July 1, 2014

by Bob Brockmann MA, MSW

When we think of marriage it often produces an idealistic image of a wonderful relationship with a beautiful person who will forever share our hopes, dreams and goals. We will take romantic walks at sunset while exchanging our innermost feelings and passions. We will live in a lovely home complete with a picket fence, respectful children and a dog who is perfectly potty trained. Our spouse is someone with whom we feel and experience a profound sense of connection and love. But what happens when the alarm goes off, the dream is over and we wake up to life as it actually is?


Inevitably, all relationships, at one time or the other, will fade in and out of this idyllic, perfect picture. Unfortunately, when difficulties happen, the current social reaction would be to dump what does not make you happy and move on to the next “perfect person.” However, this is not God’s design. As Christians, marriage must be understood within the vocation of discipleship: as a faithful response to God’s will; for better and worse. Sin has caused us to see marriage not as a binding covenant but as a disposable arrangement based on personal convenience and selfish preferences.

As Christians, we should see marriage as a gift. This is demonstrated in Genesis. In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth, the day and the night, the water and the land, the plants and the animals. What is interesting is God only said these things were “good”; this beautifully complex world with all it splendor is just “good.” But, after God made man and woman in His own image and likeness, He then saw all that He had made and said it was “very good.” Adam and Eve represented something very special. They formed a relationship not only with each other but also with God. Adam and Eve were created as individuals but they were also united and seen by God as one flesh. On the sixth day, God saw the earth and this one flesh relationship between Adam and Eve (the marriage union) and then He said it was “very good.”

Needless to say, much has changed concerning marriage since the Garden of Eden. The national divorce rate is close to fifty percent and society has forgotten their origins. We have failed to recognize God’s ageless intentions concerning marriage. Marriage is not a conditional arrangement but rather a divinely established bond created by God. As such, it cannot be changed, negotiated or manipulated. Marriage was created as a blessed relationship with God.

Society seems to have experienced a slow and quiet abandonment of her original values; we have strayed from the Creator’s original intentions. The Christian moral standard is now seen as an imposition on our ability to develop our own personal identity, ethical autonomy and self-expression. Sin, in the form of complacency and personal satisfaction, has irrevocably damaged the dream of the Garden. Sin and evil takes root in man when he focuses on himself and his own desires rather than on God and His desires. The marriage union is damaged when we consider ourselves independent and place our needs separate from God and our spouse in order to pursue our own direction and desires.

To better grow in marriage with a spouse we should seek to duplicate the relationship God has with us. He loves us unconditionally, gives us unending acts of kindness, is forgiving, gracious and merciful. He is always patient with us, committed, does not keep a record of wrongs and is not self-seeking. This selfless commitment builds trust in the marriage relationship and is expressed in assurance, happiness and hope.