Marriage is Covenant Keeping

Recently, a friend and member of West Loop UBF asked me about my wife. He and his wife were wondering if Christy, my wife of 30 years, had any sins, since they were not able to detect any obvious sins whenever they meet or interact with her. Though it is obvious that my lovely wife is also a sinner, I was quite awed by what he said. I told him that it is one of the highest compliments that any man has ever given me. For to regard my wife as “sinless” in her public persona indirectly and partially points to the husband who has loved his wife by the grace of God and by the strength God provides (1 Pet 4:11). But I do know without a shadow of a doubt that the ONLY reason I have been able to love my wife for 30 years is because Jesus has loved me far, far more than I can ever deserve! This is the profound mystery of marriage (Eph 5:32).

What is marriage? Marriage is covenant keeping and commitment to Christ. Therefore, it is till death do us part. But the reality is that even as Christians, our marriages may be strongly biased by/based on “Something in the Way She Moves” (George Harrison, The Beatles, 1969), just like non-Christians. Then in the course of time, the song changes to “You’ve Lost that Lovin’ Feelin’” (The Righteous Brothers, 1964). This may explain why Christians have similar divorce rates as non-Christians in the U.S.

Marriage by faith. I have taught “marriage by faith” for 25 years based on Gen 2:18-25. I coined the triple Ms (MMM): Man, Mission, Marriage by using 1) a negative and 2) a positive illustration: 1) Gen 6:1-6 where godless men married godlessly based on shallow sensual sexuality from one’s outward beauty. 2) Isaac’s “marriage by faith” with Rebekah in Gen 24:1-67. Though this “teaching” is not unbiblical, it is not the intent of the author to encourage Christians to marry like Isaac and Rebekah. To do so would be an incorrect or improper exegesis leading to a forced hermeneutics, which amounts to eisogesis. D. A. Carson, Professor of the NT at Trinity, said, “A text without a context is a pretext for a proof text.” (Enjoy!) This is what churches through out history, including ours, have been guilty of, often without realizing it. What then is the meaning of marriage? How should we Christians view marriage?

MMM to CCC. To answer this question in a short essay would be impossible. But may I propose and suggest that according to the Bible, “Marriage is primarily Covenant keeping and Commitment to Christ.” (If you like to add another “C” it would be “Marriage is Covenant keeping and Commitment and Conformity to Christ.”) I got these words and phrases from John Piper. So I will change MMM to CCC. What does this mean?

God’s Utmost Love for Us is Expressed Through a Happy Marriage. Without quoting biblical references I will attempt to explain what I believe is God’s ultimate purpose for marriage. It is primarily to help us realize God’s utmost love for us through our marriage. To those who have a good long lasting happy marriage, you know that your happiness with one another is just a foretaste and a shadow of our ultimate marriage with Christ, which will be fully realized when he comes again. When we flop into the arms of our spouse and lover in ecstasy, it will not even compare to flopping into the arms of Christ when Jesus returns. When we look into the loving eyes of our spouse, it is just a reminder of that day when we will see Jesus face to face with him loving us with the deepest and fondest of affection. A Christian’s genuinely happy marriage shows the whole world that what God truly wants for man is our ultimate happiness, which will be perfectly fulfilled and fully realized at the Second Coming. In the meantime, a happy Christian marriage is a sign to the world and to the happy Christian couple that God’s love for us is immensely great.

God Redeems Marriage and Love Through Christ. Previously, I explained how in UBF we have tended to emphasize that Man Equals Mission. Though it is true that God created man and even marriage for mission, it is really not the primary purpose for creating man. God created man primarily to enjoy the love of God and the love of one another. This is what Jesus said (Matt 22:37-39). But we failed to love God and others/our own spouses, because of our sins of selfishness and self-centeredness, even as Christians. Only a restored and ongoing relationship with the Father, through his Son, by the work of the Spirit, are we able to love God and others. Thus, a loving and happy husband wife relationship and friendship can only be accomplished through the redeeming work of Christ on the cross. (Thus, “unhappy Christian marriages,” which is an oxymoron, occur when Christ is not central in the marriage or in their relationship.)

