MARRIAGE IS SACRED; TREAT IT AS BEING HOLY

Today I’ve responded to a couple of phone calls and several emails on issues regarding marriage.  Allow me to address a couple of items with boldness:

Words are important! This foolishness of referring to one’s spouse as “the husband” or “the wife” on Facebook and in conversations must cease. Using “my wife” or “my husband” communicates respect and a deep commitment to the other. The terms we use should differentiate us from those who cheapen marriage by their crass talk.

Ministry is NEVER more important than marriage. A holy vow of matrimony before God and witnesses always takes priority over a call to ministry. There is no grey area. It is straightforward and clear. Your marriage and family are far more important than your ministry. Yes, God expects you to walk away from ministry rather than violate a vow and bring hurt and harm to your spouse and family. (Failure to do so may indicate that ministry has become an idol.)

There is no such thing as a “bad marriage.” A marriage might be difficult but the covenant between a husband and wife and God cannot be bad. By its very nature it is sacred, a trust to be guarded, cultivated, and deeply cared for. That may require a great deal of effort and discipline.

Feelings cannot always be trusted. Lois and I were married for 34 years and 26 days. Did I always “feel” in love? No. But I learned that actions often come before feelings. Our media-saturated culture presents a totally false view of marriage. Base your loving actions toward your spouse on Scripture and models of Christ-centered marriages.

Sexual fulfillment comes from self-control, self-discipline, and self-sacrifice. Always. This is true before marriage, in marriage, and after a marriage ends – either in the death of a spouse or divorce. In other words, sexual fulfillment is not about you.

Get help. Challenges are a natural part of relationships; especially in marriage. When those challenges seem overwhelming, do not hesitate to ask for help. Seeking advice from a counselor and/or spiritual director is not a sign of weakness but of strength and maturity. (If you don’t know where to turn, contact me. I’ll help identify someone in your area within 48 hours.)

Please excuse the harsh tone of these words. It can be blamed on me being tired, frustrated, lonesome for Lois (we would’ve celebrated her 60th Birthday today), or just cranky – or all of the above! Mostly I am very concerned about the number of marriages under attack and families with unusual stress. Please be assured that I am praying for you!

8 thoughts on “MARRIAGE IS SACRED; TREAT IT AS BEING HOLY”

  1. I wish more pastors would preach this way. So many are afraid to “step on toes” they do a dis-service to their people. God meant for Christians to sent the example of denying self to find joy in serving each other – including marriage. Thank you.

  2. So…when a husband repeatedly rapes and beats his wife, that’s not a “bad marriage” and she should just soldier on with “effort and discipline”? It makes me rage inside knowing you may have given this advice to an abused woman who was looking for help.

  3. Jim…thanks for sharing this valuable post. I don’t think your tone was harsh. I believe you spoke the truth in love! How we need this teaching in our churches and in the world today.

  4. There seems to be an issue with my comment. It still shows as “awaiting moderation”.

    Is there some technical issue which prevents you from posting it? Just in case it got lost, I’ll copy and paste it again here. I look forward to hearing your response.

    So…when a husband repeatedly rapes and beats his wife, that’s not a “bad marriage” and she should just soldier on with “effort and discipline”? It makes me rage inside knowing you may have given this advice to an abused woman who was looking for help.

  5. While an offer of help is certainly a good first step, it is not in any way sufficient.

    Please answer the following question yes or no: “If a husband repeatedly rapes and beats his wife, can she get a divorce?”

    Be careful how you answer. If you answer no, you are facilitating rape and torture. If you answer yes, please change your remarks re: “There is no such thing as a bad marriage”.

  6. Korey – I made it very clear, God allows for divorce. If you or someone you know is being brutalized as you described, the authorities must be contacted without delay, a restraining order established, and safety assured.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *