Marriage: Lay Your Life Down

So when I lose my way, find me
When I loose love’s chains, bind me
At the end of all my faith, till the end of all my days
When I forget my name, remind me

So intones Andrew Peterson from his 2010 song “Dancing in the Minefields”

Select lyrics:

And we’re dancing in the minefields
We’re sailing in the storm
This is harder than we dreamed
But I believe that’s what the promise is for

So when I lose my way, find me
When I loose love’s chains, bind me
At the end of all my faith, till the end of all my days
When I forget my name, remind me

‘Cause we bear the light of the Son of Man
So there’s nothing left to fear
So I’ll walk with you in the shadowlands
Till the shadows disappear

‘Cause he promised not to leave us
And his promises are true
So in the face of all this chaos, baby,
I can dance with you

Marriage: Light. Hurt. Healing

wendellberry2From Wendell Berry’s New Collected Poems (2013) entitled “Marriage (to Tanya)” p. 81. Beautiful wording to ponder!

How hard it is for me, who live
in the excitement of women
and have the desire for them
in my mouth like salt. Yet
you have taken me and quieted me.
You have been such light to me
that other women have been
your shadows. You come near me
with the nearness of sleep.
And yet I am not quiet.
It is to be broken. It is to be
torn open. It is not to be
reached and come to rest in
ever. I turn against you,
I break from you, I turn to you.
We hurt, and are hurt,
and have each other for healing.
It is healing. It is never whole.

Counseling Cohabiting Couples


Cohabitation needs to be addressed boldly yet graciously… Always turn to Scripture when discussing cohabitation with couples. When we don’t, they feel we are offering our opinion, which they can choose to disagree with. When counseling cohabiting couples, focus on two key areas…

The link to “Counseling Cohabitating Couples” at The Resurgence has been removed. The original article has been copied below via internet cache.

Cohabitation is increasing and becoming more widely accepted as an alternative to marriage, with the result that marriage is being delayed or disregarded altogether. Cohabitation is here to stay. How do we counsel those for whom cohabitation is the expected norm?

If you are a pastor, counselor, or church leader, you will increasingly encounter unmarried couples who are living together.

Many cohabiting couples are not actively part of a church community. They might attend church service, but have minimal involvement outside of that. Counseling such couples is an important opportunity to help get them involved in church community and service. As they begin to make friends and receive support in preparing for life and marriage now, it prepares them for helping others in the future.

Counsel each couple on an individual basis instead of trying a one-size-fits-all approach. All cohabiting couples have unique situations they are facing. However, most will fall into one of three general categories:

1. Willful couples care little about what pastors say because they have a low view of Scripture and the authority of the church. They usually claim to be Christians and will tell us their Christian parents and friends are fine with their lifestyle. They often ask to be shown a verse that says they can’t live together. They need to be taught about God’s design for marriage in Scripture.

2. Stuck couples know it is sinful and wrong to be living together, but feel trapped and ashamed. Most of these couples want to make changes, but need support, encouragement, and a plan to act upon.

3. Unaware couples have never heard the biblical view and once they do, they want to change. They are soft to Scripture and want to be led. They are quite often either not yet Christians or very young in the faith. Often they are in difficult living situations in which separation won’t be helpful or practical (for example, they own a house together, are raising kids together, or are new to the city with no family or friends). They need prayerful help crafting a plan, ongoing counseling, and care from the church.

A biblical approach

As church leaders, it is easy to fall into one of two extremes. We either ignore the fact that couples are living together and do nothing, or we heavy-handedly refuse to serve them at all, imposing rules upon them that don’t lead to conviction or changed hearts. We must fight the temptation of these extremes and instead stay on the road of grace and truth. Continue reading

British Marriage Equality and Marriage Without Sex


From The Telegraph:

…Lobbyists naturally believed that all you had to do to allow gay marriage was to extend to same-sex couples exactly the same law as applied to existing, heterosexual marriages.