Commit to our Covenant with Christ by Committing to Marriage. Therefore, each individual Christian’s committed covenant keeping with Christ is absolutely foundational to a happy marriage. If Jesus’ love for me does not move my heart to tears and thanksgiving, I will not be able to love my wife (not to mention others) in a way that will build her up and sanctify her and make her more and more beautiful and glorious (Eph 5:25-27). When I sacrificially love, protect, provide for and treasure my wife (even imperfectly) as Christ loved the church (perfectly), I will begin to fulfill my mission as a man, a husband, a father and a steward of the world by displaying the love and glory of Christ through my marriage and my family. That is why the Apostle Paul’s requirement for elders and leaders in the church is how well they are managing their own family and household (1 Tim 3:4-5; Tit 1:6).

 

Would you teach marriage as covenant keeping and commitment to Christ? Should we emphasize that marriage is for mission, which Bible commentators do not do?

70 comments

  1. I found something interesting in your article. You talk about realizing the love that Christ has for us, through which we can be loving towards our spouses and have a happy marriage. So what about people who don’t know the love of Christ? Are there not people out there who aren’t Christians that have happy marriages? What about an atheist? Do atheists not make good spouses and parents? One more thing, why did the picture change? It was different yesterday, but that’s not a serious question, hahaha.

    • Thanks, Oscar. Your questions are great. I would love to address them. But right now I’d have to leave to see a few of my patients. But may others also chime in. But a short answer is that surely there are happy non-Christian couples. I know quite a few of them personally back in my hometown in Malaysia, Singapore, among my colleagues in the medical profession, and even from among my own non-Christian family. Christian, biblical reasons can be given which can explain the reasons, I believe.

    • David Bychkov

      Our God is one who commands his sun to rise upon good and evil, believers and non-believers (Math. 5:45). The same is true about some human happiness, feelings and even deads. And everything this is just from his goodness (James 1:17). 

    • Oscar, i had precisely the same question when i was reading Ben’s article. Whereas i believe that God ordained marriage to illustrate the ultimate union in heaven of Christ and his bride, i also believe that marriage altogether is God’s gift as children are. And every non-Christian or atheist who has the luck of being in a happy marriage enjoys what Calvinists would call common grace. and i am happy for them, too.

    • Hi Oscar, Henoch mentioned “comman grace,” which accounts for the benefits and blessings of all people in the world, Christian or non-Christian (Matthew 5:45). Another reason I might give for happy non-Christian marriages is when the couple “plays by the rules”: trusting, respecting, forgiving, honoring, understanding, being patient, compassionate, faithful, humble, devoted, loving, committed to our spouse, etc.

      Such non-Christian couples will be much happier than a Christian husband who absolutely applies Ephesians 5:22 to his wife!!!

    • Darren Gruett

      I certainly agree with the common grace principle, and, as Ben pointed out, the principles of marriage work whether or not one is a Christian.

       

      Also, when we think about the word “love” we all recognize what it is to one degree or another, Christian or non-Christian alike, because everyone is made in God’s image. So even non-believers have the capacity to love, even if they do not fully understand it the way a Christian does.

       

      Consider this: To say, “I love pizza,” is not the same as saying, “I love my wife” (at least it should not be the same); but they are both love. Of course, the Greeks had four different words for “love” to differentiate those kinds of nuances, but at the core, all four words expressed a certain common theme. So maybe when the non-Christian expresses love for his spouse, he has only a limited understanding of what that means, whereas the Christian understands something more.

  2. Hey Oscar, in regard to the picture, I didn’t change it. I think Ben must like this picture better :)  Anyway, I put the “kiss the bride” picture up with a bitter motive actually, in hopes that someone would ask the question “Can you kiss the bride at a wedding?” Sorry for my bad attitude; it was a rough day.  Anyway, I am glad Ben mentioned some music! I would suggest a third song might be “Open Arms” by Journey.  I am not a fan of dancing, but I hope someone also asks “Can you have a reception with dancing at a wedding?”

    • Brian, are you saying that you weren’t allowed to kiss your bride or even dance at your wedding reception?

