Is God At The Center Of Your Marriage?
Isaac brought her into the tent of his mother Sarah, and he married Rebekah. So she became his wife, and he loved her; and Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death. Genesis 24:67
One of the most beautiful structures in the world, the Notre Dame Cathedral, stands on the banks of the Seine River in the heart of modern Paris. This beautiful building dating from the Middle Ages gains elegance and uniqueness partially from the lovely flying buttresses or arches which gracefully support the walls.
In the Middle Ages when the cathedral was built, architects faced a problem of how to support those gothic arches and high ceilings. That, of course, was before the days of steel arches or pre-fabricated walls. Stone and ingenuity were the raw materials for the construction of those magnificent buildings, and the problem of support was neatly solved by supporting the outer walls with graceful arches which came to be known as flying buttresses.
More than once I have thought of our homes and the flying buttresses of the traditional supports that keep the walls from collapsing. Like the beautiful cathedrals which span the centuries of time, marriage stems from a beautiful tradition instituted by God Himself, and what may have taken a very long time to build can be destroyed in such a very short time.
Just as certainly, marriage has some buttresses, principles which, like the flying buttresses of old, can keep the walls of your home from collapsing under the pressures of life in the twenty-first century.
This first and most important buttress in keeping the walls of a home from collapse is a personal faith in God. Blaise Pascal, the French philosopher, used to talk about the God-shaped vacuum in every heart, that can be filled only by the Person of God’s Son. To those who will use them, God has given the resources of the Gospel as tools or means of solving the conflicts that often bring down the walls. This first buttress of our faith is one that protects our human relationships. It is much like a hand without, that holds the walls from collapse from within. Does your marriage have a better chance of making it when you attend church and share a common faith in God? Unquestionably! Faith in God is a powerful buttress against the ideologies, and even the selfishness, which destroy homes today.
Another buttress which supports the cathedral of your home is areas of mutual interest that you share together. This includes hobbies and recreation that you and your mate enjoy together. Very often when I counsel with a couple prior to their marriage, I ask, “What holds you together? What hobbies do you share? What kind of music do you like?”
Are those things important? Yes, they are–when people have nothing in common other than the fact that they say they cannot live without each other, I am wondering how long it might be until they decide that it takes more than romantic attachment or infatuation to keep a relationship alive year after year.
The third buttress to the cathedral of your home is that of mutual respect for each other as individuals. Years ago, Isaiah cried, “Woe to them that lay field to field and house to house!” He knew that man is so made that he needs some privacy and some time and space to be alone. This is rather hard in the fish-bowl type homes we often have, but even in the most crowded of conditions, we can still have respect for each other as individuals and honor each other’s privacy.
There is another buttress which I want to mention in closing. It is memories of the past which help balance the pressures of the present. “I cannot live in the past,” you might say, and you are right; but you cannot erase or replace those memories, either. Before you drop the bomb that may destroy your home, think carefully about some of those memories. They enrich our lives.
Resource reading: Genesis 24.