October 11, 2015: Marriage Mathematics

Let us pray: Dear Savior, one of the greatest blessings You have given us in this life is: Christian marriage. How wonderful it is to have a companion for a lifetime with whom we can share everything and grow in ways that formerly seemed beyond reach. Today, teach us to value and uphold marriage and to never take it lightly. Amen


TEXT: Mark 10: 7-9: “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and two will become one flesh. So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”

Dearly Beloved By Christ:

My father was an only child. He had an older brother who was stillborn, but a couple of years later my father burst on the scene. Obviously this meant he was doted on a bit. His parents were protective of him. (Yes, helicopter parents existed even 90 years ago!) When my dad and mother were married, they went north, about 40 miles, to a lakeside town for their honeymoon. My mother used to recall, not so fondly, that the very next day dad’s parents showed up to visit them! She could still remember what she made for them to eat! Talk about bad timing, or what!? I use this as an illustration of what MARRIAGE MATHEMATICS isn’t! While our lesson clearly teaches us what Marriage Mathematics is all about.


God, not human beings, instituted marriage way back in the Garden of Eden. That’s when God made an appropriate counterpart for Adam, Eve, out of his own flesh. Note well that God didn’t make another man from Adam. He didn’t create a “buddy” for him. He created something new, unique, different, and yet one having the qualities that Adam lacked. Linked together in a lifelong union, these two, man and woman, would become a strong, organic bond of togetherness. One would be inseparable without the other. That’s what marriage was meant to be. And out of that union children could come and truly be a blessing for all. A same-sex buddy would not and could not fulfill this inner need for total oneness that both were made with.

In Ephesians and elsewhere in Scripture God describes marriage in amazing terms—in terms of Jesus Christ His Son. Christ’s relationship with us, His Church, His believers, is likened unto marriage. He is the Bridegroom and we are His Bride. And through faith those two literally become: “one flesh.”—The Church is the Body of Christ. There’s one example of marriage mathematics. Likewise, think of Jesus Himself. At Christmas we celebrate His incarnation, God taking on human flesh and becoming a man to save us. Two disparate things: Divinity and humanity are forever joined together. All this to save our souls. And although Pontius Pilate and others tried to separate this mystical union by killing Christ on a cross, God basically said: “No way!” and raised Him to life on Easter. Again, we could term this Marriage Mathematics—Divinity married humanity in Christ and that personal union lasts forever. With that in mind, those words of Jesus here: “Let no one separate” ring O so true.


Throughout the centuries people have always played around with God’s definition of marriage and tried to circumvent it in various ways. Part of marriage, a small but important part is: sex. The much greater part is: caring, sharing, togetherness held together by total trust. Since we’re sexual creatures, we want the sex part without the commitment part. I guess it’s all about “hedging your bets” as it were. So, many folks choose to live together as man and wife without being married. This upends marriage as God created it to be. It is a lack of total commitment to each other. Sex should be about such commitment, but without formal marriage it isn’t. Without formal marriage either party can walk away if something goes awry. It’s like eating frosting without taking the time together to carefully build the cake, bake it, and then contentedly savor each morsel. In a “live-in” arrangement, when things get tough, and they always do, the uncommitted walk. And in the process both parties miss out on the internal growth that always comes through working together to fix the problem. Basically, it’s psychological self-preservation—whereas in marriage preserving God’s perfect union becomes more important than mere self. In Christian marriage “Us” becomes more important than “Me.” And as a result both parties grow together in ways that the unmarried cannot even imagine.


Christ says in our lesson that “the two will become one flesh.” That’s especially poignant coming from our Lord and Savior. Just think: in Him the two—Divinity and humanity—became one flesh. And the result was our salvation. He wants to give us a small taste of this while still on earth—so He instituted marriage. Just as Jesus was enlarged as a person by pulling us into our faith union with Him and made blissfully happy by it all, so it can and will be for a man and a woman united under His blessing.

When I was a little boy I grew up with the King James translation of the Bible. I learned the passage: “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife” in these words: “A man will leave his father and mother and cleave unto his wife.” “Leave and cleave.” That’s the old adage for marriage. And it’s true. When two folks are married they leave behind their parents and cleave to each other instead. The old order has moved along and a new order now takes over. And no one and nothing should be allowed to come between the husband and wife. Not friends, neighbors, parents, siblings, or even children. Not money or possessions or job or home. Just as St. Paul says that nothing in all creation should separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord, so nothing in all creation should separate us from our spouse. That again is some applied Marriage Mathematics.

All of this begins with a formal marriage ceremony. That is, a formal commitment that is legal and binding done before witnesses. It doesn’t have to be done in a church, or even by clergy. But it does have to be done. And once it is, marriage is born. For the Christian, you, a double blessing is reaped by this. You not only possess the togetherness of being “one” but you also have Christ Himself as the new head of your household! And what better way is there to live than having God with you—guiding and protecting you—every moment of your lives together on this earth? Yes, Marriage Mathematics is nothing short of amazing! Amen