    • Darren Gruett

      I kissed my bride at our wedding, but we had no alcohol or dancing. That was because our reception was at the church.

    • Oscar, yes that is what I’m saying. Actually, we never brought up these things because there was SO much strife just to get to the marriage ceremony… and don’t even ask about the veil story…

      Anyway, I hate dancing, so no dancing was fine with me!  And I personally don’t like ceremonies, so to me (perhaps as a man) the loss of American traditions in the wedding ceremony was no big deal.

      But those things caused a HUGE amount of psychological grief to people, some of which continues to be a sore spot even today (brides and mothers-of-the-brides especially).  Fortunately, God’s grace to us was that both my parents and my wife’s parents have a solid faith and love to see beyond these kinds of issues. But others didn’t fare so well.

      I think any church needs to be considerate of culture issues when it comes to marriage. Why tear down American traditions for the sake of Korean-ized ceremonies that are presented as “gospel truth”? 

    • Darren Gruett

      As long as we are talking about romantic songs, one of my favorites is, “What Kind of Man Would I Be?” by Chicago.

    • Darren, after 17 years of marriage and 4 kids, this is our romantic song :)

      I still cry over the “Plan B” part! 

      Phil Vassar, “Just Another Day In Paradise”

  3. Yeah, I’m guilty. I changed the pic. I liked the kissing pic. But I prefer to see the couple’s face of affection, which is hard to see when they are kissing. If we take a poll, and people prefer the kissing pic, I can change it back. I might find another kissing pic, which might show or highlight the beauty of the couple better.

    • No problem Ben. The quality of your pic is better anyway. And I must say I absolutely love this sentence: “To do so would be an incorrect or improper exegesis leading to a forced hermeneutics, which amounts to eisogesis.”

    • That might be my favorite sentence, along with Carson’s quote, which he says his evangelist dad would often tell him when he was young.
       
      Hopefully, people might look up the dictionary to find out exactly what my “complex” sentence means. (Even though it is something I myself often “hate” to do.)

    • In the past, Ben, I would have dismissed your sentence as an arrogant statement of false doctrine :(  But I am thankful that I didn’t have to look up the words; I’ve already learned those words from being used in my Bible study lessons at Grace.

  4. By gosh, Brian, the ability to edit my comments and previous posts is FUN and EXCITING! Thanks!!!

    • You’re welcome. What really is fun and exciting though is reading your personal story above. I think you may be the only man who can get away with such statements!

    • Admin note: Ben, so you can edit your comments? I wonder why Darren cannot. He is the same permission level as you… guess I’ll contact the Admin :)  

      Darren, please send me email or contact me from my blog. There is an odd email address in your profile. Perhaps you are posting from a different email address, so that’s why you don’t get “Author” permissions. 

    • That is weird. I do have two email addresses, my personal one and one that I use for work, but I only remember using my personal one out here. How do I email you?

  5. Darren Gruett

    Brian, I just posted a comment while I was logged in and it said it was awaiting moderation. Anyway, tell me how to email you and I will do that.

  6. Sorry for being silly by changing the picture. Sorry for you non-Twilight fans! Maybe this is what jet lag does to you, since I hardly slept last night.

    • Ben, we’re all waiting for a picture of you and your sinless wife, actually :)

    • Here is the real question then: Are vampire marriages also based on a covenant? haha

    • Darren Gruett

      Ben is a Calvinist, so his wife cannot be sinless. (That was a futile attempt at some corny theological humor.)

    • Ha! John Wesley on the other hand thought that he had arrived at sinlessness, but I bet if you asked his wife whom he almost never saw and didn’t get along with, she would not have concurred!

    • Darren Gruett

      David, that is so right. Ben forgot to include that in his article, that one of the reasons a man needs to get married is so that he does not forget that he is a sinner.

    • Unless Dr. Ben’s wife is actually Wesleyan Holiness – then she could be sinless. That might explain a lot, actually. :)

  7. Darren Gruett

    I think there are certainly missional aspects to marriage. The idea of being yoked together for a common purpose is not at all unbiblical. However, to stop there is to miss the point, which I think this article draws out very well.
     
