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Love and Marriage

May 4, 2015

It’s May, one of my favorite months of the year. May is the month when we officially say good-bye to snow (I have endured many super wet snowstorms in April, but cannot for the life of me ever remember one in May). May is when lawns come to life and flowers begin to bloom. May is also Mother’s Day. And May is the month of many wedding anniversaries, including our own.

This May at Desert Stream, Shari will be sharing her faith journey at a Ladies Breakfast on the 2nd of May. On Mother’s Day, the Staff moms will share their answers to your questions about: Marriage, Parenting and Family Life in the 21st Century. And on Saturday the 9th of May, we will be taking engaged couples and newlyweds through our Marriage Course.

All in all, May is going to be a great month of celebrating marriage, motherhood and family.

On Sunday night, I sat down and finished the last 150 plus pages of Eric Metaxas’ excellent biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer entitled Bonhoeffer, Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy. The book is a very thorough and engaging look into one of Germany’s great men of conscience, struggling under Hitler’s Third Reich.

Although Dietrich was engaged to be married, his imprisonment, and his eventual execution, insured that he never enjoyed the blessing of being married. However, Dietrich did hold a very high regard for the institution of marriage. From prison, he wrote a sermon to be shared at the wedding of his niece, Renate to his good friend, Eberhard Bethge.

Dietrich saw the freedom to choose a mate as a gift from God. He also contended that our “desire for earthly bliss” was not something we steal from behind God’s back, but rather as something that He desired that we should desire. Our human experience was something God created, and by participating in it through the incarnation, that He redeemed.

When two people make a covenant of marriage before God, Dietrich saw something profound taking place. Listen to his counsel to his niece and his good friend:

“As God today adds his “Yes” to your “Yes”, as he confirms your will with his will, and as he allows you, and approves of, your triumph and rejoicing and pride, he makes you at the same time instruments of his will and purpose, both for yourselves and for others. In this unfathomable condescension God does add his “Yes” to yours, but by doing so, he creates out of your love something quite new – the holy estate of matrimony. Marriage is more than your love for each other; it has a higher dignity and power, for it is God’s holy ordinance, through which he wills to perpetuate the human race till the end of time.

He concluded his words with this remarkable truth, “It is not your love that sustains the marriage, but from now on, the marriage that sustains your love.”[1]

That is the truth of covenant marriage. It is not our love for each other that sustains our marriage, but it is our covenant marriage that sustains our love. Thirty-one years ago, we made a covenant, and that covenant sustains our love; because of covenant, Shari and I choose love, everyday.

[1] Bonhoeffer, Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy. Eric Metaxas pg. 458