September 7, 2017

Outline for Christian Marriage

I enjoyed the privilege of officiating for the marriage of my daughter Julie-Anne and my new son-in-law Jon-Michael Miller. I also enjoyed the privileged of sharing premarital counsel with them, and Julie-Anne said that I could share this council on my blog.

I shared six poignant points with minimal elaboration that are designed for lifelong reflection. I started with the most important Christian principal and then five points on marriage.

1. Jesus taught that the greatest commandments are to love God and love our neighbors as ourselves.
Jesus replied: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'" (Matthew 22:37–40 NIV)
2. Jesus and the New Testament writers upended Ancient Middle East patriarchy.
a. A respectable man would never talk to an unknown woman. But Jesus started a conversation with the Samaritan Woman.
When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, "Will you give me a drink?" (John 4:7 NIV)
b. Paul taught that a husband and wife equally belong to each other.
The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife. (1 Corinthians 7:3–4 NIV)
c. Traditional churches mistakenly teach complementarianism that says husbands are the sole head of a family and females cannot be a senior pastor of a church. But that is based on misinterpretation of Scriptures written in the context of a male dominated patriarchal society; while the total sum of the New Testament upends male dominance.
3. The Song of Solomon is an Old Testament book about passion and romance between a husband and wife. Some of the language is odd by modern standards, e.g., comparing a wife to a fine female horse. But that was an accolade in ancient times. The main point is that the Bible promotes passion and romance in marriage.

4. Jesus taught in Matthew 19:4–9 that marriage is a serious commitment that forms a new family. For example, Jesus said that God forms the marriage. This means that marriage is a synergistic union between spouses and God. For instance, Jesus does not support casual marriage or casual divorce.

5. Marriage is a commitment of love and faithfulness between spouses, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness, and in health. Decisions about children, careers, finances, and property need to consider the good of the family.

6. Marriage involves mutual respect for individual boundaries and the formation of a partnership and family.

Copyright © 2017 James Edward Goetz