Herald Journal Columns
Jan. 31, 2005, Herald Journal
Pastor's Column

Marriage – made in heaven?

By Rev. Daniel Runke, Albion Evangelical Free Church, Cokato

Pollsters have told us that this past election, the number one issue for voters was “moral values.”

Topping that list of values, of course, is the sanctity of human life and of marriage. Voters recognized that a society that doesn’t value life and marriage will eventually become too turbulent to live in.

In 2004, we saw many attacks against the sanctity of marriage. People tried to redefine marriage from its traditional definition in all cultures as the “union between one man and one woman.” But, each time the voters were given the chance to decide, they overwhelmingly rejected every attempt to change the definition.

That doesn’t mean marriage is safe. Politicians and activists will try, once again, to redefine marriage.

We can also see that marriage is under attack from more than just politicians and activists. When only one out of two marriages in this country makes it, due to divorce, we can see that marriages are under attack and need to be strengthened. Passing laws making it harder to divorce might help in the short run, but not in the long run.

Obviously, marriage is a heart issue between a man and a woman. No law can change the heart, only God can change the heart. For that to happen we need to understand how the Creator designed marriage to function.

In Matthew 19:4-6, Jesus said “in the beginning, the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason, a man will leave his father and mother and be united (cleave) to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore, what God has joined together, let man not separate.”

Jesus gives us three components that make a good marriage. First, only two need apply: male and female. Nothing else works; that is the Creator’s words, not mine.

Second, there is the leaving or forsaking of one’s parents for the purpose of uniting to form a new union. In the Old Testament, the word used (cleave) meant a joining together, like gluing two pieces of wood together. For two pieces of wood to be glued together, one has to leave the two pieces undisturbed to give the glue time to set good and hard.

Someone once said “in-laws are one word away from becoming out-laws.” Extended family is important, but they must never get in the way of the two becoming one, a life-long process.

Third, marriage is made in heaven, but we must work to keep it on earth. Jesus said divorce was allowed because of the hardness of man’s heart (see Matthew 19:8). The implication is that I must see to it that my heart remains soft.

The Bible promises grace to everyone who humbly seeks to do just that (see James 4:8). That is a worthy goal for every married couple, and in the short and long run, will do the most to strengthen marriages.

As a couple, why not go to a marriage seminar or read a book on marriage this year? There are many good books and/or marriage seminars to choose from. If you are looking for a starting place, go to www.familylife.com.

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