Monday, June 25, 2007

Is Marriage about Memory?

As my roommates will attest, I am an avid blog reader. I came across a blog last week that caught my attention. The subject was divorce, and the man (a Christian) was making a case for staying together in marriage. His overarching reason for keeping covenant with your spouse was memory. Memory is a powerful force, one that is ripped apart by divorce, comparable to a chapter being ripped out of a book—it’s just never the same story after that.

While I greatly appreciated this man lifting high the beauty of his own marriage, and speaking out against divorce, it seemed that something was missing from his argument for staying together. Memory is most certainly a very viable reason to want to stay married. No one can replace years of events that happen between a husband and a wife, but memory is not enough. Memory won’t make a woman stick with it when she has vowed to pick up her husband’s dirty clothes for the last time. If anything, memory would make her remember why she made that rash vow in the first place. Memory is easily clouded by emotions and feelings, especially in the heat of turmoil.

Memory of a life spent together is special and part of what makes growing old together so exciting. But there is a deeper memory that keeps a marriage intact, a memory that has been around since the beginning of time.

God created marriage to point to Himself, first to point to the nature of the Trinity, then to point to the relationship between Christ and His Bride, the Church. When people get divorced, they are preaching a Gospel of abandonment, of a Christ who leaves His Church, and that is fundamentally opposed to what the Bible teaches. God hates divorce not because memories are ripped apart, though that is certainly true. God hates divorce because it is blasphemous.

The current view of marriage in our culture is showing us that we must talk about marriage as something far greater than feeling and memory. Turn on the television and we will see that the quest for love and marriage has been reduced to nothing more than a reality show game where companionship ends as quickly as it begins. We see countless men and women staking their very credibility on desperately seeking “true love”, and while this desires and longings are true and right, we must speak to them in biblical language.

While memory is a very real and practical reason to stay married, it leaves much to be desired, and can easily be explained away by those in marriages with memories that are less than ideal. As Christians, we must speak to the divorce culture with truth and clarity, showing them that a Christian man leaving behind his wife and children is preaching to the world that he believes that the Gospel does not matter, that Christ does not keep covenant with His Bride.

Marriage is very much about a story, a story about our great God sending His Son to die to redeem His Bride. Marriages point to that story, they are not simply autonomous stories in and of themselves—though the memories made are individual and priceless. May our language about marriage be as great as God makes it. And may we be preaching the one true Gospel of salvation in our local churches, not only in the pulpit, but inthe 60th wedding anniversaries of the oldest members of our congregations.

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