“Marriage is a most remarkable and courageous human act,” says Ernest Boyer in A Way in the World. “It’s the promise of two human beings to share life together on all levels, physical, economic, and spiritual. It’s a promise made despite the certainty of death, the certainty of change, and the uncertainty of everything else. There is nothing else we might choose to do that is quite like this act, nothing so foolish or so profound.”
Marriages often include struggles. Changes in career aspirations, guilty feelings over past mistakes, conflicts in other relationships—these and a myriad of other situations present many opportunities to be either the afflicted or the comforter within marriage. In these periods the one doing the supporting may begin to think, “I am not being helped by this person, only held back.” But because of that foolish, extraordinary vow of marriage, he or she keeps going.
Why do so many of us enter into this “foolish and profound” commitment when we realize that it is such a difficult thing to unify two separate individuals? Why do we assume we will have success when we know that others fail?
In the book of 1 Chronicles, David shared his vision for building a temple for the Lord with his son Solomon, to whom God had entrusted this sacred task.
“May the Lord give you discretion and understanding when he puts you in command over Israel, so that you may keep the law of the Lord your God. Then you will have success if you are careful to observe the decrees and laws that the Lord gave Moses for Israel. Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged.”
Then David ordered all the leaders of Israel to help his son Solomon. He said to them, “Is not the Lord your God with you? And has he not granted you rest on every side? For he has given the inhabitants of the land into my hands, and the land is subject to the Lord and to his people. Now devote your heart and soul to seeking the Lord your God. Begin to build the sanctuary of the Lord God, so that you may bring the ark of the covenant of the Lord and the sacred articles belonging to God into the temple that will be built for the Name of the Lord.”
Likewise we, too, need to take great care in preparing for the construction of a marriage. Marriage is like a temple—a magnificent living, breathing house for the Lord. When we stand at the altar exchanging wedding vows, we’re essentially agreeing to erect a temple in which to honor God. By following God’s plan for marriage—loving, honoring, and remaining faithful to each other—we will have success in honoring him. When we’re strong and courageous, we’ll be able to overcome obstacles and persevere, as husband and wife.