This is the second of a few little notes I am writing to Audrey as her wedding day approaches, see previous here.
I was reading in Malachi from The Message a few weeks ago and became intrigued by the emotion of the language on the topic of marriage. It is bold, somewhat startling. and certainly flies in the face of our culture and the demise of the honoring of a God-ordained and blessed marriage.
His Spirit inhabits even the smallest details of marriage. And what does He want from marriage? Children of God, that's what. So guard the spirit of marriage within you. Don't cheat on your spouse.
"I hate divorce," says the God of Israel. God-of-the-Angel-Armies says, "I hate the violent dismembering of the 'one-flesh' of marriage." So watch yourselves. Don't let your guard down. Don't cheat. Malachi 2. 14-16 The Message
It's a downer, isn't it, when long-time marrieds tell you how hard marriage can be? Right now, as you are embarking on the path of a life-long love with Ben, you're probably like I was as a young bride. wondering how people could be so lackluster in their marriages and why they don't talk anymore and why they didn't seem to be as in love as I was. Many "Christian" marriages are the saddest things I have ever seen. And I wonder: did they guard the spirit of marriage with every ounce of energy and commitment to their vow as they could?
To guard something like your heart or your marriage is an interesting thing. To guard is to protect something from harm or danger or an attack by watching over it and employing vigilant, defensive measures, if need be. A guard is a protector, keeping watch and acting as a sentinel – carefully choosing what will be allowed in or allowed out. A guard has the duty to defend and provide cover, is alert, prepared and cautious.
Anything that needs guarded is something precious, something to be held in esteem.
The opposite of "guarding the spirit of marriage" would be to disregard it, forget it in every day life, ignore the vows and neglect the tending of love. "Don't let down your guard."
The verses preceeding the ones above remind us that God is there as we speak our vows. He is at the wedding and is a witness and He hates seeing them ripped to shreds. He hates it when we break the faith bond with our vowed companion. He hates the "violent dismembering of the 'one-flesh' of marriage.'"
"Don't cheat on your spouse." There are many ways to cheat on your spouse besides the obvious adultry issue. And God hates all of them, anything that breaks our vow.
So, Ben and Audrey – decide now that you won't be a statistic, that you won't be cheaters, that you refuse to dis-member the whole of you, that you'll guard your marriage with everything you have inside. If you'll do this, not only speak it, but live it, then according to the Word, you'll have the marriage you are starting out with 20, 30, 40+ years down the road.
His perfect love will keep you together!…Jeanie
PICTURED: This painted ceramic and wire wall-hanging Audrey did in high school, a close view and a closer view; Ben & Audrey.