So you’re married! Congratulations. I hope you didn’t think that it would be “happily ever after”. Surely you’ve heard the punchline, “the best years of the marriage were the ones before the wedding”? Ouch. Like a jab to the jaw.
We don’t attain to a superior level of humanity upon saying “I do”. A common misconception. If anything, our foibles and shortcomings tend to show themselves now with a greater poignancy than before. Our need for Jesus and His mercy and His insight only increases. As well the need for His forgiveness and understanding. When you were single, if you didn’t spend your time getting to know God as well as yourself, then—and forgive the expression—you’re in for a world of pain. That is, unless you married someone who wasn’t also human, like an angel or something…
“Nevertheless such shall have trouble in the flesh: but I spare you.” (1 Corinthians 7:28)
Not sure if the phrase “opposites attract” is entirely accurate. It’s one thing to look on the outside for desirable physical qualities in a mate, another to seek semi-superficial character traits that are enticing. But both of those pale in comparison to the importance of Christlikeness in the person you’re (theoretically) going to spend the rest of your life with. The term “polarization” connotes opposite ends of the spectrum, and to my mind, also white, cold, and frozen. It may be one world, but the poles are nigh uninhabitable. As an aside, penguins are only found at the South Pole. Penguins have the ability to inwardly filter salt out of oceanwater to drink, a process known as “desalination”. So too, does the albatross. We don’t have that ability. I know I’m going all over the place here, but follow me. Early editions of the Bible (1600s) show pictures of an albatross as symbolic of Jesus. The correlation here is that Jesus is the one who makes saltwater, fresh. Yeah, I know this sounds silly. But: “Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be. Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet (fresh) water and bitter (salt)?” (James 3:10-11) James compares the words we speak, for good or ill, to saltwater and freshwater. The former being undrinkable. When we drink saltwater, it leeches the moisture out of our bodies and ends up dehydrating instead of hydrating us. Never tried it myself, but they say it feels like you’re sating your thirst while drinking, only to find that you end up thirstier than when you started out. That is, until your tongue swells up and you choke. Maybe you should put “desalination” on your list of desirable character traits for a prospective mate? Can’t marry a bird…
The words we speak and the motives and thoughts behind them are one of the main causes of polarization in relationships. “For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind: But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.” (James 3:8)
Jesus has been symbolized by many different animals, from the lion (“of the tribe of Juda” Revelation 5:5), to the lamb (“worthy is the lamb that was slain” Revelation 5:12) In medieval times, He was symbolized as the albatross, the pelican, and even depicted as a unicorn who—in one Renaissance work of art—dipped its horn in a poisoned forest pond prior to being killed by hunters. The water was purified even as He died. The old poem “Rime of the Ancient Mariner” by Samuel Taylor Coleridge (who, himself was unhappily married) tells of a man, stranded at sea, who strings a dead albatross around his neck in order to stave off sharks (it works). Point is, as my dad has often told me, that, “out of both members of a union, Jesus is the most important person”. And the closer we would get to Him during the marriage, the closer we get to our spouse. It’s the natural order of things.
“Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled.” (Hebrews 12:15) Jesus is the best marriage counselor out there. Consult with and wait on Him before walking down the aisle and also during the marriage. As He is the one who brought you together, He’s also the one who will keep you that way. Figures of speech notwithstanding.
“And every creature which is in Heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, blessing, and honor, and glory, and power, be unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.” (Revelation 5:13)
Then again, Paul says to the Colossians (4:6): “Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how we ought to answer every man.” Maybe some “disambiguation” is needed. More on that tomorrow.