“This is why a man leaves his father and mother and bonds with his wife, and they become one flesh.” (CSB – Read the chapter)
The recipe for a good romantic comedy is that two people fall in love. But then what? Used to be, the “then what” was a hint that they were going to get married. Used to be, though, isn’t all that common anymore. Nowadays, the love stories end with a kiss and a promise of…well…love. But is that enough?
In this final part of our series, I Do, we talk about the secret sauce that makes marriage work. You will perhaps be completely unsurprised to find out it’s love. But, love only works if we know what it is and how to use it. As we wrap up the last few weeks of work, that’s exactly what we’ll be talking about. Keep reading to learn more.
Love Done Right
How many of you have seen the movie Michael with John Travolta? Leaving aside the terrible theology for a moment, the movie itself is great. John Travolta plays the archangel Michael who has come to earth apparently to have a great time, do a lot of sinning, and help William Hurt and Andie McDowell fall in love. Again, as I said, terrible theology. In any event, Hurt works for a tabloid magazine in New York and McDowell is a dog walker who convinces the magazine’s editor, Bob Hoskins, that she is an angel expert. The two are dispatched to Iowa where Michael is staying with an old woman in her hotel, in order to see if the reports they’ve heard about the angel living in Iowa are true. If they are, the pair are to convince him to come back to New York City with them for an interview. He refuses to fly (get it?) and instead insists that they drive across the country through rural America in order to get back to the big city. Along the way they have all kinds of misadventures including obscure tourist stops, bar fights, and great pie. About halfway through the movie, just before the group crosses the border into Illinois, Michael starts singing a pretty well-known song and encourages everybody else to join him.
This week, in part four of our series, I Do, we dealt with one of the dirtiest words in our culture. Want to know what it is? Submission. The idea of one person submitting themselves to another is anathema in the mind of the culture. And yet, when guys like Paul and Peter talked about marriage in their New Testament letters, they consistently used the word. That means we need to figure out what kind of a role it is supposed to have. Keep reading and wrestle with me with what this should look like.
My boys enjoy Legos. A lot. In addition to having two of them on Lego Robotics teams at school, I think we are on a good approach for having every Lego set known to man before they graduate from high school. Over the years of accumulating various cool sets, though, some have gotten disassembled after being played with for a while. On occasion, they’ll want to play with a set from the past they know now resides in pieces in the playroom. Fortunately, the Lego website has the instructions and parts list for pretty much every set they’ve ever produced available to download. It’s just a simple matter of printing out the parts list, finding the right pieces, and then pulling up the instructions on some kind of a computer so they can rebuild it. Simple, right?
In this third part of our series, I Do, we finally start getting practical. In the first part we defined marriage, and last week we talked about its purpose. That’s all good and important to know, but how do we actually get it right? Let’s talk about it starting with a special focus on what husbands need to do if our marriages are going to be what they can be.
Getting Things Right
We’ve talked about this a few times before and will talk about it again in the future, but one of the challenges of being a follower of Jesus committed to the idea that the Scriptures are right and true in everything they affirm is that there are some places that are downright hard to handle. The reasons for the difficulty are sometimes theological, but they are also scientific and cultural and social and relational and even just applicational. For example, the Law of Moses calls for the stoning of incorrigibly rebellious children and at the same time Jesus said that He came not to abolish the Law, but to fulfill it. Unless we can successfully understand Jesus’ fulfillment of the Law to mean that we can disregard commands such as that one, other than a strong temptation on rough days—like, say, day four or five of being stranded inside with three increasingly wild boys…not that Lisa and I know anything about that—we need to get used to the idea of living in constant and open rebellion to the Law given by God to His people.
This week we continue our new series, I Do, by talking about what marriage is for. Knowing what marriage is (which we established a couple of weeks ago) is great, but knowing what God designed it to accomplish gives us a huge boost in terms of making sure we’re doing it right ourselves. Keep reading to learn the purpose of marriage and what you can do to see that realized in your own life.
A Higher Purpose
I have a little quiz for you this morning. I hope you studied. Some of you who were never very good test takers in school are already starting to get a bit nervous, aren’t you? There’s just one question to this test, though, so you can relax just a bit. Are you ready? What is this thing in my hand? No, that’s not a trick question. Yeah, it’s a hammer. Here’s a bonus question for extra credit: What is a hammer? (And no, saying it’s the thing in my hand is not the correct answer.) In answering that bonus question, you might be tempted to say something like, “A hammer is a tool used for driving nails into wood,” but that is not the correct answer. If you were thinking anything along those lines, no bonus points for you. “Wait a minute,” you might be wanting to protest, “That is what a hammer is!” No, that definition tells me what a hammer is for. I asked you simply what a hammer is. Two different things there. Now, had you stopped after the word “tool,” you would have been more correct, although not terribly specific. Had you wanted to be more specific, you could have said something like, “A hammer is a tool, often made of shaped steel, with a round, flat peen which is often set against a divided claw located at the end of a short shaft made of wood, steel, or some composite material and which serves as a handle.” That’s what a hammer is. See the difference? But, because our brains are wired for purpose and meaning, we often define things according to their intended purpose.