The Myths of Marriage

February 15, 2015 Pastor: Dustin Blumer Series: Him and Her

Topic: Default

Movies have really wrecked our view of marriage. Yes, movies I love watching them, they are like a best friend to me. But they have really done a poor job setting us up for the topic we are going to be discussing for the next few weeks. And maybe you know the one, the singular movie recently that is really destroying this notion of what God intended for marriage and relationships, a movie that is being promoted like all should go watch it, a movie that you may just want to determine now I’m not going to see it. That damaging movie is…got a picture. Cinderella. Yes they are remaking that Disney classic. What, is there another movie coming out with an unhealthy view of what God intends for marriage or relationships? Yes, on to the topic at hand Cinderella does not set us up for success at all when it comes to marriage. You know how the story goes. Mistreated Cinderella has to find a way to go to the ball, to meet a prince, and they have to get together, they just have to, because once they get together we know how the story ends. And they lived…happily ever after.
We just started talking about dating with our teen group, and last week we discussed something called the Right Person Myth. The right person myth goes like this, “If I marry the right person, everything will be alright.” So the real challenge of marriage is finding the right person. And now we have, Tinder, Facebook, all sorts of things to help us in the hunt for that right person.
But the reality singles, young people, any of you here today? We love you, we are glad you are here. The reality is that the marriage you will someday be in will be less like a Disney Movie and more like this (traffic jam). How am I doing at crushing the Romantic spirit of Valentines? For in marriage, you got merging lanes of interest, merging lanes of opinion, merging lanes of I want to, and you don’t know. And so sometimes there is anger, and yelling, and just let me pass and I should go first, no I should go first, make way. In fact sometimes, many times this happens. (picture of car dent). I bought a car less than two weeks old, and there wasn’t enough space in the parking lot I guess. Too tight and crash. It’s alright it’s just a thing. But it happens when to people come together. Crash. No one relented, and now we’re trying to figure out who’s at fault. And you say I’m sorry, no you say I’m sorry. Nobody wants to claim it fear of the rising cost of being wrong in the passed. And it’s… a mess. Welcome to our discussion on marriage.
Well I’ve been doing some research for this series. One book I read is the Meaning of Marriage, I highly recommend it for married or engaged couples. And they made the observation that some are wondering whether marriage is still a valid or worthy institution. Maybe you’ve noticed that people are getting married later and later in life. An interesting statistic is that 72% of American adults were married in 1960 and only 50% in 2008. (pew research center). And why giving up on marriage? Here’s an interesting take, “Paradoxically, it may be that the pessimism comes from a new kind of unrealistic idealism about marriage.” (pg 27) So we blame Disney once again.
But this isn’t the first generation to question the validity or goodness of marriage. In fact as we’re going to get into God’s Word here the disciples of Jesus even questioned the institution of marriage. They even pose in v.10. “If this is the situation (talking about getting out of marriage for any and every reason) between a husband and wife, it is better not to marry.” And again these aren’t the real evil people - these are the disciples walking with Jesus day in and day out.
But I’m hear happy and excited, giddy in fact I was this week because I know, I know what God can do. And so the goal for this series is, “To claim the goodness God intended in marriage.” Don’t give up on the idea single people, don’t give up on it married people. There’s a lot of good here. But what will not help us in getting there is buying into some of the myths out there for marriage. So we’re going to go down a few wrong paths, and consider the proper perspective. Ready to have some fun in these moments?
So let’s get into the real reason for hope and excitement, the Word of God recorded by Matthew. May God bless our discussion.
As we get into the first myth I wanted to test your ability analyze. Raise of hands how many would say they see the details or analyze what’s wrong. Like you’re sitting in your house and you know where the water spot or the stain or the ball of fur is and it drives you nuts. Doesn’t mean you clean it, but you see it. So this is an old exercise. You put to pictures next to each other to try to figure out the difference between them. Smurf - where he is looking, the extra flower, how much one flower is showing, globe - one has a branch, people walking, a tower, Marshawn Lynch - the difference is…a Super Bowl. But know you are able to spot the difference and what’s wrong with certain pictures.
