August 23, 2016 – Dr Jim McClure, well-known theologian, is highly appreciated for his biblical insights and explanations of scripture. Here he shares a personal note regarding his timely new book.
I do not know who first made the comment, ‘Marriages are made in heaven,’ but that person was wrong – totally and stupefyingly wrong!
Despite the feel-good sentiment expressed in the phrase, it could not be further from the truth! Marriages are not made in heaven but on earth by two people who have to work through many issues that almost daily try to destroy it. Disappointments, misunderstandings, bad communication, selfishness, criticism, disrespect, unforgiveness and a myriad of other salvos that men and women inflict on their marriage.
Marriages are made on earth!
No, marriages are not made in heaven but on earth as two people, against the odds, choose to make their life together not only ‘work’ but be a source of joy and fulfilment.
Only one marriage had a perfect beginning and a most favourable opportunity really to make their marriage work and be a source of fulfilment, but they botched it up! The opening chapters of Genesis show that even though God made the perfect partner for Adam, they were still unable to maintain the idyll that could have been theirs.
Today marriages are still (or even more) under threat from all sides by a wide variety of forces that are aligned against it. The ‘happy ever after’ hopes of all who attend a wedding ceremony are often dashed.
In my new book, Love, Marriage, Divorce and Remarriage, I comment, ‘Even accounting for the fact that more people are entering de facto relationships, divorce rates are over 40%. For second marriages those rates are even higher.’ Cold figures disguise the emotional pain and trauma experienced by couples, their family and their friends when a marriage dissolves to the point that it is irrecoverable.
A transforming love that makes a difference
‘Falling in love’ is an authentic experience but it is not an accomplishment – it merely happens to us – and it is no basis on which to build a marriage. But love is, that is to say that the kind of love written about by Paul in 1 Corinthians 13 provides a solid foundation to all relationships and certainly to the marriage relationship.
In my book I write, ‘The passage is not about “romantic-love” or “friendship-love” or “sexual-intimacy-love” or even “family-love.” He (Paul) was writing about a love that makes a difference to and transforms all human relationships including the relationship between a man and his wife.’ In my book I explain further what Paul was saying.
In Malachi 2:16 we read that God says, ‘I hate divorce!’ Of course he does! No one in his right mind could ‘like’ divorce! I believe that God ‘hates’ divorce because, as I have written in my book, it ‘causes anguish and suffering that has physical, emotional and spiritual consequences.’
However, divorce is not a sin, and sometimes is preferable to the alternative of staying in an abusive relationship where love has gone.
Failure isn’t final!
It is acknowledged that, irrespective of the cause, divorce attests to a failure of what God originally ordained when he made humankind. However one of the abiding themes of the Bible, indeed, at the heart of the biblical revelation, is the message that with God failure does not have the final word!
If you would like to explore the issues of love, marriage, divorce and remarriage further from a biblical perspective, I invite you to read my book. There is no charge for it.
My prayer is that it may be used to give hope and peace and an experience of God’s wonderful grace to many who may have struggled with the pain of broken relationships.
Dr Jim McClure, author of several books and Bible study series, welcomes questions from Christians seeking enlightenment on biblical perspectives. Love, Marriage, Divorce and Remarriage will soon be available in an electronic version in EPUB, Kindle and PDF formats with hyperlinks (as is Dr Jim’s well-researched Grace Revisited) and is offered free. Link for pre-booked orders: firstname.lastname@example.org. See also https://connectingwithyou.net/2016/08/23/thebuzz-august-27-2106/