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Sunday, 14 February 2010

Love, and marriage.

"Love and marriage;
Love and marriage
Go together like a horse and carriage.
This I tell you, brother - You can't have one without the other!"

So, if my memory serves me well, sang Alma Cogan - but if I am wrong, then some old codger will undoubtedly correct me!!

I thought of the song when, a few days ago, I read that the trend for couples to commit themselves to a formal marriage is, again, taking a downward path. Now, at the risk of having some of my regular readers label me as a liberal-minded heretic, let me say that I actually have more time for the co-habiting couple who are faithful to one another, than the couple who have gone through a marriage ceremony of whatever sort but who, either/both, then 'play the field' with a string of extra-marital affairs!

However, as those who do know me are aware, I am a passionate defender of the institution of marriage - especially for those who claim to be members of the Body of Christ. Co-habitation is one thing; a Christian marriage is another altogether. On this Valentine's day, we tend to think only of the 'romantic' aspect of love. For many, cards, and flowers, and chocolates, and special treats are the order of the day. And I would be the last to condemn any of that! But ... ... ..."!

So why is marriage so important? I would suggest that it is is for the very simple reason that every day is not Valentine's Day; that young couples grow old; that not all the 'miracle' creams and lotions (however much "You're worth it"!) in the world can keep the lines and wrinkles away for ever; that the vigour and vitality of youth become, all too quickly, the wheezing and the weakness of old age.

On Songs of Praise, this evening, I listened to the actress who plays the character Peggy in the radio serial The Archers. She had to play the part of a wife whose husband suffered from Altzheimer's - and that radio part mirrored her experience in her real life and marriage. However, she reminded us that the vows in the Christian marriage service speak of sickness, as well as health; of poorer, as well as richer; of worse, as well as better. Listening to her testify to the love that she continued to have for the husband who, in many ways, was nothing like the man she had married all those decades earlier; and to the strength that she received from God when the situation was tough; I knew that I was listening to one who had understood her marriage vows, and who had kept them well.

The Christian marriage service is also a Covenant relationship. It is not even just a civil contract. It is an eternal threesome of husband, wife, and Father God. It is "until God shall separate us by death"! All of this involves commitment on the part of both the husband and the wife. If I am merely 'living with' a woman (what a previous generation referred to as "living in sin"!), then all may be well while we are in our twenties, or thirties, or forties. But what happens when I start to lose my boyish charm; when my 'partner' starts to lose her sexy figure? What happens when I am required to clean up after her when she has been violently sick in bed; or when she has to clean up after me when I am suffering from the dreaded Montezuma's Revenge (diarrhoea, to the uninitiated!)? And if such situations happen while I am still a viable proposition to another woman (or my 'partner' to another man), how much easier it must be to walk away. No ties; no commitment; no worries!!!

"Love", said another song-writer, "is a many-splendoured thing." I suspect that the reference there was simply to moonlight and roses; to balmy days on palm-bordered beaches; to beautiful sunsets over peacefiul lagoons. But real love - the love that translates the Greek word 'agape', is a giving love; a selfless love; an unconditional love. It is the love that Almighty God, in His grace and mercy, shows to sinful mankind. How sad that so many reject it, out of hand.

So, back to the Alma Cogan song. If you truly love each other, take that step of commitment and enter into a marriage relationship. Don't settle for second-best. If there is no-one even 'on the horizon', then rejoice that you may still be a partaker of the love of Almighty God. And, married or single, build every relationship on a saving relationship with Him - made possible through the greatest act of selfless love in the history of mankind: the passion and death of the Lord Jesus. As the old sticker used to proclaim: "God is love; Calvary proves it"!

1 comment:

CannuckCol said...

Don't know about Alma, but when I googled "Love and marriage Lyrics" the main name that appeared was Old blue eyes himself Frank Sinatra. However, that's not to say that on YOUR side of the ocean Alma didn't sing it.
Re Peggy "She had to play the part of a wife whose husband suffered from Altzheimer's - and that radio part mirrored her experience in her real life and marriage. However, she reminded us that the vows in the Christian marriage service speak of sickness, as well as health; of poorer, as well as richer; of worse, as well as better." Speaks volumes to those who chose to keep their loved ones at home and care for them as opposed to having the 'freedom' by institutionalizing them.