Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Marriage: what is the point?

The question was put to me, "What would be your goals in marriage?"

This is but another way to phrase, "Why get married at all?"

The answer to this is, ironically, the same answer to the call to singleness. Any example we are given in scripture of a man devoted to celibacy is of a man who is not actually devoted to celibacy. His devotion is elsewhere. Perhaps oversimplified, but adequate, we will say it is in the ministry. A single man is called to lay down his life for the church.

The point is a man cannot be called to live and die for himself. Always he is to lose himself. A man is never actually called to "singleness," because a single man does not a Church make: Adam is not enough; he must have Eve. A man's calling is to be laid down for another, and this is not always in marriage.

I must lose my life. I cannot keep it. It's not allowed. If I try to keep it, I will definitely lose it in the most colossal way. Either I break myself on the Rock, or the Rock crushes me to powder.

The goal of marriage is to lose my life, and let live another.

This is an ancient jab at the monk-ery and hermit-ery that has been romanticized in the Christian faith. Yet any time man is called away from man, as Jesus was for thirty years, it is only temporary, and only to prepare for an ultimate sacrifice, as Jesus also did. To make matrimony with solitude til death do you part is nothing short of an act of rebellion toward the Great Commission.
"Marriage License," by Norman Rockwell
This is also an ancient jab at the modern reluctance to produce offspring. For clearly, the cause is unwillingness to lay down one's life for another. And another. And another. Most think they are happy where they are in a marriage; or they are so miserable they don't think they could handle another blessing. They like change at their own pace. They think they know their limits (an adorably faithless sentiment), and could not stand to love a bit more.

And this makes perfect sense. If we are called to broaden our romance into another life - that is, if we are called to die (and therefore live) a little more - we are immediately afraid (makes sense: faith thrives amidst things wildly out of our control) and uncomfortable (also makes sense: dying is uncomfortable). All this is a sad misunderstanding of love and underestimation of the human spirit and calling.

Unloving people are frequently reasonable for what they do. They make such sense it's boring.

Don't be ordinary: get married - not to find yourself (Hooray! Another ancient jab at homosexuality!) - but to lose yourself. -->

1 comment:

  1. And in losing yourself, you'll find yourself. If a woman knows a man will sacrifice himself for her, she'll give him anything...treat her right and she will always take care of you. Marriage isn't about just "work"...or if you call that work, it can be the most lovely type of work. In fact! I think I'd work full time for the rest of my life.