Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Marriage Isn't for You...I think I've heard this before

I recently read a blog post about marriage that's gone quite viral.  The author beautifully addresses the notion that a husband's vocation is to serve his wife, and that a wife's vocation is to serve her husband, rather than the self-serving model where we get married because the other person makes us happy and stay married only as long as that happiness is preserved.  He says, in part:

"No, a true marriage (and true love) is never about you. It's about the person you love--their wants, their needs, their hopes, and their dreams. Selfishness demands, 'What's in it for me?' while Love asks, 'What can I give?'"

I'm glad to see people considering this wisdom, but also find it sad that so many never heard it before, in particular from the pen of Saint Paul in Ephesians 5

"Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.  For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior.  Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.  Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her,  that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word,  so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish."
~Ephesians 5:22-27

Strange as it may seem to some, the Bible actually has some really great stuff to teach us about being husbands and wives, fathers and mothers, presented to us in the greatest love story of all, that of Christ's crucified love for his bride the Church, that of a Father's love given to his children through their mother, the Jerusalem above.

8 comments:

Elizabeth of Hungary said...

It works even better if you start at verse 21.

Brad Odom said...

Thank you Pastor Fiene for addressing this issue. Too many people especially non-Christians abuse this scripture and misinterpret it.

Matt said...

Well there is also something in it for me. Through my wife's vocation as helper and mate, God provides many great blessings to me. And God blesses her in many ways by placing me as her head. There is certainly mutual self-interest involved, though all good things come originally from God.

marusha said...

Isn't that guy a Mormon? Yes, marriage isn't for 'us', he got that right, but unfortunately, a Mormon doesn't know what marriage is for either. Why? Because they don't know the true gospel. Marriage is designed by God as a picture of His redemption story. The groom is the role of Jesus and the bride is the role of the church. Mormons do not believe the gospel. Sure, the guy makes a good point, but his conclusions are unfortunately flawed, and much like society, he gets the whole marriage thing wrong too. And undiscerning Christians are once again jumping on the bandwagon of something that is taught under the guise of Christianity.

Daniel said...

Totally agree with you, marusha, about the design of marriage as a picture of His redemption story (beautifully worded by the way). We embrace such truths and offer many more. See what I mean by that regarding marriage and the family. I know what you find there is true with all my heart.

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https://www.lds.org/topics/family-proclamation

Pastor Fiene said...

Marusha,

Yes, Mormons don't believe the Gospel. And their understanding of marriage, in particular that Mormon men become gods who perpetually impregnate their wives with spirit babies, is entirely contrary to the Scriptures.

But my point was not that the author of the blog I referenced was making the case for Christian marriage. He doesn't mention Christ at all.

My point was that his notion that marriage is self-sacrificial is hardly a novel teaching of marriage. And I find it sad that so many people who are surrounded by Bibles and churches responded to it like they've never heard this concept before, just as I find it sad that the article probably wouldn't have gone viral, and would have been seen as "preachy" if it was written by a Christian who made an explicit connection to Christ's marriage to His Church.

It's similar to an article that I can't find, but written (I think) by William F Buckley about the Beatles' famous pilgrimage to India, where they learned that life is better if you love your neighbor. Sad that they had to travel around the world to learn something that was already being taught, in a far greater way, in the liturgy of the church down the road in Liverpool.

Cody said...

Marriage ought to be selfless, but that doesn't make it any less a gift. Gifts are inherently for you.

Jay Webler said...

Dear Pastor Fiene,

I am responding to the following. "And I find it sad that so many people who are surrounded by Bibles and churches responded to it like they've never heard this concept before, just as I find it sad that the article probably wouldn't have gone viral, and would have been seen as "preachy" if it was written by a Christian who made an explicit connection to Christ's marriage to His Church."

In IIKings 17:13-14 The Lord reveals the reason for the wickedness of Israel that was culminating in the captivity that was being brought upon them. "Yet the LORD warned Israel and Judah by every prophet and every seer, saying, "Turn from your evil ways and keep my commandments and my statutes, in accordance with all the Law that I commanded your fathers, and that I sent to you by my servants the prophets." But they would not listen, but were stubborn, as their fathers had been, who did not believe in the LORD their God." If you asked many of these Israelites if they believed in God they would have given a resounding YES, but in works they denied Him. Why? Because of unbelief. There was no true faith in the Lord which would have brought forth a change in their behavior. We speak of faith a great deal in modern times and yet we see the things that bring about the sadness that you spoke of. I fear that the faith that many profess is not the faith that God is talking about in the scriptures. My constant prayer is that pastures, across this country, would be given a steel rod up their backbone and proclaim the "full counsel of God". When Jesus asked if Peter loved him, Jesus did not say "feed the goats" but he said "feed my sheep". Go ahead and sound "preachy" we need more of it in our churches.