Let’s start at the beginning! The vows. Or another way of putting it: The lies.
You just became a little worried about me, didn’t you? Don’t worry, just because I may have seen Twilight once or twice and have now [accidentally] died my hair black, it doesn’t mean I’ve turned into a sulky, depressed pessimist. I can explain…
When I was in Bible College, I had to read a book on marriage for a Church Leadership course. I cannot remember the name of the book, and I have no idea where it is. It was by a guy named Mike Mason, and I did not enjoy it. I remember it being a little too ‘fluffy’ for me. I think it was the analogy of marriage being like two eagles floating in the sky that turned me off. But there was one particular view of Mason’s that has always stuck with me. He basically said that unless our relationships are built on Christ, when we stand at an altar reciting vows to our spouse-to-be, we are making empty promises. No one could ever love another person as fully and as extravagantly as we claim to in our marital vows. Yes, we may have all those intentions of self-less, extravagant love, but the reality is that it’s impossible.
I always think of it like the Old Testament Law. Like Paul says in Galatians, the purpose of the Law was to lead us to Christ. If we try to attain righteousness solely by obeying Law, then we are under the law’s curse when we come up short. The Law reveals to us the fact that we are failures, it also illuminates the path to Christ, our Fullness of Salvation. This is one of my favourite elements of Israel’s history and our own salvation story. God says to Israel, “I want you to try to live up to this standard I have given you, so that when you fail, and you will fail, you will see how much you need my Son.” It was all a big set up for the New Covenant. Love that.
The vows I made to Chris sort of act like the Law in our marriage. They serve to show me how desperate I am, or should be, for Christ in our marriage. I come up short time and time again in how I love my husband. I’m not going to write out a list of all my flaws as a wife. Just trust me, they exist. Likewise, I’m sure that flaws exist in all of your marriages. Please don’t be offended by my assumption, I just happen to know that most of you are human. Here are some of the things I vowed to Chris:
…to stay by your side as your devoted wife in sickness* and in health, in joy and sorrow, through the good times and bad… to love you without reservation, honor and respect you…. encourage you to achieve your goals… laugh with you, cry with you, and cherish you both now and forever.
(*Was this supposed to mean when’s he’s sick or when I am sick? Because, to tell you the truth, when I am sick I do a lot less loving and lot more whining…)
As good as my intentions are to love my husband that extravagantly and perfectly, it’s only Christ in me who loves Chris the way I promised to.
So think about your vows today! And think about how much more powerful and true they are because Christ is in your life and your marriage! And if He’s not, then give Him some consideration. On the other hand, if you believe that you are doing just fine carrying out your vows all on your own, remember that in the New Testament there were some people who believed they were doing just fine following the Law on their own.
Yep, maybe I’m taking that analogy a little far…