Kind of Red

December 29, 2009

A Conversation on Marriage

Filed under: Uncategorized — The Painted One @ 12:13 am

4 Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge.  Hebrews 13:4 (New King James Version)

A few months ago, a good friend shared a link to a provocative debate conducted and published by ABC News’ award winning show, Nightline.   Nightline Anchor Cynthia McFadden moderated the fourth installment of

From left: Jenny Block, Jonathan Daughtery, Cynthia McFadden, Ed Young & Noel Biderman

Nightline’s recurring series, The “Face-Off,” where opposing sides debate controversial topics.  This particular debate, hosted at the Fellowship Church in Grapevine, Texas, pitted Pastor Ed Young of the Fellowship Church and recovering sex addict and founder of “Be Broken Ministries” Jonathan Daughtery against Ashley Maidson.com founder and CEO Noel Biderman and author Jenny Block. The debate centered on The Seventh Commandment, adultery and the question of whether we were born to cheat.  Naturally, it fostered a healthy debate during the broadcast, but it also elicited a great conversation amongst those around me.

I asked my friends, a married couple, to share some of their thoughts with my wife and I, and promised we would return the favor.  They are John and Fran.  John is an IT professional and his wife Fran works for a major media outlet.  What will follow is a conversation the four of us had on marriage. Our conversation has gained more relevance in the time since we began jotting down our thoughts several weeks ago with the ever-emerging details of Tiger Woods’ incessant philandering and Jenny Sanford’s formal announcement that she would divorce her husband, Governor Mark Sanford, for his infidelity.  Our conversation will not directly focus on those noted affairs, but rather will center on marriage, its purpose, our expectations and our reasons for entering into the relationship ourselves.  We will begin our discussion at the beginning, by answering what is marriage.  We will then continue where Nightline began its debate–are we born to cheat?  I will identify the speaker by some sort of appropriate marker (e.g. Me, Rashida, John, Fran, etc.)  I pray you enjoy it as much as we have.

Before we delve to deeply into the idea of marriage, our expectations and the like, we should begin at the beginning so to speak, and define what we mean by marriage.  With that said, what is marriage?  What does it mean to you?

(Me) Marriage is a sacred relationship, ordained by God, whereby a man and woman establish a covenant to join together to form an eternal unionThe two become one and covenant to share life together.  It is a relationship typified by an undying love.  The union is the bedrock of our familial structure and symbolizes God’s desires for relationship with people. That is marriage as it should be.  Because we are flawed beings, at times members of our community of faith, and members of our society at large, fail to live up to such a high standard.  Nevertheless, I still believe we should strive to do this God’s way.

(Rashida) I agree with everything my husband has said above along with what my brother and sister have said below. I would just like to add a personal note to the discussion. Marriage has been transformative for me. While it has made me more aware of my flaws, I get a chance everyday to learn to be more loving, more caring, and more respectful of my husband. After having been married for a year, I have a much greater appreciation of the relationship Christ has with His church, because my husband has demonstrated what that relationship is supposed to look like in the love he shows towards me each day.

My husband will tell you that I’ve always loved to share (especially food), but sharing a life in marriage takes the concept of sharing beyond what I could have ever imagined. It is the weaving of two lives together to the point that all joys are shared, all sorrows are shared, even downtime is shared. It is truly a beautiful thing to have that type of oneness with someone. It gives you the place and the space to become a better you, because you don’t have to do it all on your own. You have support and loving shoulder to rest upon when the weight of life gets difficult to bear alone. (Of course, we always have God, whether married or not).

Something my husband and a brother of his have both attested to be true is that they knew they found their wife when they could not continue, or even begin, doing certain things God had for them without her help. So I would say that marriage is a bond or partnership that brings two people together who need each other as they move to the next phase of life.

(John) Marriage is an opportunity for me to mirror the relationship between Christ and the Church.  The bible speaks of how Husbands should love their wives as Christ loves the Church.  Through marriage, I have the wonderful invitation of replicating Christ to my spouse.  Now these are no easy shoes to fill, but through God’s grace all things are possible.

