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Take 5!, by Phil Ware Phil Ware

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    It’s wedding season. Is there any place to go for guidance on building a strong marriage? Well, I like to steer couples to a great source—Jesus! In Matthew 19:1-9, Jesus’ enemies try to catch him up in their legalistic debate over divorce. Rather than getting caught up in their debate, Jesus gives five principles on which to build a strong marriage.

First, “Know that you two are very different! God made you male and female.”
    Marriage is the union of male and female—two very different people by design, with different gifts and perspectives because they are different genders. Two different people come together to reflect the oneness and the diversity of the Godhead (“Let us make (hu)man in our own image, ...in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” Genesis 1:26-27). Each is a complement to the other. Each is a gift to the other.

Second, “You must leave your mother and father for this new life!”
    The married couple is the key component in a family. Children derive their security from their parents’ love and respect of each other. It’s essential that we shift our primary dependence and allegiance to our marriage partner, emotionally and physically leaving our parents to begin our own new family. We are to still honor our parents, but our primary responsibility must be to our spouse.

Third, “Commit your hearts and futures to each other as you join your lives together.”
    The old word “cleave” is rich, but not a word we use very often. The message behind the word, “a willingness to commit and join lives with another no matter what,” must never be antiquated. Weddings must be more than tuxedos and lace, they must be a time of holy commitment.

Fourth, “Share your lives, conversations, sexuality, and closeness with joy."
    One flesh is bigger than just sex. It is about knowing and sharing and giving and loving. But it is also about joy and friendship and fun and celebration (Read again the Song of Solomon or Proverbs 5!). When we marry, our goal is to bring sexual joy and fulfillment to our partner and we will find it given to us as well (1 Corinthians 7:1-5).

Fifth, “Remember that marriage is a covenant not just a ceremony.”
    When couples marry, God enters that covenant and must become the most important part of the relationship. This is a life of covenant. The covenant must not be broken. God considers it a holy partnership between us, our spouse and himself (Malachi 2:13-16). God doesn't want us to settle for bartered love—I’ll meet your needs if you meet mine. The goal of marriage is not to get but to give, not to treat our partner as they deserve, but to honor Christ in the way we treat them (Ephesians 5:21). He wants us to find a love like Jesus showed us, lasting and sacrificial and true.

    Marriage is a precious gift. To keep it precious, Jesus gives us 5 principles to take with us, so it can be a gift that lasts a lifetime!


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