Date: 
Sunday, April 22, 2012 - 10:45am
Service: 
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Bible Reference: 
Proverbs 30:18-19

MATCH ‘EM

Proverbs 30:18-19

 

Ok, so this is week two in our new sermon series on LIFE.  Last week we started with Hatch ‘Em, and we talked about the fact that Jesus loves children and expects His followers and His churches to love children.  He is looking for us to value them and sacrifice our time and energy to teach them the ways of God. 

Today I want to talk to you about marriage.

I read about 2 friends who marry on the same day. The 1st man tells his wife she's to cook & clean. Next day he sees his house is clean and his dinner's on the table. The 2nd man marries a southern girl & he orders her to do the same. The 1st day he doesn't see anything, the 2nd day he doesn't see anything either but by the 3rd day, some of the swelling has gone down and he can see just enough out of his left eye that he can fix himself a sandwich & load the dishwasher.

Proverbs 30: 18-19

There are three things that amaze me— no, four things that I don’t understand:  19 how an eagle glides through the sky, how a snake slithers on a rock, how a ship navigates the ocean, how a man loves a woman.

        Somebody sent me the answers to a marriage questionnaire filled out by children.  Let me share some of it with you.

        The children were asked, “What do most people do on a date? 

Martin (10) says, “On the first date, they mostly tell each other lies.  That way there is usually a second date.” 

        The children were asked, “Is it better to be single or married?” 

Anita (9) says, “It is better for girls to be single, but not for boys.  Boys need somebody to clean up after them.” 

Will (7) says, “It gives me a headache to think about this stuff!  I don’t need that kind of trouble.” 

 

        The children were asked, “How do you help a marriage last?” 

Aaron, (8) says, “Don’t forget your wife’s name.

David, (8) says, “Be a good kisser and always remember to take out the trash.”

 

        The children were asked, “What should you look for in a potential mate?”  Christine, (9) says, “Beauty is only skin deep.  But how rich you are can last a long time.”

 

        Well, children aren’t the only ones with goofy ideas about marriage.  This morning I want to talk to you about four cultural myths about marriage.  Now if you are already married, this might not speak to you directly, but hang in there with me.  You will want to share this with others.  But if you are single and looking forward to marriage someday, you need to pay really close attention. 

 

1.  MYTH #1 – BEING MARRIED IS NORMAL

        Ok, myth number 1 is this - being married is being normal.  In other words, if you are a grown adult and you are not married you are not normal.  Well you may be weird, but there is nothing wrong with being single. 

        Truth is, our modern culture subtly communicates to us that being married is the normal course of life.  It is not always obvious, but there is a stigma to being single.  People often ask, “When are you going to get married?”  What they are really asking is why you are not married already. 

        The church can be guilty of this.  The church can be prejudicial toward single people.  A few years ago I was serving a church that was getting ready to ordain a single man as a deacon.  I was asked if a single man could effectively serve as a deacon.  I pointed out to them that the Jesus we serve was single while on earth.  You could tell they had never thought about that.  The light went on. 

        And here is the issue, because of the stigmatism often associated with adult singleness, some people get married simply because of cultural expectations.  And then, they realize they have made a huge mistake.  They got married for the wrong reason and they will have to live with this decision the rest of their lives. 

Marriage is too important, too valuable, and too sacred to be entered in to simply because of cultural pressures and social norms.  When you get married it is because God has called you to invest your life in the well being of one certain person until death do you part.  Marriage is God’s idea.  It is His gift.  It needs to be treated with great respect and it needs to be entered into only at God’s direction. 

 

2.  MYTH #2 – MARRIAGE IS FOR MY FULFILLMENT

        The second myth I want to think about is the myth that marriage will fulfill me, that marriage will bring to my life all the things that are lacking right now.  In other words, marriage will make me happy.  Listen, your spouse can not fulfill you.  Only Jesus can fulfill you.  Your spouse can add to you, but they can’t fulfill you and if you expect them to, you will crush your marriage under the weight of your erroneous expectations.  If you expect your spouse to fulfill you, you are going to be so disappointed because they simply are not capable of doing what only God Himself can do. 

        Have you ever looked at the various marriages in the Bible?  Once Adam and Eve rebel and eat the fruit, marriage goes down hill.  Think about the saints in the Old Testament. 

