties and one shouldn't deprive the other (1 Corinthians 7:5), hence why sex within marriage is so powerful and is something that Satan likes to corrupt as said in Hebrews 13:4 (it's also why masturbation is a sin, because you are only one half of a whole).
- Marriage is for Prevision, specifically in terms of the husband providing for the wife for two reasons. First is that the wife is "a weaker vessel". Not in terms of spiritually or maturity or even socially, but in terms of physically, thus why the man is called to provide for his wife and family. Secondly, because it's good for the man to provide because he feels like he's doing what he was created to do (and if you look at the first few chapters of Genesis, that would be correct!).
- Marriage is for Partnership. This is probably the most obvious of them all. In Genesis 2, it's said that God created women from man because man should not be alone. Men and women are made for each other, that's why they're comparable, that's why they (not a man and a man or a woman and a woman) can reproduce, because God LITERALLY MADE marriage for one man and one women so they could be partners in life. Ephesians 5:31 specifically says that when two are married (and they have sex), they have now become ONE FLESH. Essentially, and this is echoed throughout Scripture, this means that they aren't simply individuals anymore, it means that they are each half of a whole.
- Marriage is Picture. This is exactly what I've been talking about the entire time, but it needs to be reiterated here. Ephesians 5:22-33 talks about how marriage is a PICTURE of Christ and the Church! When talking about this, it gets a little tricky, but I'm going to tell it to your straight from Scripture (1 Peter 1-9, Ephesians 5:22-28), and if you disagree or are offended, then take it up with the Almighty Holy God. As marriage is a picture of Christ's relationship with the Church where Christ is the head and we do as He will's, loving Him in return, then marriage should be the same way. Now, I don't mean this to undermine women, but Scripture very clearly has a place for men and women in the context of marriage. The husband is a picture of Christ, though not perfect he is the head of the relationship, and thus the family. Thus, as Christ loves the Church, so must a husband love his wife unconditionally. The wife is the picture of the Church, which means she is called to be submissive to her husband (provided he is not making her break the 10 Commandments obviously). This is something that should really be super-clear, but for many they choose to ignore it due to personal bias or cultural norms.
- Lastly, but certainly not least, Marriage is for Purity. This goes right back to the 10 Commandments talking about sexual sin outside of marriage. It's wrong to have sex outside of the covenant of marriage, period. Sometimes that's hard to remember, often we don't want to remember it, but that's the way it's supposed to be! Sex within marriage is something sacred to God, it's something that should be undefined, meaning only the husband and wife should ever have sex with each other! In fact, 1 Corinthians 7:9 says that it's better to be married and then have sex than just have sex outside of marriage! They go together, they aren't supposed to be separate.
Here's the thing, obviously this is something I'm passionate about. I don't like divorce, neither does God, the only time divorce is okay with God, and I use that really loosely here because it's sin and He's really not okay with it, is when the unbelieving spouse leaves the other. It's not okay if you're both believers, it's a sin. It's not okay if one of you is unbelieving and you don't want to be there anymore, it's a sin. 1 Corinthians 7:15 says, "But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or sister is NOT under bondage in such cases: but God hath called us to peace." God doesn't even say that it's okay, He just says that you don't have to deal with being under that bondage anymore! This is why it's so important not to be unequally yolked with someone who not only is not a believer, but also doesn't have the same views on Scripture AND marriage as you do (2 Corinthians 6:14)!
In all honesty, it truly saddens me that today so many people have the wrong view on marriage. It's not between a man and a man or a women and a women, that's un-biblical and quite frankly a sin. Living together and having sex doesn't make you married and is in fact also a sin. Sex before marriage is a sin. Divorce is a sin, unless you're not the one leaving (at least based on my interpretation of that, so don't take my word, pray on it). Marriage is between a man and a woman and is a picture of Christ and the Church made manifest. I cannot stress enough how important and powerful marriage is and how much I hate that it is being perverted it our society and culture today.
In case any of you are interested, those six points above are points I pulled from a message Tanner Ripley preached to us at CrossLife last semester, here's a link for you guys if you want to take a listen, I highly recommend it: Marriage & Sexuality