Monday, November 29, 2010

Married for God - Chapter 6

This series was originally posted on In Tandem, a blog for ministry wives

Chapter 6: What’s the point of the marriage institution?

In this chapter Ash explains his third point (listed on page 30) – Marriage as a safeguard against public chaos.

When I first read this point at the beginning of the book, I had no idea what he was getting at. Now I understand, and I really appreciated the chapter. It clarified thinking on marriage I knew I believed, but had never managed to put into words myself.

Firstly, he addresses sex, and the fact that sex is to be surrounded by the marriage boundary. This means that sex is for within marriage, and only within marriage.
to love another person enough for sex means to love them enough to have publicly committed yourself to them for life in marriage. Short of that commitment, however passionately you may say you love them, actually you don’t love them enough for sex. (p101)
What a great statement! One we should be sharing with dating couples, and those who are sorely tempted together before they are committed in marriage. He goes on to discuss the dangers of sex outside marriage.

Ash defines marriage as: The voluntary public union of one man and one woman from different families.

In explaining this, he made some helpful points:
  • marriage is a voluntary union – it must be consensual, which includes consenting to what is part of a marriage – sexual union, the potential blessing of children, and a commitment to the marriage until one partner dies.
  • marriage is a public union – a public declaration of commitment and intent
  • marriage begins with public consent not consummation
  • marriage is defined by public consent not private emotion

He then talks about why marriage is better than cohabitation:
  • marriage is unambiguous
  • marriage is a union of families; cohabitation is free-floating
  • marriage provides protection for the vulnerable at the start
  • marriage offers some home of justice to those wronged when it ends
  • marriage strengthen private intentions with public promises
Obviously, I come from a viewpoint that marriage is better by far, but this actually gave me logical and clear reasons for my opinion – I finished the chapter thinking “why would anyone want to cohabit, rather than marry?”

Have you ever thought of the benefits outlined here of marriage, both to the marriage partners and to society at large?
How would you express these reasons for marriage to a youth group? How about to a de-facto couple in your church?

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