Yet Another Marriage Question

Q. I am not eager to challenge you, as I see God has given you much wisdom and insight into Scripture, which I am grateful you share with so many. However your response to the question regarding married or not was bewildering, and I’m not sure Biblical.

You make a point of saying we are to honor our legal authorities on all points unless is causes us to deny Christ. And yet you would help justify someone’s marital status based on their motives and level of commitment and not what even the law would recognize. And more importantly, did not Jesus himself even make a distinction to the woman at the well as her being with a man, and yet He refused to acknowledge the man as her husband because they were not indeed married?

Surely God does not love anyone less because of certain choices made, but I think He says His expectation is for us to be above reproach, particularly if we already know right from wrong. And shouldn’t our motive for obedience to God and what He might be asking always be “for His sake”?

A. Did you notice in my answer that I asked the woman what was preventing her from getting married? And that perhaps the guilt she was feeling was the Holy Spirit prompting her to make her relationship official?

On the other hand, in my answer to another question I said, “Consider the one who stays married but secretly hates his wife and fantasizes about being being with another, or just being free. He keeps himself busy with his career, or by doing good works, to avoid going home. From outward appearances everything looks fine and he’s considered to be successful, but inwardly he’s just going through the motions, living a life of “quiet desperation” as someone once put it.” He’s doing what the law requires but is He obeying God?

In Matt. 21:28-31 Jesus told a parable about two sons who were asked by their father to go into the vineyard and work. One said yes but didn’t go, and the other said no but did go. When Jesus asked which one had done the will of the father, His listeners chose the one who said no and then went to work.

We know that half of all marriages end in divorce, Christian or not. But how many of the remaining half are just going through the motions? Certainly being legally married is best, but I suggest that couples who are happily married in their hearts but don’t have a legal document are honoring God more fully than those who have the document but are only keeping up appearances.

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