Jason’s comment on one of Dalrock’s recent posts is worth critically analyzing because it has a lot of assumptions packed into it about the definition of a “good marriage.” There’s a lot that is wrong with the current evangelical Christianity to be sure, and there is also a lot of cultural thinking.
My parents were not practicing Christians. Culturally, yes. We were a ‘Christmas and Easter’ type of family. My parents were not ‘hostile’ to Christianity or the church in general. They were ‘married’ in a church. We never attended church except for those two holidays.
They met in 1964, after eight months of dating, they got married in 1965 and had a very, very solid marriage. A loving, helpful, uplifting and working as a “team” marriage.
So when Pastors and busy-body church-folk tell me that you have to have ‘Jesus’ in order to have a “good” marriage…….I sometimes wince and think “well, that’s not really true”
Plenty of Christians I have met have been married several times, been through messy divorces, or their marriage is a “yo go girl” wife and brow beaten husband……
Remember too, even in the early days of the church……even the ‘pagan’ Romans, many had good marriages and they loved each other without “Jesus”. For the most part, evangelical-protestant Christianity somehow made marriage “their” invention with zero proof and most of the sheeple in the church have just swallowed it and accepted this.
Generally speaking, one could say this is not an uncommon scenario for those who lived in the US in say 1700-1950s or so. The case where one needs to make a distinction is on a few points.
- God created man and marriage to reflect Himself.
- When you follow God’s prescriptions such as with proper roles and responsibilities, you will generally have a “successful” marriage. For example, the husband is the head and loves his wife, and the wife submits and respects her husband. Such a marriage will rarely divorce and generally be happy, despite the faith or lack thereof of said participants.
- The pastors are indeed correct that you cannot have a “good” marriage without Jesus/God. To have a good marriage, you need to please God. Having correct roles and responsibilities in marriage may make a marriage have earthly success, but such a marriage does not please God.
The better term for what Jason is discussing above is “successful marriage” and mainly in terms of worldly success. If we define a successful marriage as one that does not divorce and is generally happy like most. A successful marriage it not necessarily a good marriage. A good marriage pleases God, and pleasing God requires faith.
Mark 10:17 As He was setting out on a journey, a man ran up to Him and knelt before Him, and asked Him, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” 18 And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone.
Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the [a]assurance of things [b]hoped for, the [c]conviction of things not seen. 2 For by it the men of old [d]gained approval. 3 By faith we understand that the [e]worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible. 4 By faith Abel offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained the testimony that he was righteous, God testifying [f]about his gifts, and through [g]faith, though he is dead, he still speaks. 5 By faith Enoch was taken up so that he would not see death; and he was not found because God took him up; for he obtained the witness that before his being taken up he was pleasing to God. 6 And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.
Jason commits a few fallacies that are common.
One can have much worldly success following Biblical principles, but still not know God or please Him (like his parents). As we know, the only way to God is through the sacrifice of Jesus. Without the sacrifice of Jesus and God’s grace and mercy working through us, we can do nothing good. The worldly successful of a marriage doesn’t make it good.
This is true not just of marriage, but of other things such as financial success. The Scriptures espouse hard work, being diligent with the little things and the big things, being responsible, going above and beyond to please our superiors, generous, and giving. All of these things help to contribute to financial success. However, these things don’t make a man good.
Likewise, an example of an unsuccessful/sinful marriage between Christians does not prove that a marriage with Christians is not good. It only proves that Christians still sin. A successful marriage without God still leads to hell too.
A good marriage is made up of Christians, following God’s prescriptions of roles and responsibilities, so that it reflects the mystery of Jesus and the Church. For Christians, success in marriage is only secondary to aiming to please God first. And that makes all the difference.