Marriage: The Highest of Human Relationships
As we remember the tragedy of 9/11/01 let’s continue to pray for the only Peace that can bring about the needed changes in our hearts, lives and nations around the globe…the Truth, Peace and Love of Jesus and that must begin in our homes and families!
Marriage: In God’s Image
The Highest of Human Relationships
We’ve established the Biblical priorities of relationship beginning with Christ as Lord and our worship and love for Him above all else if we are to walk as His disciples. Looking further at Scripture we recognize that the priorities continue in our earthly relationships, recognizing that marriage is the highest of human relationships.
You may have heard a pastor or teacher speak of The Bible as “the greatest love letter ever written.” While this is true, I would propose that we take that a step further and declare it the “greatest marriage manual ever written!” This is for many reasons, including: the Creation design itself of male and female; the image of God reflected in the differences and the union; and the concept of Covenant ordained by God through marriage as the relationship that symbolizes His covenant with His people Israel, Christ and His Bride, The Church, and the marriage of one man and one woman in a lifetime commitment. Every single word in Scripture is written to one, two, or all three of the following: His Bride, Israel; Christ’s Bride, The Church; and one man/one woman in covenant marriage.
The question in our world and churches today: Are we giving marriage its proper place and honor? I would argue that we are not, and both The Church and our culture are suffering greatly because we have failed to do so in light of and in line with God’s Word.
Marriage is the #2 Priority
Marriage should be esteemed, second only to Christ, above every other institution and relationship in our culture, including The Church, as it preceded and is implicitly and explicitly given such honor in Scripture. This was driven home to me in numerous situations early in my marriage. I will share two with you.
I was given several opportunities to pursue a professional basketball career, either here or abroad. In submitting to The Lord, I chose a different path, and this was all prior to even meeting my wife. I continued to play with a couple of traveling teams with sponsors that allowed me to keep my skills sharpened and my competitive appetite whetted. This also kept my name as a potential player in the loop, so to speak.
I met Ami in 1988 and we dated for nearly two years, were engaged for exactly one year, and were married June 1, 1991. I was teaching and coaching at the time and continued to play competitively. She became pregnant with our firstborn, Lansing, in 1995 and just a couple of months prior to his being born I received a phone call from a team in Switzerland that had received my name as a player/coach for a top-level professional club team. Again on May 11, 1997, just 5 days before our second son, Harrison, was born, I received a call from a top club team in London, England, with the same offer.
In my flesh, I really would have loved to continue to pursue these offers. However, I’d made up my mind entering into marriage that my first priority would be The Lord, my marriage would be next, and then my wife and family. While I know The Lord could work in any of these situations, my understanding of Scripture was that the priorities that had come from His Word were to guide my decisions.
He certainly would have made it through the transition because He is God. But I knew that my wife with two toddler boys and me “hooping” all over Switzerland or England and beyond would have made it very difficult for our marriage and family.
The decisions were easy. I humbly and politely declined both of them and I’ve never regretted it for one single second. What I can tell you is that God has blessed our marriage and family and I believe it was because I kept my priorities in line with His Word and placed Him, and my marriage, wife, and family above myself.
A few years later two similar situations occurred just a few years apart. I was asked to be a national spokesperson for an expanding nonprofit company. At the time, our three children (we added our beautiful daughter, Haidyn, in 1999) were elementary age or younger. My response was simple: “How can I help raise my children if I’m traveling all over the country?” The founder and CEO replied, “I thought you might say that, but we had to try anyway.”
The second inquiry for the same position was offered to me again a few years later with Lansing just entering middle school and Harrison and Haidyn in elementary school. This time they asked: “Did you know that you could fly to two-thirds of the continental US and back home in a day?” As much as I would have enjoyed that position and Ami and I would have loved to travel around the country, my answer again reflected the priorities that had guided me in my walk with The Lord. I responded with a question: “How does leaving at 6 AM and arriving back home at 9 PM or later honor my marriage and wife or help raise my children?”
“We knew you were going to say that but we had to try again.”
I closed that conversation with this simple statement of faith that I knew I could rely on: “If The Lord desires me to be in that or any similar position, then He will show me the time and place. And if not, then I’m fine with what I’ve chosen.”
Some readers may struggle with my choices and some may even be angry. Please know I’m not condemning anyone who has made or may make a different choice. I’m simply sharing with you why I made the choices based on my understanding of God’s Covenant Order and how He has blessed us in our marriage and family. I would not trade that for anything.
I can tell you that I have counseled hundreds who have made different decisions in similar situations and have sat in my office with great regret for what they sacrificed. Remember, relationships in the Kingdom, or the stuff of this world, at some point there will be sacrifice of one or the other. Your choices and actions determine which is sacrificed no matter how you may claim, “I did it for my family.”
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Make it a great day and God bless in Christ!
Love and Lordship…Food for Thought –Christ’s disciples and His Church must uphold marriage according to God’s design and order as one man and one woman in a lifetime covenant relationship that is the foundation of all other relationships and of society. It also must be honored as representing Christ and His Bride, The Church.
Love and Lordship…Action Item(s) – 1) Make sure that you honor The Lord by spending time with Him every day; 2) Find a tangible way every day to honor your marriage; 3) Find a tangible way every day to honor your spouse.