November 19, 2009

Between Each Married Couple

You would have heard how people say "opposites attract", just like the positive end of a magnet attracts the negative end of a magnet. Like poles repel. It is amazing how God brings together a man and a woman. In both of them, there will be inherent gender differences, personality differences, family upbringing differences. They may/may not have similar interests and hobbies, the same opinion on things, etc. Given all these possible differences (which apparently attracts boy to girl or vice versa), it is not difficult to explain why married people say marriage is hard and you have to work on it constantly (Read "Don't be lazy in Marriage"), and why some people give up on their marriages.

God instituted marriage to be good. He created man to rule over the world under Him and created woman out of the man's bones so that the man will not be alone and will have a helper (Gen 2:18). The man and woman shall become one flesh (Gen 2:24) and multiply and fill the earth (Gen 1:28) together. Both the man and woman are the same but have different roles. But because of the fall (Gen 3), man and woman relationship also failed and become imperfect (Gen 3:16). Later, the Bible (God's word) instructs us how husbands (Eph 5:25-32) and wives (Eph 5:22-24) should conduct their marriage.

I'd say there is some truth in "opposites attract". An extrovert often (but not necessarily) marry an introvert. A talker often (but not necessarily) marry a listener. Differences make life more interesting but also create conflicts. It takes time for the couple to make the differences work for them, such that they will serve to complement each other and not allow them to break the relationship apart. With working out and through the differences, it is where the couple will grow stronger and deeper in their relationship. The guidelines of 'working out' a marital relationship is written in Ephesians 5: 22-32, where the husband is called to love, lead and sacrifice for his wife just as Christ does for the church and the wife is called to submit and respect her husband just as to the Lord. God has commanded husband and wife specifically and individually. I think God knows that husbands will fail to love, lead and sacrifice for his wife and wives will fail to submit to and respect his headship. God did not commanded wives to love, lead and sacrifice for their husbands and husbands to submit and respect their wives. (This is not to say that there is no place for wives to sacrifice and husbands need not respect their wives) By God's grace, when 2 sinful persons come and commit to Him, husbands and wives can grow to become husbands and wives in Ephesians 5. God is gracious.

Opposites do not attract all the time, especially if you are differing in your values in life (which, if you are a Christian, is shaped by the way you understand the Bible). Similarities in marriage are often good but sometimes can be a source of conflicts. e.g. if both loves to talk, then no one will listen. If you share similar hobbies, you can have fun and leisure together. Having similar values in life shape the way the married life is led and has implications for all aspects of life, including parenting our next generation.

Differences or similarities, I guess my point is that marriage is hard work anyway. Marriage is good, is fun, can make us happy, but marriage also challenges us to holy and godly through our sin and weaknesses. Getting to know each other's strengths and weaknesses help the weaker to grow and both to work together in ministry for the glory of God. Marriage serves to grow us in living out that mysterious relationship between Christ and the church. And because we are still living in this sinful world, that perfect relationship will only be attained when Jesus comes again.

(I suppose there is so much more to write but this is where I will have a break ;))

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