    God is inherently relational. This is seen in His very triune nature, that the Father, Son, and Spirit are in eternal relationship with one another in a way that no man will ever fully understand. But we can get a glimpse of that intimacy in marriage. God wants to have a relationship with us, and through Him, He wants us to be in relationship with one another.
     
    As a side, one of the reasons there is no marriage in heaven is because it is inferior to the level of intimacy that we will experience in heaven. A boyfriend and girlfriend do not want to go back to being friends, because being friends is less intimate. A husband and wife do not want to go back to being boyfriend and girlfriend because that is less intimate than being a married couple. And everyone in heaven will not desire marriage because it will be less intimate than the relationship we will have with God and one another when we are there.
     
    It is that intimacy that God wants to have with us, and which He wants us to experience with one another.
     
    Therefore, if we understand marriage from God’s point of view, we will come to understand that the intimacy of marriage is a shadow of the intimacy that God wants to have with us. This is seen throughout the Bible.
     
    The imagery of Israel’s unfaithfulness to God is graphic in the OT, likening her to a harlot for running after idols again and again. God even used Hosea and his marriage to demonstrate in a real way what she was doing. God’s heart was grieved for her, not because Israel had failed in some mission, but because she had broken her covenant with God.
     
    But then in the NT we have this beautiful picture of the restoration of that broken relationship. The book of Revelation just brings this to light so well, that one day the Church is going to marry the Lamb, Christ; and they will live in perfect harmony, faithfulness, joy, and peace forever and ever. We will be inseparably one, as Christ prayed, and eternally happy.

    • Thanks, Darren. Love your theological ruminations, which is not just theory but our ultimate reality. I would have to say that, from knowing you during my days at the Chicago center prior to 2008, I never knew that you’re theologically inclined. Do keep posting. Surely, your life of serving God’s flock at NE as a fellowship leader is enriched by it.

    • Darren Gruett

      I was not always this way, but over time, I have come to see the incredible value of it. To me, none of it is theory. Right thinking about God and His Word is highly applicable, because it produces right behavior.

    • Yeah, Darren, I think I overcome my own deeply ingrained “anti-intellectualism” over the last few years as well. I realize that “knowledge puffs up” (1 Cor 8:1) does not at all hint, suggest, mean or give direction that a Christian should not increase in knowledge, or that one who increases in knowledge will decrease in loving others, as is sadly often implied by those who quote this text completely out of context!

  8. I dont know Dr. Ben, I think that a case could be made that SINGLENESS is more suitable for mission based on 1corinthians 7:32-35, “I would like you to be free from concern. An unmarried man is concerned about the Lord’s affairs—how he can please the Lord. But a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world—how he can please his wife— and his interests are divided. An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord’s affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world—how she can please her husband. I am saying this for your own good, not to restrict you, but that you may live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord.”

    That being said, nothing is wrong with married people being missionaries or serving in Christ’s world “mission” together, but I just think that marriage is PRIMARILY a gift from God to us so that we would not be lonely and also type or shadow of our relationship with Christ as His bride. And He uses marriage as a tool for sanctification and preparation for the Kingdom of Heaven.

    • Darren Gruett

      I forgot to add the “sanctification” piece in my response. I think that is a crucial aspect of marriage. It is like the Israelites in the wilderness. Everything they went through was a test, to help refine them so they would be the kind of people they needed to be when they got to the Promised Land. The point was not about where they stopped each night, or how long they were there, or what the water was like, or any of those things. It was about where they were going. Is that not true of us?
       
      One of the things that grieves me whenever I argue with my wife is that often times I cause her to stumble by making her angry. And I do not want to do that. I want to make sure that her treasure in heaven is abundant, that she has a great eternity based on how she is now. I can help her or hinder in that endeavor. I think she would say the same about me too

    • Yeah man, I would have never known the depths of my own sin (and in some ways I still dont) unless I married Amy! I really have to praise God for her because had we not married, I could have gone the rest of my life thinking I was a pretty good Christian! Wow what a surprise I got! But I sincerely hope that I have grown a little in the last 4 years… 

    • Darren Gruett

      I echo that sentiment as well, for I also thought I was a pretty good person before marriage, that I was patient and kind and tolerant. But marriage has exploited all of my weaknesses, even weaknesses I did not know that I had.

