do they see two people forging a partnership for simply their own mutual pleasure and success?
do they see two people drawn together by shared bank accounts and business propositions?
do they see two people co-existing with each other, held together by the roof over their head?
do they see two people in an arrangement of common responsibilities to care for children, household chores, and community activities?
after all, isn’t that what a civil union is all about?
i grew up in america. this is not a culture where “arranged” marriages are fostered. (although, i hear arkansas beats to a different drum…). i’m pretty sure that every marriage i have been exposed to started out with at least some feelings of infatuation and physical attraction.
and those feelings gave way to how that couple chose to define love for the life of their marriage…whether it lasted three months, three years or three decades.
again, that’s what civil union is all about.
as a follower of christ, though, i entered into more than a civil union where i personally defined what love and marriage was going to be.
i entered into a partnership where the very nature of our relationship to each other…to our children…to everyone who was drawn into contact with us…would be defined totally by our identity as a disciple of jesus and not by what i felt or by what was most “sensible”.
when i read the words that paul uses in ephesians 5 to describe the relationship of wives and husbands to each other, they are profoundly simple. “be to each other exactly as christ would be to you…in everything…at all times…no matter what.” my paraphrase of 5:21-31. and you should read it for yourself. right now.
(and for the record, to strangle this passage by saying it’s all about “roles” in a marriage, is to miss the depth and purpose of what paul is saying. he is not talking about who is supposed to be the “boss” and who is supposed to be the follower. he is saying we are both to take on the full character of christ. imo.)
he ends the passage with this great statement about marriage:
“For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. Ephesians 5:31-32
so back to my first question of this post…”what do people see when they look at your marriage?” if you claim to be a follower of christ, they should see his character and lifestyle in every part of your marriage.
they should see a relationship overflowing with grace. they should see kindness and mercy…not just to each other, but to everyone you come in contact with. they should see compassion and generosity and forgiveness and simplicity and a heart for the poor. because that’s what the character of christ looks like.
frankly, the marriage of two disciples of christ might not even look much like a “successful” civil union.
but god will be honored.
and his opinion of your marriage is the only one that really counts anyway.