So here’s also what I know. You are going to be able to spot what’s wrong with your spouse. You may not want to include that in your Valentine’s card, and I won’t ask you what it is, but it’s true - we know the unique quirks, kinks, and imperfects of our other half. In fact no one else on earth knows what is wrong with your spouse better than you do, and that is because in marriage you have this awesome thing were no one knows your spouse better than you. And while our culture’s promoting soulmates and singing about a beautiful soul, no one really is preparing you for the fact of what I’m going to tell you, “Your soulmates got a soiled soul.”
You get into the Bible and very clearly, “Indeed, there is no one on earth who is righteous, no one who does what is right and never sins.” (Ecc 7:20) That’s true of your spouse, and they will find what’s wrong with you.
In fact the whole experience kind of reminds me of an Old Testament story. Guy named Jacob was supposed to marry a women named Rachel. You hear this one? He goes through the marriage ceremony and that night, and in the morning he wakes up to find… Leah. Ahh, how did that happen. Who is this?! But I thought.
It can happen in marriages where it’s like the person I fell in love with is not the person I married. Ahh, who is this. And when that happens you know what you’re tempted to believe and maybe not tell anyone. Here’s the myth… “I chose wrong.”
I was reading the meaning of marriage and they were saying that no two people are compatible because of sin. And this quote was rather striking saying, “It fails to appreciate the fact that we always marry the wrong person….The primary problem is…learning how to love and care for the stranger to whom you find yourself married.” (Stanley Hauerwas)
So I’m here to tell you if you have ever thought that. You didn’t choose wrong. You didn’t. You just chose one imperfect option out of a whole host of other imperfect options. And trading one person’s soiled soul for another person’s soiled soul is not the answer.
And so what is the answer to this dilemma? v.6 Let no one and let nothing separate. v.9 Don’t divorce for any reason. Now there are reasons to divorce very simply adultery and desertion, included in desertion is physical abuse don’t stay in that situation. But to leave a marriage because your true soulmate is somewhere else? That’s Hollywood but it ain’t helpful. A marriage that is God-pleasing and that God can richly bless way beyond you can imagine is one that commits to loving the other even when the person seems like a stranger. It’s one that says through the ups and downs and everywhere in between I am in this to love you. Yes, love is committing to stay.
But there is more, and another myth made famous by a movie is this one. Can you fill in the blank? “You c______ me.” Can you complete this phrase? Yes, you complete me.
To talk about this I wanted to talk about an orange. Does anyone like oranges here today. Yeah, for me ripe fruit in general is good, but it only takes one unripened to wreck it for me. Well let’s say you approach this fine looking piece of fruit, and your plan is that this is all you are going to eat all day. And you are hoping to be satisfied. Now ripe orange or not that’s a lot to expect out of it. And if that is really your goal, this piece of fruit for the whole day. You may get to a point where you eat the rind. But we all know, an orange really wasn’t meant to satisfy you for the whole day. In fact it can’t. And setting yourself to believe it will, will leave you disappointed and well hungry.
You see where I’m going. Your spouse is awesome. So many good spouses. But that spouse is like the piece of fruit. The spouse is and was never meant to complete you, or to completely satisfy you. And if you’re going into marriage thinking they can fill up all your needs, you will wind up disappointed and still hungry for love. Great quote from the book said, “If I look to my marriage to fill the God-sized spiritual vacuum in my heart, I will not be in position to serve my spouse. Only God can fill a God-sized hole. Until God has the proper place in my life, I will always be complaining that my spouse is not loving me well enough, not respecting me enough, not supporting me enough.” (pg.73)
I’ve met so many incredible people, but all are an orange or at best a protein bar, and they were not made to fill up what only God can fill. So can I speak to you out of love. Here is the sin we need to stop doing. Stop trying to squeeze out of your spouse, what only God can satisfy. You are only gnawing on the rind. And it isn’t good. And you are crushing the other person. They can do a lot, but weren’t built to satisfy all your needs. And here is where an orange may be good. You’re doing this (squeeze until juice comes out). And the other person feels it. For that matter stop trying to squeeze your major satisfaction, the main meal, out of anyone. Don’t do it with your kids, co-workers. Anyone.
