I believe that marriage is not a contract. Contracts are written to protect both sides from the other. I do not want to protect myself from my wife, I want (with trepidation) to be vulnerable to her. That vulnerability opens the door for so many blessings. I also am working on being more vulnerable to God, and I have had some progress there. If marriage is not a contract, what is it?
As the picture above shows, a marriage is a step two people take to share the rest of the life journey with each other.
In my eyes, marriage is a commitment and a covenant. The man commits that he will take on the role of the husband. Hopefully, the couple agrees as to what this means, as it can mean different things in different societies. The woman commits that she will take on the role of the wife. Again, hopefully, they have agreed to what this is between themselves. The better their mutual understanding of what they expect of each other, the better the odds that they will enjoy the union. Enjoy it for a long time. They do not have to conform to what society or the church says, they accept their relationship and each other as they are, and learn over time how to best fit together.
They also commit that if blessed with children they will take on the job of parenting. Because other lives are involved, they do their best to learn these roles. From discussion with each other, and from society as well. They are raising people who will love them, and who are the future! They also are committing, to their children that they will prepare their children for adulthood. Wild animals, by instinct, do what their young need to be prepared for adulthood. Should not humans do this better than wild animals?
Hopefully, they also both admit that neither of them is ‘perfect for the job’. Neither can do their part very well without help, and they promise to help each other. I hope they realize that a whole bunch of in-laws comes in this package deal, and find a way to handle that as well. While we try to ‘leave mother and father’ and ‘cleave to each other’, it is not always easy for both to do it together, or even at the same time!
They DO NOT necessarily commit to a church, even though the ceremony often takes place in a church. They commit to God and each other with a church as a possible witness. If they do not believe in God, then they are committing to each other. In either case, someone who has been labeled an “expert on marriage” signs the certificate to certify that the commitment has been made public and is sincere.
1: a usually formal, solemn, and binding agreementMerriam-Webster Dictionary
2: a written agreement or promise usually under seal between two or more parties especially for the performance of some action
It is an agreement! Formal, solemn, binding agreement or promise! The covenant with each other to do all the commitments above! What’s the difference between a commitment and a covenant? A commitment is done as an individual, a covenant is done with at least two parties, in this case the two newlyweds!
Some say that there really is a conspiracy in our country. There really is a group that is planning on taking over our government at the state, local and federal levels. Planning to take over the school systems, the local businesses. At the same time, they plan to take over the court system, the health care system, and the military. Planning to take over our communities. Even more amazing is that we are willing, no, more than that, we are eager to let them do this. Who are they? Our youth, the next generation.
Not a License!
I didn’t use the words ‘marriage license’ because governments give out licenses as legal permission to engage in an activity. (Doctor’s license, hunting license, fishing license, business license, driver’s license, etc.) Since I am addressing the issue between the husband and wife in this article, I don’t care what the government thinks. The government is NOT that important!
I consider divorce as the ‘actual’, not the ‘legal’ death of a marriage commitment.
As medical authorities estimate when a victim died, and why, we look back at the death of the marriage and estimate why and how it died. Let’s not look for the ‘murderer’, let’s just admit the death. I want to help people move forward while they mourn the death.
Adoption is an example of the ‘legal’ and the ‘real’ being different. The real parents are not available to fulfill their God-ordained roles, and someone else takes on their roles. Both sets of parents may be loving and have an important, positive effect on the child. I am stating that the LEGAL and the REAL are DIFFERENT.
Another example, that goes much further back in history comes from the Roman Empire. A father was allowed to disown his natural son. It was a permanent disownment. Yet, when children were adopted the law did not allow disownment. The “adoption” was for life and unbreakable! The adopted children had more rights than natural children!
So, when did the death occur? That is a difficult question. My point is not how or when, but that it does happen and for many has happened already. I do not propose to set down a list of ‘shoulds, ‘shouldn’ts’, ‘don’ts’, and ‘do’s. Not even to try to figure out why the divorce happened. I am not here to condemn anyone. We are here to face the reality of divorce in the church. Remember that the Pharisees were hypocrites because they stuck to the letter of the law while forgetting the love of the Author!
We are here to minister to those that have experienced the trauma of a divorce and to propose what I believe is God’s view.
Medical Community’s Priorities
Let’s look at the way the medical community looks at treating a patient. Both before the patient dies and afterward.
Before the patient dies:
- Maintain life at all costs.
- Teach the living to respect & prolong life.
- Teach higher quality, healthy living.
- Use expertise to extend life.
- Use expertise to remove/reduce sickness/disease/pain/suffering.
- Study to become better at all the above.
After the patient dies:
- Accept the loss, deal with it.
- Go on with life.
- Study the death, to learn from it for the sake of the still living.
- Bury the dead. Don’t hate them, nor live with them. Live with the living!
- Don’t deny the death or try to hide it, accept it.
- Do an autopsy as needed to help those still alive from suffering the same way.
Notice that in both cases above, the medical profession is very competent and compassionate. Accepting reality helps us to deal with it. So, before the marriage dies (in reality, not legally!) treat the “patient” differently than if the “patient” has already died.
A divorce occurs when the marriage dies, NOT upon signing the divorce certificate. Just as a death certificate is merely a document declaring death, so is a divorce certificate! The divorce certificate declares the death of the marriage!
The signing of the certificate merely states that THE DEATH HAS ALREADY OCCURRED. Again, for those going through a divorce, I am not condoning what you are doing. Even if your relationship has died, God can resurrect the dead. Don’t seek fulfillment anywhere else other than where God has provided it for you.
If you don’t believe God will resurrect the dead marriage, then confess the sin publicly, in the same manner as you made your vows. Very few people have actually died at the time of their death certificate, a large majority die sometime before it. The certificate states that ‘as of the time of this certificate’ there is death. So it is with a divorce certificate.
- Part One: Introduction
- Part Two: What is Marriage?
- Part Three: God’s Viewpoint
- Part Four: Is Divorce Unforgiveable?
- Part Five: Is Re-marriage An Option?
- Part Six: Scriptual Backing
Please comment and/or respond to what you heard inside of you as you read this! Let’s share!
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