Mark 10:7-9 “FOR THIS REASON A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER, AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH; so they are no longer two, but one flesh. "What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate." (NASB)
It was our anniversary two weeks ago. We celebrated 31 years of marriage together by first going to CBCC for my daily treatment and then to a very nice dinner. When the girls in the radiation treatment area saw that my wife was with me this particular visit (she had been before) they asked for the first time if she would like to see what the machine looks like. I said I thought she would. They also asked if there was some special reason she was with me this visit and I said it was our anniversary. And so, as I got on the table and prepared for my treatment someone went out to get Sharon. She came in and got the nickel tour of the treatment room while they got me in the correct orientation for my session.
Treatment only takes about two minutes once everything is ready to go. So, in no time I was done and getting my shoes back on when one of the girls came back in and asked, "How many years?" I said, "31". She said, " What is the secret?"
I contemplated my answer and then said, “A Christian marriage.”
After the awkward moment I supplemented my answer with, “Making a promise and keeping it.”
Well that met with a little more overt support and discussion about how few could and did actually make and keep commitments or promises these days.
Since then I’ve had a chance to think more about this encounter and the truth of the situation. Statistically my first answer may be untrue as we see virtually the same divorce rate occurs among Christians and non-Christians. So, perhaps that’s just not it. So, what about my second or follow-up answer around making a promise and keeping it? Perhaps that is getting closer to the truth.
I can say that in my marriage we are together today because we have both made a commitment and are very determined to keep the commitment. Maybe we're both just that stubborn. We would also very readily confess we are not the easiest people to live with and there are plenty of witnesses to that over the years but we have lived by our promise.
I believe however it is the promise itself that must be examined in order to fully appreciate its power and perhaps render strength to my original answer. In the marriage ceremony several questions are asked of the couple with regard to the commitment they are making. Those questions of commitment or covenant are where the power of a lasting marriage are derived. Perhaps the power of the promise is not even fully understood at the time but is appreciated after the fact and strengthened with understanding.
The fact is that the promises made in the marriage ceremony are not simply between the husband and wife but between husband, wife and the Lord. Sharon and I agree that our promise was not just to one another but to God Himself as well. In some way making that promise to love honor and cherish all the days of my life was strengthened with the knowledge that it was made not just to my wife but to God. I know Sharon feels the same way too.
So the scripture says, "What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate." I’ll not be the one to argue, disagree, object or rebel. AMEN!