Matrimony is part of God’s order of creation. God created man and woman into a reciprocal, equal, and life-sustaining relationship. Matrimony is not only part of the order of things decreed by God, but He has also promised to bless marriage. Under this blessing each marriage aims to accomplish the task of fostering mutual attachment. Marriage makes it possible to experience the abundant gifts of life, the joy brought by children, and the miracle of growth.
As believing spouses we experience spiritual fellowship and wish to travel in accordance with our calling. We believe that God’s love effects in us a spiritual desire to cherish things that are good, but being human, we still feel incapable and powerless at various stages of our life.
Next to your heart
Each human being, while a tiny embryo already known by God, rests against its mother’s heart for some time. After birth, the miracle of creation, the baby is protected by its mother’s arms in its early infancy. We were all born into a reciprocal relationship where our mother responded to our needs when we were hungry, cold, tired, or in pain.
We all feel the need for close human relationships in the same way we did as a small child who wanted to be picked up by its mother. This is an innate need in human beings. We need someone to share our life experiences. In a good marital relationship the spouse can give us a feeling of intimacy and companionship. There is a bond that carries us in life and makes us feel valuable, important, and loved.
The great mystery
The connection between Christ and His congregation is compared to the marital relationship between man and woman: ”Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.” (Eph. 5:31–32) Marriage gives us a possibility to learn about the ultimate will of God: ”You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” (Luke 10:27)
When we marry, we form an alliance with another person. We make a big commitment and a big promise. Based on the way they were created, human beings have an inherent need for that. The promise to enter this alliance and the desire to become one flesh is publicly confirmed and blessed in the marriage ceremony. We promise to love each other until death parts us. While living our life with our spouse, obliging and obedient to him or her, we can reflect the image of God and be a tool of love. Yet marriage is not based on a loving feeling alone. It is a promise based on conscious volition.
Paul taught like this: ” In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church. – – Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” (Eph. 5:28–29, 31.)
We believe that the marital relationship between man and woman is based on equality. Christ is the head of both husband and wife. We should aspire toward spiritual, intellectual, and physical unity. This requires us to be obedient to God’s word and also to be willingly obedient to our spouse. The goal of becoming one flesh requires interaction at different levels. It requires words, language, ears, senses, desire to listen and to hear, willingness to verbalize ourselves. It is a highly complex matter.
Peter instructed spouses like this:” Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are her children, if you do good -- Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life.” (1 Pet. 3:6–7.)
For the spouses to be able to live as one flesh, they need to love each other like they love themselves. They also need respect, obedience, trust, and openness. It is important that both can freely express their opinions, needs, and feelings. Life with our spouse should be so secure that we can express even the emotions that we find difficult, such as sorrow, fear, and anger. To solve conflicts, we need to apologize and to forgive. When we believe the gospel, we experience the grace of a fresh start, which empowers us to discuss and weigh up the problem until both spouses feel themselves free in the truth.
Disagreements between spouses may sometimes result in imminent or actual psychological or physical violence. Jealousy, anxiety, feelings of loneliness, and depression may indicate that the spouses have not had enough opportunities to discuss and explore things together. A decision to seek help from other believers or professionals shows that the person is obedient to God’s word and committed to caring for themselves and their spouse.
When both spouses are willing to work for a better marital relationship, things may improve even in seemingly complicated situations. The natural life course of a marital relationship consists of different stages. To reach true marital companionship, the spouses may need to travel a rocky path. Such companionship consists of true and appreciative fellowship, obedience, trust, and openness.
Beautiful words are like lovely flowers on a field. Positive interaction today makes for a better tomorrow. This is also reflected in the biblical instruction of the fruits of the Spirit: ”But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” (Gal. 5:22–23).
Text: Ritva Vatjus
Source: Ajankohtaista 2012, Jumalan valtakunta muuttuvassa ajassa (Timely topics 2012, Kingdom of God in the changing time)
Translation: S.-L. L.
Julkaistu englanninkielisessä numerossa 16.11.2016
Poikkeusolojen vuoksi radion ja netin välityksellä lähetetyt Suviseurat saivat kuulijoiden palautteen perusteella positiivisen vastaanoton. Historiallisten Suviseurojen järjestelyt sujuivat suunnitelmien mukaisesti, eikä suurempia häiriöitä ilmennyt. Seurojen keskeinen sanoma välittyi kaikkialle maailmaan ja seurapuheet käännettiin yhdeksälle kielelle.