Jump Start # 2702
Matthew 19:6 “So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.”
It’s been a while since I wrote about marriage in our Jump Starts. This upcoming weekend is an anniversary for us. It’s a big one—forty years. That’s a long time. I know many who have been married fifty, some sixty years. Few of us drive forty year old cars. I hope we still don’t have forty year old clothes hanging in our closets. Our TVs have changed in forty years. Our phones have changed in forty years. But some things that really matter remain the same, such as faith, dedication, trust, love and marriage.
Our verse today comes from the exchange Jesus had with the Pharisees. The topic was marriage, but that wasn’t the point. They were set to trick and trap Jesus. They asked a loaded question that they believed even He couldn’t answer correctly. It was about divorce. Jesus centered the discussion around the purpose of marriage. He saw through their traps. God has joined, don’t unjoin that.
For years and years the report was that more than 50% of marriages ended in divorce. I don’t know what the current stats are. But even with that, a large percentage of marriages were staying together. Why do some marriages make it and some don’t? Many factors from expectations, whether or not God was included in the marriage, sin, influences, the in-laws, money, kids, keeping promises. There is not one simple answer.
But in our passage today, we find a key word that has a lot to do with whether or not a marriage makes it. It is the word “let.” Let no man separate is what Jesus said. Let means allow. Let involves us. Let is about us. Let is a choice. Let is about what we let.
In a wonderful way, Jesus is telling us to protect our marriages. Put up a fence and don’t let the bad stuff in. Keep out the things that will hurt the marriage. We understand this concept with our front doors to where we live. We shut them. We keep things out. There are certain people, animals and things that we do not want coming through that front door. Most keep that door locked, especially at night. You do this to protect your family and to protect yourself. Without that door, anyone and anything could come in, and that would be bad. Imagine waking up in the middle of the night to see a raccoon starring at you or bats flying around the ceiling or a skunk who has made his way under your bed. Imagine all the rain that could come in or the dust, leaves and bugs that would be in your house. You have a door and it allows you to let in what you want. The same must be true of our marriages. Jesus said “let no man separate.”
Here are some things that we need to keep out of our marriage:
First, negative attitudes and harsh words. The world is full of that. Political ads are full of that. Work can be like that. Friends can be like that. Shut that door and don’t let those things in. So, having spent an entire day with negative and complaining people, drop all of that before you walk through the door of your home. Keep it out. Don’t let that come in. When we are negative, we tend to become touchy. Everything bothers us. Nothing is right. All we see are problems. And, then the river of harsh words begins to flow. That’s not the way to keep your marriage going. It doesn’t take too much of that for a person to want to get out and find some peace and quiet. A person needs encouragement, hope and love. Don’t let those things in.
Second, things that take us away from the Lord. We need to be as close to the Lord as we can be. You can’t get too close to Him. There are things that pull us away from Him. Our friends can. We may have a good time with them, but little by little we let them pull us away from the Lord. Less talk about Jesus and more talk about unimportant stuff. More worldliness. More materialism. More pushing the limits of what I find acceptable. Can’t let that happen. Can’t allow friendships to ruin your relationship with the Lord. Given the choice, the friends have to go. Don’t let them destroy what you have in Jesus. Wonderful worship. Amazing fellowship. Powerful faith. Engagement in the kingdom. A destination that is in Heaven. That’s what a disciple has. You want to keep those things inside and those that don’t appreciate that on the outside.
Third, other people who do not need to know what goes on within your house. Some things belong just between a husband and wife. And, when we share with others our issues, disappointments, secrets you are letting someone come in between you and your spouse. This includes parents—in-laws and outlaws. As parents, we got to let our grown children live their lives. Unless they are doing something that will keep them from Heaven, we must allow them to do things that we would never do. Too many of us want to continue to parent our children even though they are married and have their own children. Can’t do that. Don’t let that happen. Shut that door and keep somethings inside and other things outside.
Your marriage will experience the roller coaster journey of life. There will be exciting moments such as the birth of children and grandchildren. There will be some real lows such as financial troubles and deaths. But as long as that roller coaster car stays on the tracks it will reach it’s destination. The problems come when it jumps the tracks and we crash.
Your marriage will be what you make it. It can be close, fun and beneficial to both of you. It can be one of the greatest spiritual blessings and helps to Heaven. Or, your marriage can be a nightmare that never ends. It’s the way you make it. It’s what you have “let” happen to it. Marriage is a journey. Some steps are easy and no big deal. Some are hard. But if you both continue to walk with the Lord, it will be an amazing trip, full of memories and times you have helped others.
It begins with what you let into your home, your heart and your marriage.