Mark 10:7-9- ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’; so then they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.” NKJV
When I was newly married, I had a conversation with my mother-in-law. It wasn’t an adversarial conversation, but looking back, I know it was a necessary conversation. When my husband and I first met, he spoke often and highly of his mother. He talked of her love for the Lord, her quickness to pray, and her willingness to tell them the truth of God’s word, even if it angered them. She was known by many as a prayer warrior and a child evangelist.
One day she called the house looking for my husband, her youngest son. He wasn’t at home. Then she made a comment that I was keeping her son away from her. My husband is his own man, quite capable and willing to do what he believes needs to be done. I would have never tried to interfere with his relationship with his parents, and he wouldn’t have allowed it. It just wasn’t true!
Marriage is God’s idea. He established it in Genesis. The Pharisees knew this. Yet, they came to Jesus to test Him by asking Him about the legality of divorce. This is how the conversation went:
Pharisees: Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?
Jesus: What did Moses command you?
Pharisees: Moses permitted a man to write a certificate of divorce, and to dismiss her.
With this ring, I thee wed! That is the promise couples make worldwide, and it has been happening for millennials. We pledge to love, honor, and be together until death departs us. Not through us murdering one another but understanding that nothing but death can separate us.
However, we know people who have not made the lasting journey. For a variety of reasons, they ended up in divorce. Can I be honest and say that “but for grace,” none of us could be successful at anything, including marriage? And had I experienced some of the situations I have heard through the years, my story might be different! So I’m not being judgmental; I am making a point. The Pharisees were not really interested in what Jesus thought about divorce; they just felt they had found a way to trip Him up!
And Jesus answered and said to them, “Because of the hardness of your heart he wrote you this precept. But from the beginning of the creation, God ‘made them male and female.’ ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’; so then they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.”Mark 10:5-9 NKJV
With His reply to the Pharisees, Jesus tells us what we need to know about marriage and divorce from God’s perspective.
First, Jesus agrees that a divorce was made possible with a law from Moses. Moses, however, didn’t give a divorce decree because he thought it was a great idea but because he understood the hardness of the heart of man. Some people are just determined to make others miserable. Some people are just plain mean and selfish. Some people should never get married. They have hard heart issues.
Jesus shares that when God instituted marriage in Genesis, it was not with divorce in mind. God, from the beginning, created them male and female. It matters not that we are in a time when marriage is being redefined; before God, in the beginning, it was for males and females. This was the first thing about marriage that Jesus shared!
He tells us that a man leaves his father and mother and clings to his wife. In biblical days, the family stayed together, frequently living in the same house, under the same roof. Even if that is the arrangement, the man is to cling to his wife. Some men believe their moms are more important than their wives. If that is true to them, it isn’t biblical. A man shouldn’t have to choose between the two special women in his life, and they should not ask him to. But if there is to be some choosing, his biblical responsibility is with his wife!
This leads me back to my conversation with my mother-in-law. The Holy Spirit spoke to my spirit before I replied to her and told me to ask her if she believed the Bible? She said that, of course, she did. I then asked her if she believed what God said about a man leaving his father and his mother to be joined with his wife? She said that she did. And that was the end of that conversation. I never felt like I had disrespected her or slighted her in any manner. As believers, we had chosen to honor His word and His perspective on the situation, and it was settled. I shared what happened with my husband, and being the wise man he is, he began to visit her more.
Then Jesus explains what is supposed to happen in marriage. The two become one flesh. How? Through sexual intimacy. Paul gives us a little more insight into what this looks like.
Let the husband render to his wife the affection due her, and likewise also the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. And likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. Do not deprive one another except with consent for a time, that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again so that Satan does not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.1 Corinthians 7: 3-5 NKJV
Sexual purity within a marriage is a blog unto itself. But suffice it to say, sex is not a tool we use to manipulate one another; it is bonding material. It makes us one! This is why fornication and adultery are not suitable for us. We can’t keep binding ourselves to all of these people and then taking them into our marriage bed!
The only point I am going to make is the one about withholding sex. We don’t withhold sex because we are mad or trying to punish one another. That’s a dangerous game to play, and it opens the door to the enemy. Keep that door closed!
What God has joined together, let no man put asunder! That includes you. Don’t be the reason that your marriage fails. Don’t invite the devil into your bedroom or into your home. Fussing and fighting, name-calling, anger, bitterness, insensitivity, disrespect, and selfishness are marriage killers. Making your spouse the butt of your jokes is childish. Comparing your spouse to an ex, a parent, a pastor, a friend, a sibling is not cool. These things, over time, will lead to a hard heart which will lead to divorce. Don’t let it happen!
Everyone needs someone to confide in, but be really careful about the influence you allow people to have in your life and marriage. Your friend who is trying to convince you to leave your spouse may have ulterior motives. They may want you or your spouse. Be careful! Ok! My passion is showing, and I need to stop!
With this ring, I thee wed! God intended for it to be a lifelong journey of love, respect, and intimacy. Not a revolving door. The original plan for marriage is still the best plan! Wonderful Jesus!