This morning The Lovely Joanne told me in her endearing way, "Well, you're stuck with me forever, so you'd better just get used to it." By which she was telling me she loves me and is not interested in ever being anything but married to me. Which is really a good thing, because I
feel the same way about her! Sadly, not everyone has that outlook in this age and it has caused a lot of pain. How can we Jesus-followers do a better job of it?
One of God's greatest creations is marriage. It can be one of the most important and rewarding relationships in human life, and even those who never marry can be blessed by watching the joy and partnership in a deep marriage. Jesus thought marriage was a big deal -- one of his many confrontations with the Pharisees was over marriage. In Mark 10:1-12 he brings their question back to the foundational issue, the creation of men and women by God. He tells us that "it's because of this creation of male and female that a man leaves his father and mother and clings to his wife, and the two together become a new unity of persons."
Let's think about that: a unity of persons, two persons becoming one. Does that sound familiar? Yep, it has a Trinitarian ring to it! Since we know Him as "One God in three Persons" we realize there is a certain diversity within the unity of the Godhead, and there can also be a certain unity within the diversity of two human individuals. The love and oneness in marriage can reflect, up to a point, the oneness and self-giving in the Trinity. Like all analogies, this one breaks down pretty quickly, so let's not try to read backwards too far!
God desires that "one flesh" unity in marriage, and the Holy Spirit in us helps us achieve it. The self-giving necessary in marriage is an extending of the self, trusting that what is given will be honored. Faithfulness in marriage includes binding ourselves to honor that self-gift of our spouse to us. When that trust is broken, for instance if we reject that self-offering, whether by criticism, failing to thankfully honor it, or some other way, that oneness is injured. If we hold something back against our spouse because we don't believe he or she is not treating us right, we need to remember God is still accepting us, even while we fail to perfectly honor our promises to him!
Jesus also said (in The Message) "Because God created this organic union of the two sexes, no one should desecrate his art by cutting them apart.” So in our marriage relationships, let's not mess up God's artwork, even in the smallest ways, by tearing those bonds between us.