Too late, they discovered, this cannot be done. Civil servants, confronted with the embarrassing task of working out what defined the consummation of a homosexual relationship, faltered. Since homosexual acts have no existential purpose and no procreative result, consummation is a meaningless concept. From this it followed that the Government could come up with no definition of adultery in a homosexual marriage. A law designed to be equal, is not. Under the Bill, non-consummation will not be grounds for divorce in same-sex marriage. Nor will adultery.

By accident, then, the Government is introducing, for the first time, a definition of marriage which has no sexual element. Yet it refuses to face the logical consequence of this surprising innovation. If sexual intercourse is not part of the definition of same-sex marriage, why should blamelessly cohabiting sisters not marry one another in order to avoid inheritance tax? Why should father not marry son? Why shouldn’t heterosexual bachelor chum marry heterosexual bachelor chum? What, come to think about it, is so great about the idea of monogamy, once sex and children are removed from the equation? Does the word “marriage” any longer contain much meaning?

And if Equality is the highest of all moral aims, how can the Government possibly justify not extending the gay right to a civil partnership to heterosexual couples who, at present, have no such privilege? If this Bill becomes law, all these matters will be litigated over, right up to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. Against such outcomes, as he painfully well knows, Mr Cameron can make no provision.

Possibly the House of Commons, where mere politics reigns and virtually no time has been permitted for debate on the Bill, will fail to think through these issues, although revolt is growing. But precision and fairness in framing our laws are subjects in which the House of Lords rightly claims a key role. The Government faces trouble there. Continue reading

According to Pew Research, Millenials misunderstand relation to marriage and parenting

2011-milliennials-marriage-16For Millennials, Parenthood Trumps Marriage

When it says further down “Most Millenials Want Both,” caveat lector: I assumed it meant most millenials want a good marriage and good parenting. That’s not what it says. While they want both marriage and parenting, the overall premise that parenting is more important than marriage is emphasized throughout the research.

Read the whole thing here.

How Does Sarah, Submissive Obedience, and Fear Fit?

Have you ever done this? A wife wants counseling on dealing with a frustration she has with her husband. I Peter 3 brings God’s truth to godly wives (dealing with unbelieving husbands), encouraging them to trust God by submitting, adorning their hearts with righteous beauty, and to act as Sarah’s spiritual daughters. I’ve often thought of Sarah as a fantastic example of this, what with Abraham’s penchant for dropping her off in various royal harems (cf. Genesis 12 and 20). It turns out, most commentators see it this way too: Sarah shows remarkable faith and fearlessness in the face of Abraham’s abdicating husbandry.

But as we’re preaching through the Abraham toledot in our Lord’s Day sermons, I was struck by the fact that Genesis 18 is the only place Sarah refers to Abraham as her “lord” (Hebrew: adon, Greek: kurios). What is more, Peter exhorts godly wives to “not fear anything that is frightening” (I Peter 3:6). Sure enough, the only time we’re ever told Sarah feared something is also in Genesis 18. The links are striking, and even Proverbs 3 comes into play. The following chart helps to lay it out (ESV and LXX below):

Genesis 18:12, 15 I Peter 3:6 Proverbs 3:25
So Sarah laughed to herself, saying, “After I am worn out, and my lord (κύρίος μου) is old, shall I have pleasure?” as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord (κύριον).  
But Sarah denied it, saying, “I did not laugh,” for she was afraid (ἐφοβἡθη). do good and do not fear anything that is frightening (μὴ φοβούμεναι μηδεμίαν πτόησιν). Do not be afraid of sudden terror (οὐ φοβἡθησῃ πτόησιν) or of the ruin of the wicked, when it comes

Continue reading

Tim Keller on How Satisfaction with Jesus Fuels Marriage


“The simple fact is that only if I love Jesus more than my wife will I be able to serve her needs ahead of my own. Only if my emotional tank is filled with love from God will I be able to be patient, faithful, tender, and open with my wife when things are not going well in life or in the relationship. And the more joy I get from my relationship with Christ, the more I can share that joy with my wife and family.”

The Meaning of Marriage, p. 124
(HT: Alex Leung)