Let me give you just a little Bible math here: When it comes to marriage, one plus one equals one! Jesus Christ Himself tells us this fundamental truth: “They are no longer two, but one” (Matthew 19:6). This unity is designed for every aspect of a couple’s life together: physical, emotional, spiritual, and yes, even financial.
God’s plan for marriage is fulfilled when two people, without losing their unique personalities and abilities, become one. Just as when melting two metals to form a strong alloy, this blending gives the marriage union its unique strength. Independence decreases; interdependence increases. Couples learn to improve this unity over a lifetime as they share more areas of life with each other.
Marriage is first and foremost a covenant. It is an agreement, a pledge, a promise that nothing will be allowed to invalidate the lifelong commitment spouses make to each other. The exchanging of the rings signifies that covenant. The marriage vow, “for richer or poorer, for better or worse, in sickness and in health” says, “I will love you no matter what.”
Do you realise how significant those last seven words are?
I will love you no matter what.
As imperfect, stumbling, fumbling, sinful human beings, no words could be sweeter than those words. That another person would endure our failures, wrong-headedness and annoying quirks, and pledge to love us and stand by us through it all, as we learn and grow together ... well, it just doesn't get any better than that.
Marital love is to be so deep that in some mysterious way it even mirrors the love Jesus Christ has for the church. “A man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church” (Ephesians 5:31-32, NIV). The term “covenant” describes the love of Christ for the church, and it also describes marriage.
Unfortunately, many people get married with an escape hatch mentality. If their spouse is no longer attractive enough or finances are too tight, they can bail out of the marriage. We need to slam the hatch shut and give ourselves completely to the marriage God has given us.
Here is what I have discovered about making a lifelong covenant with each other: When both partners are committed to their marriage, they both focus on working things out—even in the most difficult situations.