“So, they are no longer two, but one.” (Mt. 19:6)
These are Jesus’ words spoken to some Pharisees who were trying to test him about whether divorce was permissible. Jesus responded, “Haven’t you read that at the beginning the Creator made them ‘male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore, what God has joined together, let man not separate.’” (Mt. 19:4-6; Gen. 2:24)
My wife, Marilynn and I celebrated our 56th wedding anniversary on Saturday. We were married back in a day when a simple brunch for family following mass was an adequate celebration and five dollars was a sufficient gift.
I once heard a speaker say that the bringing together of two separate and independent wills and making them one is surely an act of God’s grace, for how else could it be sustained. Only God’s grace can transform the self-focus inherent in most individuals, to the love and care for the other marriage partner and his or her welfare.
But as Genesis indicates, marriage is part of God’s plan for his creation. “Male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and rule over it.’” He placed them in the Garden of Eden “to work and take care of it.” (Genesis 1:27-28; 2:15) It only follows that God would bless and have a special grace for people who are attempting to carry out his will and plan for creation.
Still, we live our lives in the world and the flesh with the enemy of God always at work in attempting to detract us from God’s will and plan. We learn from Jesus that his call to follow him in pursuit of the Father entails an ever increasing dying to self in order to love and serve him, our marriage partner, our children and all the other people God puts in our lives.
Like all marriages, we have experienced both blessings and challenges, but we believe the blessings have outnumbered the challenges.
As we reflected on year fifty-six, we concluded that our love for one another has grown deeper over the years – so many memories – working together in our challenges – sharing in our blessings.
“Teach me, Lord, your way, that I may walk in your truth, single-hearted and revering your name.” (Psalm 86:11)