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Welcome to March everyone!! Being the first Monday of the month, it can only mean one thing....Marriage Monday. Today Jennifer at A Pair of Bartletts is hosting us at her place around the topic of "The Glory of Christian Marriage."
The freedictionary.com defines glory this way:
glo·ry (glôr, glr)
n. pl. glo·ries
1. Great honor, praise, or distinction accorded by common consent; renown.
2. Something conferring honor or renown.
3. A highly praiseworthy asset: Your wit is your crowning glory.
4. Adoration, praise, and thanksgiving offered in worship.
5. Majestic beauty and splendor; resplendence: The sun set in a blaze of glory.
6. The splendor and bliss of heaven; perfect happiness.
7. A height of achievement, enjoyment, or prosperity: ancient Rome in its greatest glory.8. A halo, nimbus, or aureole. Also called gloriole.
Great definition, but what does it have to do with marriage? I would contend, that actually all of this has to do with marriage. Marriage is one of the places where God displays His majesty and purpose for human relationships. God established marriage way back in the garden and has used marriages since that time to populate the earth, bring each other comfort, demonstrate His forgiveness (see Hosea), and bring joy. If you ever doubt that romantic love is glorifying to God, then you just need to read the Song of Songs (or Song of Solomon depending on your tradition) to see a Biblical exposition on the glory of love.
But for my purposes, I'm going to focus on that third definition above, "a highly praiseworthy asset." We live in a culture that more and more is willing to throw away relationships. If it gets difficult, society tells us just get out. Marriage rates have dropped as people opt for "partnerships" that are easier to dissolve. In the past few months I've been shocked on a half dozen occassions as people who have been together forever have announced their engagement--I thought they were married, by a Christian friend who has announced her wedding--in 2010--but that they are going to live together until then, of friends who have separated after 12 years because they "now love someone else" (actually this has happened four times in five months, 12 years being the minimum years together). Marriage is fast becoming an endangered species. But the Bible contends, that it is a highly praised asset.
Although most of us participating in this meme by writing or coming to read the entries would agree that marriage is a highly praised asset, we often don't treat it as highly praised. We take the irritations of our marriages and make them the gossip fodder with our friends. We quietly bash how our husbands don't do enough around the house. We complain about the minutest of details. Is it any wonder that the world doesn't want to make such a commitment when all they hear is the negatives about that commitment? It only takes one person to turn that tide of negative talk. Over eighteen months ago my accountability and prayer partner and I agreed that we would not say critical things about our husbands in anyone's company. It began with us. We could ask for prayers of blessing and discernment but we could not ask anything in a "make him do what I want" way. We knew that there would be things that irritated us. Our catch-phrase text for prayers during that time was "pray for me to submit." We acknowledged that when little things were bothering us it was us that needed the prayer to change not our husbands. Instead we focused on praising how they provided for and loved their families. I can't speak totally for her, but I can say that focusing on the praiseworthy asset of marriage has improved my marriage greatly. It spilled over into other friends lives. In a setting if someone complained about their husband, my friend or I would say something positive about ours....and everyone followed suit. The negativity tide was turned. Marriage is a praiseworthy asset, so we should praise it!
This past week has been rocky in some relationships. The Accuser has attempted to have a field day destroying relationships and causing divisions. In the midst of it all I was feeling very much attacked. I texted German at work to let him know I needed to vent when he had a few minutes to listen to me. I knew that I just needed to let off steam in a safe, permitted manner. He rang me back within five minutes. He listened, he gave godly advice and I felt better. But he did more than that. He immediately closed things up at his office and came home in the middle of the day. He decided it was more important to be with me when I was upset than to sit at his desk. That act of support meant more to me than anything else he could have done. It was a clear example to me of the sacrificial love he has for me. On that day, God was glorified in our marriage in a very simple act. German still accomplished all of his work, but he did it from home where he knew he needed to be. I didn't even know I needed him at home until he walked through the door. That is why there is glory in marriage. It exemplifies the way God wants us to relate to one another. It is a cruciable of expressing sacrifical love and is a picture of what Christ is willing to do for us.
How is your marriage a praiseworthy asset? Have you told your spouse? Share with them your praise for being married to them. It will make their day....and it will make yours too. Praise is medicine for the soul!