Because there is only one built to satisfy. It’s the one that 6 years ago we started preaching about, when we said his love is unlike any other, it’s bigger and better. There’s only one to be able to cover all your needs, physically, emotionally, spiritually. There’s only one who can make and keep the promise to always be there for you, and he doesn’t even sleep he is so available. There’s only one who completely understands you, for he knows your thoughts, and he became just like you. There’s only one who knows exactly what to give you, when you need it. It is the one who loved us not when we were strangers, but when we were enemies. And even when we were enemies, laid down his life on a cross so he could call us friend. This one is Jesus. He is the reason we are here, he is the power behind this place. He is the greatest love the world has ever known, and I don’t care what your spouse did for you on Valentine’s, big teddy bear, he did more. Lived each day for us, came for us, still watches over and guides us. And if you don’t call yourself a Christian you need to know before you loved him, he already loved you. He is calling you this day to see just how good life with him can be. And while you’re spouse can’t complete you, he can.
And I’m here honestly because I’ve seen a lot of movies about love, and yet I don’t know a greater love story. And I’ve loved and been loved by many people, but no one yet has or could love me as good as he. So Happy Valentines! And what should we do with such a love.
You know it reminds me of a story I saw on the news. On the today show, they came up with 36 questions to ask someone in order to grow close to them. They are such good questions they basically bond you together. Questions like “What is your most treasured memory?” or “For what in life do you feel most grateful.” And sharing on this level is again supposed to connect you. Well, we invest so much effort in getting to know one another - what if we invested that much into getting to know God?
Paul wrote this about his desire for other Christians, “I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ.” What if today you started a journey of love and said you know what. I’m going to go on a journey to see just how wide and how long and how high and how deep is God’s love really is. I’m going to invest in getting to know God. I’ll ask the questions and search out the answers in my Bible. I’ll spend time talking to him in prayer, ‘cause as in any relationship communication is key. I go on dates with him every single Sunday, ‘cause he is good. I’m going to keep his love notes close to my heart when I’m lonely, scared, or afraid.
And you know what I think might happen if we do this? We may start treating an orange, well like an orange. We don’t have to squeeze satisfaction and get filled up on anything else because he has filled us up. Man he is that good.
But before we leave can I consider in brief the final myth, and come back next week ‘cause that’s when we’re really going to answer this one. It can’t get any better. And here’s how I know this one is a lie.
Because I’ve been a part of this church. Because I’ve witnessed just what God can do with faithful commitments. When people say yes I’m going to do your will and follow your ways. Man watch out. Yes it was only 6 years ago that we held our first worship service at Hickory Creek Middle School. And look at the wonderful things God has brought about. Did it take work, yes. Did it change overnight, not really. Did God bless faithful efforts - you betchya. That’s what I know, what I’m convinced he can do in our marriages. Whether you’re at the lowest point, you really only got one way to go, whether you’re good, it can get better, whether you wonder if this is the pinnacle, nah, there’s more God can do.
Let no man, let nothing separate what God has brought together. Even two soulmates with soiled souls. For it was good even in a perfect garden when the Lord said man will leave his father and mother and be united, and the two will become one. Marriage isn’t perfect, but it can be super good. Do you believe it? Let me pray:
Lord, please forgive us once again for not being the spouses our spouse needed. Help us to be so filled up by your love that we look to love and serve one another. Continue to give us wisdom, strength, and guidance as we conduct our marriages. Bless all singles considering marriage, all spouses and all their children on this Valentine’s weekend. Give us strength to follow you knowing your ways are good. Amen.

More in Him and Her

March 8, 2015

A Vision for Marriage

March 1, 2015

The Single Life

February 22, 2015

The Power of Love