Put two people together for life with different histories, different weaknesses, different temperaments, different styles, and different ideas of just what constitutes too many pairs of shoes in the closet and, naturally, you have a recipe for friction.
Some sparks are to be encouraged and fanned into flames, of course (cue the pharmacy ad). But then there are the sort that don’t so much light someone’s fire as burn their house down.
Thankfully, God had the answer in mind from the start. When He brought man and woman together as a way of reflecting His image to the world, He also provided the oil to keep things moving smoothly—another part of Himself.
In Malachi 2, the prophet writes of God’s distress over the casual way His people have embraced divorce. He recalls how “the Lord was witness between you and the wife of your youth, to whom you have been faithless, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant” (verse 14).
And then, in the next verse, he goes on, “Did he not make them one, with a portion of the Spirit in their union?”
Wow. God pours a portion of Himself into our marriage. Not just each of us individually, though that is true, but also the third entity that is formed when a man and a woman become “one flesh.”
That should be a tremendous source of encouragement—and hope—for anyone who is married. As we seek to become more and more the one flesh God intended, we can weave ourselves more tightly together so that what God pours into us doesn’t leak out.
We hear a lot about the need for individual believers to be filled with the Holy Spirit, but not much about the same in marriage. But how might our marriages look if they, not just each of us on our own, exhibited more of the fruits of the Spirit? What would more of His love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control look like in our marriages?
I suspect they may more compellingly embody to a watching world some of the “great mystery” Paul says marriage is supposed to be, in how it points to Jesus’s love for His people. Forget trendy alternatives; this is the essential oil for a truly rich marriage.
Photo by fe2cruz on Foter.com CC/BY-NC-SA