I’m about to get into some dangerous territory here. I’m aware of it, and I admit it in advance.
There’s this phrase that’s getting tossed around a lot these days. To the point that when I hear it, my chest tightens and my teeth clench and I have to remind myself to breathe.
Biblical model of marriage.
[Short disclaimer. This is not a post detailing my personal views regarding gay marriage. If you’d like to have that conversation with me, let me know. I don’t ever consciously choose to be controversial just for the sake of being controversial; this is definitely an issue that weighs on my heart, and one that bears the worth of more conversation than Facebook or the comment section of my blog can afford. However, I love coffee and challenging conversations, and will most willingly share both of those things with most anyone. Including you.]
Not a bad term in and of itself, right? But oh, it fires me up these days. Why, you ask? I’ll tell you.
I am no less than infuriated by the one-dimensional view of that phrase that’s being portrayed by a large chunk of Christian culture. Because lately, when people discuss the Biblical model of marriage, they mean one thing. One man, one woman.
Make no mistake, I absolutely believe that the God created marriage with a purpose; a whole lot of purposes, actually. And I will make no bones about the fact that I believe in the Biblical model of marriage; I believe that everything we need to know about why marriage exists and how to sustain it can be found in Scripture. Here’s my struggle: as a Christian culture, I feel as though we are conveniently leaving out every facet of the model except the “one man, one woman” piece. Every other piece of the model is culturally considered one that you can take or leave, and still consider it a legitimate marriage.
I am greatly disturbed and deeply saddened by this.
I am greatly disturbed by the fact that God told us a lot more about marriage than that it should take place between one man and one woman, but we’ve boiled it down to that. I am greatly disturbed by the fact that I am called, by that same biblical model of marriage, to submit to my husband; and yet, my right to marry him would never for one second have been threatened, had I chosen not to submit to him. I am greatly disturbed by the fact that my husband is called, by that same biblical model of marriage, to love me as Christ loved the church. The church that, by the way, has been a consistently unfaithful lover for the entirety of its history. And yet, Josh’s right to marry me would never for one second have been threatened, had he chosen not to show me selfless and unconditional love.
I am deeply saddened by how empty we’ve made marriage. I am deeply saddened by the fact that we fight every day over the right of homosexuals to marry…and yet, so many heterosexual marriages are not being fought for by the very people in them. And we sit aside as though it is okay, as long as it’s one man and one woman. I am deeply saddened by how the willingness to serve your spouse is looked at as a “honeymoon period,” and expected or even encouraged to go away by people who claim Christ. I am deeply saddened by our trite appeals to “love the sinner, hate the sin,” when we don’t even see the sin of apathy inside our own marriages. We act as though as long as our marriage is between one man and one woman, it must be in line with God’s model. We won’t stand up and fight for wives to be respectful to their husbands and for men to be the head of their homes, and we would never tell people they can’t get married because the woman is disrespectful and the man is selfish. But by all means…we must protect the model of marriage, and what God intended it to be, from those who have wounded it in ways that are different than the wounds we ourselves inflict on it.
There’s this thing about a speck and a plank. And I feel like it’s relevant.
If we took half of the energy we’ve put into fighting gay marriage and focused it into actually living out the biblical model of marriage with the person who sleeps next to us at night, I wonder that we might go a long way in preserving the concept of marriage as God intended it.