  9. “Would you teach marriage as covenant keeping and commitment to Christ?”

    Indeed! This is what I tried to get across during the UBF discussion on pre-marital sex. Sorry if I weirded you or the other parents with my topic. My point was to emphasize that if marriage is akin to the way Christ loves us, then there are certain principles that follow which can guide our view of human sexuality. For me these include marriage being for the purpose of creating life through Love just as Christ creates life in us through his Love. It means giving yourself completely to your spouse in the marital embrace just as Christ gave himself completely when he died on the cross. It means remaining faithful to your spouse just as Christ is faithful to us. It means forbidding divorce of a legitimate marriage since Christ would never divorce us. I guess my spirit is very much moved by John Paul’s theology of the body. Particularly his ability to carry an analogy to its logical end. 

    Human sexual intimacy is such a powerful mystery. It is the vehicle of commitment, self giving and openness that metaphoricly and literally creates Life. I feel like more spiritual discussion of sexual intimacy is lacking from pulpits. 

    • Thanks, Gerardo. I must have missed this comment of yours earlier, probably due to my jet lag. (Sorry that I keep referring to it. I don’t think I am trying to get people’s sympathy. But then again…)

      Yes, I do remember your presentation at West Loop a couple of years back. I don’t think I was weirded out by it, at least not that I can remember. Yes, for sure, we need more frank, open discussions about sexuality. I always say that sex is not dirty. It never was. It is the context of sex that may strip sex of its beauty, majesty and mystery.

      I remember a title of a book I did not read which might allude to our topic of sexuality: http://www.desiringgod.org/resource-library/online-books/sex-and-the-supremacy-of-christ. It says, “The contributors to this unique volume invite you to both celebrate sex for what God made it to be and fight what sin has turned it into. Their hope is that this volume will help you orient your entire life and worldview—including your sex life and views on sexuality—around the glory of God in Christ.”

    • Darren Gruett

      Gerardo, I did not hear you speak, but I like this analogy. It is amazing to see how everything that God has given to us somehow points us back to Him.

    • Hi Darren,
      If you want to hear more about this and get an exciting introduction to the theology of the body, check out this talk: http://www.catholicity.com/cds/downloads/marriage/ebb58299052f/

      Be warned though, it is giving from a Catholic angle so watch out! =P  
       
       

    • Darren Gruett

      Thanks for the “warning,” Gerardo. If I get a chance I will check it out. I am sure it will be worthwhile.

    • Great Darren. Just make sure you keep your bible handy to ward of the Pope in case he tries to come in through your window as your listening to the talk. he he he. 
      I am actually listening to the talk all over again as we speak. I am always amazed at how powerful this concept is.  

  10. Thanks Dave, I hope this post doesn’t imply/suggest that being married as a Christian is better than being a single Christian. Because of the influence of Hollywood, we might think or feel that those with a good marriage are happier than single Christians. Many great Christians were single: John Stott who passed away recently at age 90;  Boenhoeffer, though engaged, was martyred by Hitler; David Brainard and Robert Murray M’Cheyne both died single at 29. Of course, Jesus and Paul were single, and were the 2 happiest men who ever lived in history!

    • Oh no, I just know myself and how I would have probably ended up as a single man, but Im sure that there are many far more mature people than me who are able to know themselves well, and mature in the faith well without a wife!

    • But singleness is definitely a gift just as much as the gift of a wife or husband

    • Personally, I thank God that God predestined and foreordained for me to receive the gracious gift of a gentle wife, rather than the “scary” gift of singleness! Oops, sorry for my Freudian Calvinistic slip…

    • LOL talk about  an oxymoron…A Freudian Calvinist! hahaha…thats like a vegitarian butcher

  11. Because she loves Jesus and me, I would have to insist that my wife is sinless, Wesleyan or otherwise. How else could she possibly have lived with me for 30 years without ever going AWOL!

