A Commitment to the Core

This is the final post in a series based on Wayne Mack’s book Strengthening Your MarriageOur small group’s couples have been walking through this Bible study together covering these important subjects:

A Godly Marriage — Godly marriages reflect God’s design.
A Husband’s Love — To be the love she needs and God commands him to be.
Learning to Communicate — Twelve ways to maintain good marital communications.
Financially One — Five financial principles for the married couple.
A Real and Sustained Romance — Increasing intimacy between the husband and his wife.
Raising Children with Honor — Developing honor inside and outside the home.

In each lesson, one verse remains constant: “For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh” (Gen 2:24). It is this instruction that advises us in all areas of our marriage. Verbal, physical, emotional—and spiritual oneness.

Marriage, when practiced as God has defined and designed it, will result in an exclusive and uncommon oneness (“one flesh”). Dr. Mack emphasizes this consistently throughout his book:1

1147775Marriage is a unique human relationship. Good friend-to-friend relationships are beautiful and rewarding experiences. Good parent-child relationships are emphasized throughout Scripture by precept, illustration, and example. But, according to the Word of God, no other human relationship should receive the attention or provide the satisfaction that marriage does.

Marriage was ordained by God as a unique relationship for unique purposes to provide unique fulfillment in the context of a unique intimacy.

SERVING GOD TOGETHER

Our group’s discussion yesterday revolved around the value of the local body of Christ. Do we love the church as much Christ did? (He died for it.) Do we see it as the greatest place to be on a Sunday morning?

There are innumerable blessings for the two who sincerely love the church. That is, the husband and wife belonging to a local church body where they are known, loved, and serving.

Benefits will abound for the husband and wife who serve. Just ask a committed couple in the core of the church. Seriously! Pull them aside and ask how the church has strengthened their marriage over the years. You’ll likely hear that it has promoted oneness. Fostered new growth. Even protected them in their struggles.

It is no wonder that Paul ended his epistles with words like, “Greet Philologus, Julia, Nereus and his sister, and Olympas and all the Lord’s people who are with them” (Rom 16:15). He was grateful for those who had committed to live inside the core, not the fringe, of the local church.

Why? Because that is where lasting friendships occur. Where transparency and a shared life exist. Where men and women of God can grow in godliness under and alongside others.

Anecdotally,  I wish I could share in here the number of married couples who have sought this godly counsel, but never bought it. They would nod in agreement when we would explore passages on the accountability, edification, fellowship, instruction, and joy that is to be found in such a commitment—but their practice was casual at best. Even worse, many of these couples are no longer together.

“For better or worse… in plenty and in want… in joy and in sorrow… in sickness and in health… as long as you both shall live….” there is true hope for the husband and wife who yield in submission to God’s biblical principles. Evaluate with your spouse whether you are truly a part of the church’s core or simply standing in the fringe. There is no better time to do so.

Mack’s book wisely closes with these words:

God’s stated purpose for marriage is deep, total unity, and it can become a glorious reality in the here and now.


SOURCE:
1 Mack, Wayne A. Strengthening Your Marriage, second edition 1999 (Phillipsburg: P&R Publishing, 1977). 185.