As Valentine’s Day approaches, too many Christians view marriage through the lens of obligation.
We seem keen on “defending marriage” in terms of a cultural battle, but too often we fail to passionately defend it in our own homes.
As it does in some many other areas of the Christian life, legalism can creep in and quietly shift the focus of our relationship with our spouse to merely maintaining a commitment.
Biblical marriage can be nothing less than a commitment, but it should be much more. The standard for a Christian marriage should go beyond merely avoiding divorce to one of abundance.
Marriage is to be enjoyed. When Jesus said that He has come to give us an abundant life, why would that not also include our marriages?
Many fail to think of how that applies to life within marriage, but for the majority of people they spend most of their life married. Surely, Jesus didn’t intended for abundance to only apply to our life distinct from our marriage.
The biblical language describing marriage is not one of dry commitment, but rather one of passionate enjoyment of your spouse and their company. You love them and you love being around them.
None of that negates that problems occur. Two sinful people are living and growing together. Conflict is to be expected.
Neither does this mean commitment should last only as long as you feel “in love.” The feelings of love grow deepest and strongest in the soil of lifelong commitment.
We are to build off that foundational commitment, not treat it as if it were the final goal. Foundations are necessary for a beautiful home, but you don’t want to live on the bare concrete slab. You want to use it to construct a home where you can share memories and life with your family.
Our marital commitment is the same. It should never be dismissed or ignored, but we move forward using the strength it grants the two united by it.
Marriage is for our enjoyment because it reflects God’s creation as it should be—in relation.
God is a relational God. He exists in eternity as Trinity with a perfect relationship between the Father, the Son and the Spirit.
The beginning and end of the Bible, Genesis and Revelation, have marriage at the center.
In Genesis, God sees that man should not be alone, so He brings him woman. In Revelation, we read about the bride of Christ and the marriage supper of the Lamb.
God values marriage and He gave it to us as a gift. Yes, we should absolutely protect marriage as an institution and value the commitment that exists at its foundation.
But don’t lose sight of the fact that in Christ, our life is be measured by abundance and that includes our married life.
If marriage is a good gift from a good God, it should be treated as such. Not only with care and reverence, but with joy and laughter, love and passion.
Don’t fall for any substitutes, be they extra-biblical or sub-biblical, legalist or license to sin. God’s standard, and therefore the Christian standard, for marriage is abundance within the commitment—enjoy it and each other.