  12. I added some pictures. I still can’t get over the ability to edit whenever I want to! Since I have been up since 3 am due to jet lag, what more fun stuff can I possibly do but add a honeymoon picture of my wife and I.

    • David Bychkov

      Nice!

    • Thanks, David. It’s somewhat embarrassing to include that picture, since I don’t look anything like that picture today, 30 years later! Not the hair (amount and color or lack of it!), the physique, the weight or the wrinkles! I only thank God daily that Jesus’ love for me never changes (Jer 31:3), and that my wife’s love for me has also not changed, which is nothing short of a supernatural miracle!

  13. Ben, thank you very much for your article. For me, it was a revelation when i heard for the first time Piper, Carson and Keller talking about the reality of the marriage covenant. And he said that the covenant is the foundation for love to grow and to be rekindled again and again and NOT the other round. The covenant is real because it is a reflection of God’s covenant with me when i became part of the body of Christ.

  14. Yeah, Henoch, Keller has repeatedly contrasted Religion with the Gospel. Religion says, “I obey, therefore I’m accepted by God.” The Gospel is the exact opposite: “God has already accepted me through Christ’s sacrifice, therefore I obey.”

    It is the same with the marriage covenant, I believe. Religion would say, “I must love my wife, then God will bless my marriage.” But the Gospel says, “God has already blessed my marriage through Christ, therefore I love my wife.” Though quite subtle, I think that it makes a world of difference.

    Experiencially, it is true for me. When I reflect upon the Cross and the depth of God’s love for me through Christ inspite of all my sins, then love for my wife and others spring forth, not from me, but by God’s transforming Grace in my heart.

    • Dr. Ben,
      Doesnt it seem like Tim Keller is making a straw man of “religion” in asserting that those are it’s claims? I think that centiment of religion is what someone who is not very knowledgeable of the Chrisitan faith might say but that is independent of accepting a religious identity. In fact, someone who would make such an assetion would probably not classify himself as following a religion but instead call himself “spiritual.”  I see Tim Kellers point, but I guess I disagree with his labeling system. I think we should not shy away from the traditional “religious” label that our society has stigmatized. What are your thoughts? 

    • hi Gerardo & Ben, i actually wasn’t thinking about the differences between gospel and religion here. For me, the novelty was that the covenant as such is a real thing. When a husband and a wife vow to be faithful to each other and to love each other until death parts them, it is not just empty words being exchanged. Rather, a covenant is being instated in the presence of witnesses and this covenant is publicly proclaimed as part of the wedding ceremony. From this day on, this covenant is a reality, which exists.

      So many people have the wrong notion that love is the foundation, which sustains the marriage covenant. But it is just the other way round: the covenant sustains the love relationship. Love comes and goes and feelings come and go whereas the covenant stays. Thus the covenant is the ground upon which husband and wife can fall in love, again and again.

    • Gerardo, When reading the Puritans, the word “religion” seems to be used synonymously with being a genuine Christian. Perhaps, today “religion” has a different connotation. It implies doing something good, in order to get something from God. So, I used to say, “Unless you repent, God will not bless you.” I don’t say it anymore, because it makes it seem as though you, rather than God, are in the driver’s seat “controlling” God’s blessing upon your life. I believe Keller uses Religion in this sense.

  15. Thanks, Gerardo. Keller exclusively uses the word “Religion” as a contrast to the “Gospel.”
     
    Cain was a very religious man. He believed in God. He made offerings to God (Gen 4:3). On the surface he was just like his younger brother Abel who also believed God and made offerings to God. But Cain didn’t understand the Gospel of God’s free grace, which can never be merited or earned.
     
    The older son in Luke 15:11-32 was surely more religious than the younger son who “took off.” But the younger son understood the Gospel and returned home, while the older son remained religious and recalcitrant. Though he “never left home,” he was never truly home.
     
    Sorry, if this comment sounds “preachy.” I know that preachiness “never works.” Yet, I often can’t help myself. Lord, have mercy!

    • FishEater

      So he is using religion to mean blind obedience for ulterior or selfish motives? 

