I’ve done a lot of pre-marriage counselling over the years… Also done a lot of counselling with couples desiring to enrich and improve their marriage. And I’ve had to counsel a lot of couples after a failure, helping them to reconcile and try again, or simply “pick up the pieces” or “bandage the wounds and heal” after a divorce. I’ve seen some successes and observed some disappointing failures. In most cases I wished I’d had an opportunity to help them make good decisions, with eyes open and honest hearts, on the front end of their decision to marry.
This morning during “coffee with the Lord” I read a passage that affirmed one of my core values and communicated a word of warning to us all regarding the issue of faithfulness in marriage. In fact, I jotted a comment in the margin of my Bible as a result of reading the passage.
First, my personal, non-negotiable core value (and it is the first of seven I’ve articulated for myself):
1. I value my marriage and family
Faithfulness and fidelity in marriage and family life are infinitely more important to me than any competing human loyalty.
Second, the passage: Malachi 2:14-16 ESV
“The Lord was witness between you and the wife [or husband] of your youth, to whom you have been faithless, though she/he is your companion and your wife [spouse] by covenant. Did He not make you one, with a portion of the Spirit in your union? And what was the one God seeking? Godly offspring. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and let none of you be faithless to the wife [or husband] of your youth. For the man/woman who does not love his wife/husband but divorces her/him, says the Lord, the God of Israel [His covenant people], covers his garment with violence, says the Lord of hosts. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and do not be faithless!” [includes some editorial broadening I’ve added to include both spouses]
Finally, the comment I jotted in the margin of my Bible…
Faithfulness in marriage is a Spiritual matter! It is a covenant issue!
Violating our marriage vows – being unfaithful to our spouse has Spiritual consequences (as well as personal, relational, emotional, financial, familial consequences [i.e. its impact on children] as well as other collateral consequences).
Final comment? With God’s help I am determined to live by my first personal core value! The broader culture may not, but I will! (NOTE: I just reaffirmed that with Sharon, my lovely wife!)