Marriage also allows me the experience of exposure to my own flaws as I live in covenant with my wife. It has an interesting way of exposing the areas of your life that God is yet perfecting and redeeming for His glory.  Only through the blessed union of marriage have I learned how much infinitely more I truly need Christ to both will and to do of His good pleasure.  For the believer, an opportunity to further understand your need for Christ, and specifically what you need Him to do in you, is a welcome one.

Lastly, marriage is on opportunity for me to learn more about the role Christ plays in my life, as I endeavor to replicate that role in my marriage.  Before marriage, I thought I had made major headway in my spiritual trek.  But it was during marriage that I truly began to receive a greater understanding of what Christ is faced with when dealing with His Church.  It is because of marriage that I’ve grown to appreciate Christ all the more.

(Fran) Marriage, lightly defined, is a man and woman agreeing to do life together.  For the Christian, however, marriage takes on a much more intentional spiritual agenda.  Christians are charged by Scripture to use their marriages as mirrors reflecting Christ’s relationship with the church.  The husband (Christ) pursuing the wife (the church) and inviting her into a covenant relationship where he takes responsibility for her and she commits herself (body, mind, and spirit) to him.  This covenant is binding, expects faithfulness, is built on trust and is intended to bring out the best in each person as they grow together – eliminating the worst of their character out of love for one another.  The marriage relationship is also the bedrock for the family and must be handled carefully for the children’s sake.

(Me) I will echo the sentiments of Rashida, John and Fran and will attest that marriage has transformed me as well.   As my wife alluded to earlier, her presence in my life provides me the perfect compliment to complete the tasks God has placed before me.  All that I put my hand to is fortified by the help she offers and what I achieve is more fulfilling when I know I can share it with her.   Additionally, I have become more cognizant of my own shortcomings and imperfections, with her beside me to push me to higher standards I might not have reached on my own.  I also have gained a deeper view of love as I have experienced it through the love and support my wife provides for me and as I have desire to show her that same love everyday.  As my wife mentioned, our relationship has also illuminated God’s love for humanity and His desire to relate to His creation.   Each day I want to draw closer to her and desire to connect with her just as God desires we draw nigh unto Him.

Why did you get married?

(Me) I love my wife. That is the simplest answer I could offer, and perhaps the best.  I love her for all the depths of the beautiful person she is and love her in spite of her imperfections.  I love her as she is and want to see her become who God desires her to be. I love my wife, and knew of no better way to demonstrate my love for her than to make a lifelong commitment to love her as Christ loved the church and gave himself for it.

(Rashida) When Timothy and I were about two years into our friendship (we were not officially courting at this point) I shared with him some very personal information about myself that made me vulnerable to his judgment and criticism. While what I shared did jolt him initially, he stepped back from his initial reaction and responded to the great burden on his heart to pray for me and see me fully healed and restored. I remember being at my cousin’s house when he called me one night and asked if he could pray with me. I said sure and went into a closet so that I could have a private space where I could get before the Lord. We prayed together for nearly a half hour and in that time I experienced an amazing move of God, where I was literally being purged of burdens, strongholds, insecurities, and scars that were so deeply tucked away in my heart that I didn’t realize they were still there. I had never experienced anything like this prior to that moment. When I walked out of that closet I was a free woman. Free from the things that had gotten in the way of me having a relationship with God where I could really walk pure and holy before Him.

After getting off the phone with Timothy I told my cousin that only my husband could pray for me like that. This was not some type of fantasy conjecture, but this was something that was so clear to me, given what I understood of the role that a husband plays in a wife’s life.

A few weeks later, my intuition was confirmed when Timothy told me that he had been praying about what God had for us and said that he planned to pursue me towards marriage. While I was a little stunned by his direct approach, I was amazed at how God was beginning our process of courting. I marveled at how my husband found me and that I didn’t have to go looking for him. After getting over the shock at how things were unfolding, I moved into “wife preparation mode” because I knew the weight of the responsibility that was now before me.

