[Jesus said], “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh’? Matthew 19:4-5
God is the source of many wonderful blessings, not the least of which is the blessing of marriage. In marriage, men and women express their love and desire for one another and share the intimate relationship of sexuality. Sexuality and desire shared in marriage is meant to enhance, build and support those living within the framework established by God. This expression of love is a wonderful gift from God and therefore we should strive to follow the commandment concerning marriage and sexual relationships; “You shall not commit adultery” (Exodus 20:14).
The sixth commandment is a frame work on which to build a loving relationship with a spouse, to enjoy all of the beauty of intimacy and love. As a man and woman stand before the Christian community and exchange marriage vows, they promise one another a lifetime of love and desire for each other. In celebration of the couple’s love, the community promises to love, honor and support the newly wed couple as they begin a new life as one flesh. Yet, in the world there is much sexual trouble. There is great temptation to satisfy urges brought on by sin and brokenness. The world seems bent on reordering human sexuality to suit its own purpose.
All too often people are wounded and broken because of misplaced sexual desire. Many marriages end in divorce due to men and women being unfaithful to their spouse. All too often people forget that human sexuality is a blessing and a gift from God and not of human origin. Still, God comes to repentant sinners and through Christ heals the woundedness of adultery. Even in the brokenness of divorce, there is mercy and grace. As we contemplate the commandment concerning adultery, we would do well to recall a statement from theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer:
“Marriage is more than your love for each other. It has a higher dignity and power, for it is God’s holy ordinance, through which he wills to perpetuate the human race till the end of time. In your love you see only your two selves in the world, but in marriage you are a link in the chain of the generations, which God causes to come and to pass away to his glory, and calls into his kingdom. In your love you see only the heaven of your own happiness, but in marriage you are placed at a post of responsibility towards the world and mankind. Your love is your own private possession, but marriage is more than something personal—it is a status and office… Love comes from you, but marriage from above, from God. As high as God is above man, so high are the sanctity, the rights and the promise of love. It is not your love that sustains the marriage, but from now on, the marriage that sustains your love.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Letters and Papers from Prison
Father God, we thank you for the blessing of marriage. Help us to support those living in such relationships, that they may remain faithful in love and fidelity toward one another. Amen.