Marriage Like Legos
Previously, we looked at the spiritual and physical aspects to marriage, and how it relates to God’s relationship to His people (here). This led us to the covenant of marriage being objective. But what does it mean for something to be objective? And if the marriage covenant is this way, is it also true for God’s Covenant with us?
First, the word objective itself means that something exists outside of the mind. It exists in the real world. Applying this word to our modern ideas of marriage might be difficult.
Generally in this day and age, we don’t think a whole lot about the idea of marriage. There are two people who take vows before some witnesses, then there is a party and a honeymoon, and that’s about it. Our society views these vows as temporary if we “fall out of love” or experience hardship. Parting at death is rarely reached, even within the Church.
One of the big problems is that we don’t see marriage as objective. The marriage only exists inside the heads, or more likely, feelings of the individuals who are married. Divorce is a common occurrence because there is nothing outside of themselves holding them to their vows. A marriage is like the stacking of two Lego bricks. They can be put together to build something, but can just as easily be taken apart and put with different pieces. This is generally how we treat marriage.
Except reality is much different. Divorces are dirty, heartbreaking affairs that deeply affect those involved. And those involved are never limited to just the two who took the vows. Two families have come together, and are now being split apart. People who were changed by the marriage will also be changed by the divorce.
Most heartbreaking is whenever there are children involved. A child’s life is forever changed when a family splits. My wife, for example, was a part of a family that went through the tragedy of divorce at a young age. It took years for her to even come to grips with her situation, and after we met, years of breaking down walls of trust that would allow a Biblical marriage to work. And we are in no way through the woods.
Divorce is a common event these days, and the breaking of a marriage covenant in no way only affects the two divorcees.
This is all to say that it is not hard to figure out how we can start seeing marriage as objective, existing outside of the two taking vows. And this is just on a surface level. Most who enter into a marriage Covenant never even realize that the traditions and events practiced within a marriage ceremony have deeper meanings than at first glance.
The rings that are exchanged at the wedding are meant to be a visible and physical reminder to themselves and others of their vows, and the objective covenant they have entered into. A man’s actions towards women who are not his wife have a direct effect on his relationship to her, and vice versa, because the marriage does not just exist inside his head. He has entered into something greater than himself.
You often see in TV shows or movies that when a man sees another woman and is planning on breaking his marriage vows, he takes off his wedding ring. A wedding ring is a physical manifestation of an objective Covenant that warns other people outside of the married couple that the people are “off the market”. The man hides the visible in order to break the invisible.
And now, as the marriage covenant within society erode more and more, we see that we cannot rely just on tradition, but are forced back to the creator of marriage Himself. We will see next how the idea of marital objectivity has come directly from Biblical objectivity, and how we need to go back to the Scriptures if we want to rebuild what has been torn down.