Pastor Andy Stanley once said, “You can’t un-one what God has made one.” This is such a powerful statement because it clearly expresses what so many people fail to believe. When God brings two people together and seals their union in a covenant, the expectation is that nothing would ever separate the two. However, it now seems that marriage is nothing more than a disposable commodity rather than a covenant relationship.
What’s the difference between those two things?
A disposable commodity is eventually used up, discarded, and often replaced. Examples of disposable commodities include plasticware, clothing, aluminum foil and tissue paper. Some disposables last longer than others, but eventually, they all expire, are worn out, or are simply replaced with newer versions. There is little to no allegiance given to disposable items because they are disposable.
A covenant relationship is a relationship of mutual commitment by individuals that is characterized by shared values, open-ended commitment, mutual trust, and concern for the welfare of the other party. For those of us who are in Christ, it must also be noted that a covenantal marriage (which is the only kind of marriage for Christians) is ordained, anointed, and sealed by God. It is intended and expected to be unbreakable, which means it doesn’t separate when things are difficult. It weathers even the fiercest of storms together.
The devil has certainly done a good job of convincing believers and unbelievers alike that marriage is disposable and that God understands why you are divorcing your spouse. However, the hard truth that we must all receive is that God has not changed his mind on this subject. What God has brought together, no man should separate.
Why is God so adamant about believers staying committed to their covenantal marriages? Because marriage is, as God designed it, supposed to be a picture of Christ’s love for the church. How did Christ love the church? Well, when the church (that’s all of us) has lied to him, stolen from him, cheated on him, walked away from him, and yes, even crucified him, what was his response?
“Father forgive them because they do not know what they are doing.”
— Luke 23:34
There is more riding on the health of your marriage than just blissful happiness. The marriage covenant is intended to help spur along the work of sanctification that was already started in you as a believer. It is intended to demonstrate to a lost world what it looks like to stay committed, even when it is hard. It is intended to show the lost world what forgiveness and reconciliation look like. The marriage covenant has more purpose than most any of us would ever imagine. So, stay the course. Trust the process. Seek the Lord. Be quick to forgive. Be slow to anger. Be ready to listen. Be hopeful in affliction. Be patient in trials. Be faithful to God.
Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.
— Colossians 3:12–15