Mere Christianity | Part 6 | How to Make Marriage Work

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Highlights: How to Make Marriage Work: Two important keys to making marriage work.
First - The determination that marriage is for life. Christianity teaches that marriage is for life…a man and wife are to be regarded as a single organism…”one flesh.” They (various churches) all regard divorce as something like cutting up a living body…some think the operation so violent that it cannot be done at all; others admit it as a desperate remedy in extreme cases. They are all agreed!…What all disagree with is the modern view that it is a simple readjustment of partners, to be made whenever people feel they are no longer in love with one another.” “Whatever people say, the state called “being in love” usually does not last. If the old fairy-tale ending “They lived happily ever after is taken to mean “They felt for the next fifty years exactly as they felt the day before they were married,” then it says what probably never was nor ever could be true…but, of course, ceasing to be “in love” need not mean ceasing to love. Love in this second sense…is not merely a feeling. It’s a deep unity maintained by the will…couples can have this love for each other even at those moments when they don’t like each other. " We marry the person with whom we have fallen in love; they learn to fall in love with the person they marry. (Paul Tournier) “We never know whom we marry; we just think we do. Or even if we first marry the right person, just give it a while and he or she will change…The primary problem is…learning how to love and care for the stranger to whom you find yourself married…Marriage changes us. Having children changes us. A career switch changes us. Age changes us.” (Tim Keller) “A great many people seem to think that if you are a Christian yourself you should try to make divorce difficult for every one. I do not think that…My own view is that the Churches should frankly recognize that the majority of the British people are not Christians and, therefore, cannot be expected to live Christian lives.”
Second - The determination that marriage is for service.
In Ephesians 5 the wife and the husband are told to do the same thing! Surrender your pride, deny yourselves and serve the needs of your spouse before your own.
Paul uses the language of patriarchy, but he fills the vocabulary with new meaning. He makes a concession to the semantics of his patriarchal culture, but he turns the words inside out. He defines “headship” as servanthood! The patriarchal model is left standing on its head. There are no more bosses…only servants. “He who would be great among you must become the servant of all.” (Jesus) So, “Who’s the boss?” “Who’s in charge?” These are the wrong questions. Husbands and wives, your home is not your castle it’s your Mt. Calvary. It’s the place we are called to lay down our lives.
Matrimony, like other holy orders, was never intended as a comfort station for lazy people. On the contrary, it is a systematic program of deliberate and thoroughgoing self-sacrifice. A man’s Page of 2 2 home is not his castle so much as his monastery…It is a radical step and is not intended for anyone who is not prepared to surrender his own will and to be wholeheartedly submissive to the will of another.” (Mike Mason, The Mystery of Marriage)
“Whether we are husband or wife, we are not to live for ourselves but for the other. And that is the hardest yet single most important function of being a husband or a wife in marriageIf two spouses each say, “I’m going to treat my self-centeredness as the main problem in the marriage,” you have the prospect of a truly great marriage.” (Tim Keller, The Meaning of Marriage)

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