northwoodsbear's blog

What is your relationship founded on? Will it last?


Most people approach marriage and relationships looking for love. You wouldn't marry someone you didn't love. Romance and love are at the heart of our conception of marriage. We dream about finding love. We tell stories about it. Entire industries are devoted to producing movies or books about love.


And you know what? It doesn't work.


Around 44% of all marriages will fail. And if you add a second wife the likelihood one or both leaves skyrockets to 68% (average) and even as high as 90% (typical).


That is failure. Big time. It is no coincidence that we have the 7 year itch. Romance (or erotic love) is transient. It naturally fades with time. This makes it a shaky foundation that makes marriage unstable.


Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying you can't or shouldn't find someone you love to marry. Do that. And also put effort into cultivating and maintaining erotic love within you relationship. But it is not a good foundation, all the more so in polygamy where there is so much more potential for drama, hurt, and loss.


So what is a good foundation?


Many Christians counter this situation saying we need to marry a Christian or have Christ centered marriages. But is that really working either? The divorce rate among Christian's is not much different. In practice this concept often results in people using Christ or religion as an excuse for rebellion, abandonment, or upsetting the Godly order in marriage.


But there is a solution and a better foundation for marriage: Christ-like love.


The Christian New Testament talks a lot about love and even commands men and women to love their spouses. But it doesn't mean love like we mean love. The New Testament scriptures were originally written in Ancient Greek, which has several different words for love. When we think love in relationship we think romantic love. But the word for that in Greek, eros, is not found even once in the New Testament. But what it does talk a lot about is agape love. 


Agape love is the love Christ modeled for us. This is other centered, self-sacrificial, benevolent, forgiving, unconditional love. This love is an action, not a feeling. It is the opposite of selfishness and jealousy. This is the love that can bind us all together stronger than strong. When wives love this love for each other it subsumes and overcomes the conflicts. When husbands love this for their wives it overcomes the hurts, convicts and leads by its example.


"This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. You are My friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you. You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you. This I command you, that you love one another." - John 15:12-17


But how do we achieve this love?


Love is the prime command in Christianity. It is the core principle and thing which must characterize our Christian walk. But to get there, we first must be rightly ordered with God.


"Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it." - Matthew 16:24-25


Being a Christian isn't about what God can do for us or about how it will make our life better, it is about completely submitting ourselves to Christ; for Him to use us as we walk in His commandments. To do that we must surrender our will our selfishness our desire to control our own destiny.


When men and women in marriage have died to self in that way and given up their will to Christ, their life will become characterized by selflessness. When they love Christ they will sacrificially love each other; and love covers a multitude of sins. 


The Fruit


When a man has died to self, he lives a godly example for his wives to follow as he follows Christ.


When a wife has died to herself, she no longer lives selfishly but channels her submission to Christ through her husband as she follows him in his journey for Christ.


When men and women in marriage do this they will come to live their lives according to Godly order. God has established a hierarchy of authority in creation: God -> Christ -> man -> woman -> children (1 Cor 11, Eph 5&6). In scripture, when a woman leaves her family and marries her man she passes from under her fathers authority to her husbands. When she lives under the authority and direction of her husband, she is living in sync with the created order. 


This makes everything easier. No longer is she there just because she wants to be, or because she's feeling feelings of love. She is there because it is her right place in the world as she follows her leader. When divorce is no longer an option, everyone has the incentive to make it work and to stick it out when times get tough. Divorce is the easy out. Couples who stick together through tough times build stronger, happier marriages.


Contrast this with the normal way of marriage: the equal partnership. Equality is an impossibility because when two disagree one must prevail. And that means the marriage set up for a constant struggle for supremacy. And when you throw multiple wives into the mix this situation goes from contentious to impossible.


But when wives follow their husband in love as he follows Christ you get a beautiful oneness that shines forth in their lives with a joy beyond measure. And this oneness of heart, mind, and purpose is how you get lifelong marriage. 


"And if one can overpower him who is alone, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart." - Ecclesiastes 4:12

God Bless,


NorthWoodsBear



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