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Healthy Relationships
Marriage - Horizontal Perspective

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In order to fulfill the Covenant of Marriage between a man and a woman, the principles stated in the Bible apply specifically to a marriage in which both partners are united through their faith in Christ. The sacrifice of Jesus Christ upon the cross is the sacrifice through which, by faith, a groom and a bride can pass into the relationship of marriage as God Himself ordained that it should be.

Just as in the Old Covenant parties of a covenant with God passed through the pieces of the slain animals, we can pass through the death of Christ on our behalf into a resurrected life and a resurrected relationship which would be impossible without the death of Christ. Therefore, the Covenant of Christian Marriage is always made at the foot of the Cross.

Three phases or requirements for this covenant are:

  1. Each lays down his life for the other. The husband looks back at the Cross and says: "That death was my death. When I came through the cross, I died Now I am no longer living for myself" The wife .also looks at the cross and says the same: "That death was my death. When I came through the cross, I died Now I am no longer living for myself" Now neither holds nothing back from the other. Everything the husband has is for the wife. Everything the wife has is for the husband No reservations, nothing held back. It is in essence a merger rather than a partnership.
  2. Out of that death springs forth new life. Each partner now lives out that new life in and through the other. The husband vows to the wife: "My life is in you. I am living out my life through you. You are the expression of what I am. " Likewise, the wife vows to the husband: "My life is in you. I am living out my life through you. You are anexpression of what I am. "
  3. Last, the covenant is consummated by physical union. This relationship in turn then brings forth fruit of righteousness. In the whole realm of living creatures, God has ordained this basic principle: Without union, there can be no fruit. In John 15: 4-5, Jesus states this principle: "Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself; unless is abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit, for without Me you can do nothing. " Therefore, Covenant leads to shared life and fruitfulness; life that is not shared remains sterile and fruitless.

Does this fit your theology?

This approach to marriage, which sees it in terms of a Covenant, is very different from the attitude with which most people today enter into marriage. Basically, today most people enter into marriage to get their needs met. A man falls "in love" through his eyes, a woman through her ears. Questions are posed by the prospective couple such as: "What can I get? What is there in this for me? How much does he/she make? What is their family background?" The relationships that are approached with this attitude are doomed to end in failure.

The one who approaches marriage as a covenant does not ask what they can get but rather: "What can I give?" And that one goes on to answer the question with his own question: "I give my life. I lay it down for you, and then I find my new life in you." This applies equally to both partners. To our natural minds, this sounds ridiculous. However, Paul tells us in Ephesians 5:32 that marriage is a mystery and is a type of the Church and Christ. This is the secret of real life, real happiness, and real love. In this resurrected relationship, each party has a special contribution to make to the other , that no other human can do.

If you will notice in all scripture in the New Covenant, the writers always begin with the responsibility of the wife. This is true whether spoken through a married man such as Peter or an unmarried man such as Paul. It would seem then that the wife is the pivot on the horizontal perspective which the whole relationship turns. Unless she does her part, there is no way that the husband on his own can make the relationship work.

Added to web site 11/4/02