  16. Hi FishEater, I would say that Keller suggests that in Religion “obedience,” blind or otherwise, is not in gratitude and thanksgiving for the gospel of God’s grace (Acts 20:24). Thus, Religion would be to obey to get something, while the Gospel would be to obey because you already got the Best Gift free of charge (Rom 8:32).

    • Amen Ben, like Gerstner says, the true Biblical teaching is: Faith—> Justification + Works. Liberalism’s teaching is: Works—> Justification – Faith. Antinomianism’s teaching is: Faith—> Justification – Works. And Romanism’s teaching is Faith + Works—> Justification. All that to say that I believe that the Scriptures agree with your last statement about the Gospel, our works come as a result of our being Born Again and not as the cause!

  17. Yeah, Dave. For Christians, all blessings this side of heaven, including our marriage, is nothing but God’s infinite mercy and grace to us. Even if some Christians might not be as happy as they wish, still it is God’s grace and mercy to give us a spouse, who really has to put up with us with what John Piper calls “highly annoying idiosyncrasies”! That has become a favorite phrase of my wife and I. That’s how odd we are, I guess. So by God’s help, we decided to “like” each other’s annoying idiosyncrasies.
     
    Nonetheless, I’ve always said that God had to send me half way round the world from Malaysia to Chicago in 1980, because there was only 1 woman in the whole world who could live with me and not leave me! This is nothing but pure undeserved unmerited Grace!

    • Darren Gruett

      I feel the same way about my marriage. I would never have been able to find my wife on my own, but through one trip to Venezuela I met her, and now, I cannot live without her.

  18. Darren, Thank and praise God, who has truly blessed UBF marriages over the last 50 years. This is surely nothing but the supernatural miraculous work of God, who gave Dr. Samuel Lee the boldness and courage and faith to bless so many marriages over the years, which has since been carried on by his disciples. I have to honestly say that without Dr. Lee’s prayer, authority and faith, it would be highly unlikely that I would have married my wife. For this, I am indebted to God who used Dr. Lee to help me to marry the person God chose for me.
     
    Our strength in marriage ultimately lies in trusting God alone (Ps 62:1), rather than in our spouse, or in a person’s recommendation. I pray that our UBF way of marriage does not become franchised or become a formality, thus losing it’s freshness. When something good becomes traditional or habitual, we inadvertently rely on the method, and lose the mystery, and then we judge everything else based on our past experiences.
     
    As long as we put the emphasis on God alone rather than on the person arranging the marriage, God will surely continue to bless our marriages in UBF.

  19. Darren,
    I remember reading a testimony you wrote about your engagement in a UBF newsletter several years ago.  I remember it was really beautiful and I think I may even have teared up a bit when I read it.  I’m still a brand new newlywed and just learning about marriage, and it’s encouraging (and amusing) to read the comments here. It would be interesting to read the wives’ perspectives as well. 

    • Thanks for your comments, Susan. Please do encourage the wives, who seem to be “blog shy,” to comment and add some feminine flavor and mystical mystery to this somewhat sadly male predominant website!

    • Darren Gruett

      Thanks for those kind words, Susan. My wife and I still have that newsletter, along with the one that featured our picture after we were married. I look at marriage the way I look at the B.C./A.D. calendar split. There was life before marriage, and life afterward. And the few years that I have been married have made such an impact upon me, that when I look back, I wonder how in the world I lived alone for so long.

  20. Hi Admin, I was wondering if I might be able to edit my comments on articles that were not written by me. Right now, I am able to edit my articles and also comments on my articles, but not able to edit my comments on the articles of others. I ask this because I was trying to edit a typo on a recent comment on an article not written by me, but could not do it.

    • David Bychkov

      I also really need to can do it, and can’t.

    • Ben/David: That is a feature lacking in WordPress. We are looking into some options.

  21. I happened to read about Pat Robertson’s latest cringe-inducing statement that a man should divorce his wife suffering with Alzheimer’s disease and “start all over again” if he is lonely and in need of companionship. When asked about the vow “to death due us part,” Robertson responded that “if you respect that vow,” then Alzheimer’s can be viewed as “a kind of a death.” Unbelievable!

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