Now that I’ve discussed some stumbling blocks toward second-time-around marital bliss (the yours and mine), what can we define as ours in this mid-life remarriage after divorce? Last time I focused on the temporal. It’s time to widen our vision up to heaven. Spiritual blessings that flow from a covenant marriage are innumerable. Christ is present in this covenant marriage and He is its head. What’s the purpose of marriage anyway? Is it for ourselves and our happiness? Marriage is a picture of Christ and the Church (Ephesians 5: 22-33). That means sacrifice, serving and selflessness. We must glorify God in marriage through this dynamic of putting the other first.
All these are OURS
- Companionship, friendship and intimacy. In Friends And Lovers, Joel Beeke writes: “true marital friendship is the personal bond of shared life in Christ”. Lonely days, lonely nights no more! Companionship is ours. Friendship and intimacy, when nourished, will deepen as the years go by.
- A shared life now. We are creating new history together, our history, with each passing day. I have to remind myself that it’s never good to look back. Lot’s wife couldn’t let go of her past life in that other place and look what happened to her. Luke 9:62 says “And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” Matthew Henry’s commentary explains: if thou hast a design to follow me and to reap the advantages of those that do so, yet if thou lookest back to a worldly life again and hankerest after that, if thou lookest back as Lot’s wife did to Sodom, which seems to be alluded to here, thou art not fit for the kingdom of God.” Wow. I must ponder this when I get sulky during the holidays. No looking back. No what-ifs. Here and now.
- Help. We must help each other grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We should help hinder sin in one another and seek to mortify sins. We don’t go it alone. I love what God’s Word says in Ecclesiastes 4: 9-12:
9 Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour.10 For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up.
11 Again, if two lie together, then they have heat: but how can one be warm alone?
I especially love verse 11 – it’s wonderful to have my husband beside me, warming me on cold drafty nights in our old house. Of course, these verses refer to the spiritual helps: of lifting one another up after falling into sin. This kind of help is ours in marriage. Mike and I are particularly mindful of God’s grace in giving us both a second chance for repenting of sinful behaviors that led to the destruction of our previous marriages. Marriage is a wonderful vehicle for the Lord to refine us as gold. It’s easy to see the faults of that other person while we have that huge plank in our own eye (Matt. 7:3-5). Yes, the Westminster Confession of Faith declares one spouse ‘the innocent party’ in Biblical divorce scenarios, but truly there is never an innocent party. How could there be, when we are all sinners? I am thankful for this second time around, this second chance in pursuing holiness and living for Christ. William Gouge explains this dynamic of Christian marriage in Building A Godly Home: A Holy Vision for a Happy Marriage. This is an excellent resource for any marriage – short, long, first or second. I highly recommend it: http://www.amazon.com/Building-Godly-Home-Volume-Marriage/dp/1601782489
- Children and Grandchildren.
I’m including children (who were on the NOT list as well) because we must make them ours by loving them all and setting a good example for them in our marriage. Gradually we may succeed at having my three and his three over for dinner, who knows? We currently have 6 grandchildren. Five are mine, one is his — never mind — they’re all ours! They have no knowledge of the horrors of our divorces. These little ones don’t think twice about considering both of us theirs. Lord willing, we’ll have more grandchildren to call ours. What a blessing that will be.
- Christ! We have Christ; we belong to him and He is ours. In our previous marriages, we were unequally yoked. It’s wonderful to have shared faith in Christ. On Christ the solid Rock this marriage stands. Christ is our treasure. John Piper refers to Christ as the ‘all-satisfying Treasure of Life’. He is our all in all. We should never expect to get all our satisfaction from a spouse. We’re two sinners disappointing one another, but a marriage in Christ remedies that. When we both look to our Treasure, we find our every desire satisfied. John Piper explains beautifully: “…Christ as the Treasure that all our cravings have pointed to. All our acquisitiveness has pointed to this. All our lust has pointed to this. All our addictions have pointed to this. All our loneliness has pointed to this. All our longings for marriage and friendship and success and leisure and fun and significance and influence have pointed to Christ our Treasure. We were made to treasure Christ.”
- A shared inheritance. Who gets the house, our home? Never mind who gets the stuff when we die. That can be worked out and agreed upon. What’s more important is what we will inherit – a heavenly home.
“In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will” – Ephesians 1:11
We are joint heirs in Christ:
The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. – Romans 8:16-18
Imagery of marriage is plentiful in the Bible. That must mean marriage is highly esteemed by God, a precious and most intimate relationship. He wants an intimate relationship with His Bride, the Church. Without dissecting all the theology I’m incapable of expounding, let me just say that our earthly marriages should be a display of God’s love for us. The Old Testament book of Hosea is the ultimate picture of unconditional love. Hosea and Gomer: now there’s a relationship to mimic – not Gomer’s whorish wanderings, but Hosea’s unconditional love, which is a picture of God’s love toward us. Hosea 2:19 says “I will marry thee unto me forever: yea, I will marry thee unto me in righteousness, and in judgment, and in mercy, and in compassion.” Isaiah 62:4 compares the Church to a forsaken wife: “Thou shalt no more be termed Forsaken; neither shall thy land any more be termed Desolate: but thou shalt be called Hephzibah, and thy land Beulah: for the Lord delighteth in thee, and thy land shall be married.“. That verse spoke volumes to me, even in a temporal sense. Reading this years ago, I felt the Lord telling me that my alone years were coming to an end. And they did.
The second time around is sweeter because of Christ. It is lovelier because of Christ. If we keep a proper marriage covenant perspective and keep our eyes focused on our Heavenly Husband, this earthly marriage will render rich blessings. Together as husband and wife, we will “press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.“