So why did I get married? Because God sent me an amazing husband for me to be a help meet to, and to respect, love and cherish. Timothy is a gift that I would have been foolish to have turned away. I married him because I understood his value as a man who is truly after God’s own heart, but more importantly I am absolutely certain that this man I loved was and is “the One.”

(Me) I remember that evening vividly.  It was Rashida’s birthday.  I called her to share my birthday wishes and to talk with her.  We had recently reconnected, and had begun talking on a regular basis as though we had never parted.  I was growing more fond of her by the day, though I had not told her the full measure of my feelings, because I had not ascertained whether it was the time to do so.  Nevertheless, I called, though only expecting to wish her a happy birthday and converse a little before the evening ran away from us.  As we conversed, our conversation evolved from a simple exchange of cordial pleasantries into a more involved conversation where we both shared in ways we had not previously.  I recall her openly sharing in a way that demonstrated a heightened trust in me.  I also remember admiring her openness and the courage it required, despite the fact that I did not like all that I heard.  After we said our goodnights, our conversation lingered in my subconscious, and I could hear her words echoing in my mind until I finally began to stare at the back of my eyelids.

I awoke the next morning hoping some of our conversation was a figment of my imagination, though I soon realized it was not.  I wrestled with the implications of what I discussed with Rashida the night before much of the following day.  My feelings for her were growing by the day, and I was beginning to believe she was the woman God had for me.  In short, I cherished every moment I had with her.   Nevertheless, portions of the previous night’s conversation troubled me to the point that I questioned that belief.  I contemplated sending an e-mail of my thoughts to her, but decided against it seeing as how I believed she deserved to hear from me in the most direct way possible considering the vulnerability she displayed the night before.  With that thought in mind, I spoke with two of my closer friends regarding my conversation with Rashida, without providing any personal identifiers or specific information, to gather a sense of what they deemed the best course of action.   Both of them suggested that what seemed to bother me most was not as significant as I may have thought, and emphasized that I pray with this person I was so concerned about.  I agreed, and decided how I felt did not matter as much as our need to pray.  When I returned home, I called Rashida and asked to pray with her.  She hesitated at first, but agreed.  We began to pray, and were soon experiencing the power of God in ways I still lack the ability to fully describe.  What I can say, is that the two of us connected with God on that evening in a way that has set the tone for all the days we have shared since.

On that evening I discovered that I loved Rashida.  My friends had hinted at it earlier.  Their comments suggested that my concern for her ventured beyond the typical bond one feels for a close friend.  What I felt exceeded the bonds of ordinary friendship.  It also exceeded the desire to romance her and sweep her off her feet (though that was definitely in the plans).  What was birthed inside of me was a longing desire to care for her eternally and see the best for her.  No imperfection could subsume that love, it merely offered me a fuller glimpse of her.  It also allowed me to gain a fuller view of myself, and that view of me had her in it.  That budding love grew, and with it grew a desire to cherish the wonderful woman she is, and do all I can to help her become the woman God created her to be.  It is as I said before, I got married because I love my wife. That is the simplest answer I could offer, and perhaps the best.

(John) I got married for two simple reasons.  One, I had a desire to share my life with someone. Two, Fran not only grabbed my heart’s attention, but also the attention of the Holy Spirit resident in me.  I sensed God’s pleasure in the decision.  Through much prayer, I realized this was my destiny.

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2 Comments »

  1. Thank you for sharing this conversation on marriage– it was both enlightening and encouraging. You and Rashida have shared your testimony of love many times before and reading it inspires a fresh perspective on Love. Thanks heaps!

    Comment by I — January 4, 2010 @ 12:01 pm | Reply

  2. […] Rashida, along with our two of our friends, John and Fran, a married couple, conversed with me in our last installment.   They have graciously have agreed to join me again.  I will identify the speaker by some sort […]

    Pingback by A Conversation on Marriage Pt. II « Kind of Red — January 11, 2010 @ 7:52 pm | Reply


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