well, i suppose it all gets down to how you define marriage in order to see its importance.
lots of people these days…i would venture to say that most people these days…believe that marriage is conditional. that’s the concept of staying together as long as both people are happy and in love. it’s even reflected in the popular rephrasing of the traditional wedding vows. …as long as we both shall live has been replaced with …as long as we both shall love. tricky loophole.
the irony is that most couples support this conditional concept of marriage. oh…they don’t really say it out loud, but it’s there. even church couples!
the public promises of fidelity and lifelong commitment are often secretly hedged in private. provision for divorce, though not expressed in the public vow, is privately held on to as an acceptable outcome under extreme conditions.
it is simply an option that people carry around in their back pockets. they don’t want to use it. they see the problems it creates. it may even be deemed a sin. but it is no less an option.
so why do i believe in marriage? because i believe in the intrinsic value of promise keeping. when we make and keep promises, we are like god. first and foremost, god is a promise keeper…or as he is called in the old testament, a covenant god.
we are better people when we make and keep promises. the promises that i make (and keep) to wanda give her confidence and provide for her a sense of security…not simply in me, but in god who inspires and enables me to keep my promises.
if we buy into the idea that our ultimate goal in life is not to be happy, but is to be christlike, then we have this incredible opportunity to live it out in the context of marriage. when we make (and keep) promises in marriage, we are being re-formed in god’s image. we are walking the path of calvary. we are walking worthy of our calling.
yeah. promises are that important.