        Abraham lied about Sarah twice and married the hired help.

        Isaac and Rebekah fought over their kids.

        Jacob loved Rachel, but also married Leah and fathered children with two maids.

        The last conversation recorded in scripture between Moses and his wife Zipporah is a knock down drag out over one of their sons.

        Don’t get me started on David or Solomon.

        And Mrs. Job loved her husband so much she counseled him to curse God and die.  When you think about Job, you have to realize the only thing satan didn’t take from Job was Mrs. Job and that may have been the cruelest thing he did.

        These are the people found in Hebrews 11, the Hall of Faith.  And they struggled at times.  What does that say about the rest of us?

        In fairy tales they marry and live happily ever after, but this is real life, not a fairy tale.  And I am glad the bible is remarkably transparent on this issue.  The bible esteems marriage very highly but it doesn’t portray the men and women of the bible in unrealistic ways.  We get to see their issues, even in their marriages. When we enter marriage with false ideas or erroneous expectations, we doom the marriage to a miserable failure.

        The bottom line is, if you enter marriage only for what you can get out of it, you are in real trouble.   

 

3.  MYTH #3 – FINDING THE RIGHT MATE IS MYSTICAL PROCESS

        The third myth I want to consider is the myth that picking the right mate is a mystical process.  Our culture often promotes the idea that picking a mate is all about chemistry and doesn’t require wisdom and sound judgment.  Now I am not trying to take the romance out of marriage, but after the honeymoon, there needs to be something more than chemistry.  The expression is, after the wedding, comes the marriage and boy does it ever. 

        When the kids are sick, and the washer has gone out, and your mother in law is coming over and work isn’t going well, you better have something more than chemistry holding your marriage together. 

        See, that little “Until death do us part” means just that.  You are together until one of you dies and that takes more than chemistry.  My favorite professor in Seminary, Dr. Jack MacGorman used to say that after 50 years of marriage, he and his wife had never talked about divorce.  Never even thought about divorce…Murder a couple of times, but never divorce. 

        But that little phrase, until death do you part means among the following:

It means watching the hairline recede and the waistline expand.

It means going from lingerie to denture cream. 

It means bunions, bursitis, hot flashes and menopause. 

It means navigating family issues, career struggles, mortgage payments, college tuition and long term illness.  

It means dirty dishes, bounced checks, financial crises, piled up laundry and communication glitches. 

        If someone comes to you seeking advice and asks you how they will know when they have met the person they are suppose to marry, don’t tell them “You will just know”. 

        Let me borrow from a marriage expert and give you a better answer:

You must learn to listen to yourself objectively and carefully.  You must become an expert in the world of being fully aware of your values, your thoughts, your desires, your emotions, your bias, your issues and your idiosyncrasy.  You must get a very clear picture of the kind of person you want to become because that will determine the kind of person you want to spend your life with.  Above all you must pray and ask God for His wisdom.  You must walk closely with God so your heart and your character and your judgment can be conformed to His.  Marriage is the second most important decision you make after your decision to follow Christ.  You must become a champion decision maker. 

 

4.  MYTH #4 – BEING MARRIED IS EASY

        Finally, let me address one last myth.  And the final myth is, “If it is love, marriage will be easy.”  Anybody here believe that one? 

        The bible says that a man will leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife and the two shall become one.  That becoming one is incredibly difficult.  Cleaving is not an easy process.  We are by nature selfish individuals and we don’t have a problem with our spouse conforming to us, but that is a two way street and we don’t like changing in order to conform to them.

        Down deep, we don’t like to share, give in or give up.  We don’t want to serve, we want to be served.  We don’t want to compromise, we want to win the argument.  You know that women always, always get the last word in an argument.  Anything the man says is the first word in the next argument. 

        Marriage is a wonderful gift from God, but it is not easy.  It involves two sinners navigating their way through a broken world.  It requires patience and perseverance, humility and hope, surrender and submission, goodness and grace.  Do you know where these qualities come from?  The transformational work of the Holy Spirit. 

        Whether you are already married, or looking to marry someday, the real key to a happy marriage is your relationship with Jesus.  Please know that the quality of your relationship with your spouse is predicated on the quality of your relationship with Jesus. 

        So let me ask you, how is your relationship with Jesus?  The Bible says to work out your salvation with fear and with trembling.  How is that going?