An Ideal Marriage
Most would agree that one's wedding day is among the most important days in all of life. I have fond memories of our wedding day. My lovely bride, Ranae, and her family desired a beautiful wedding with many guests, and that is exactly what we had. Things went according to plan for the most part--we had an ideal wedding. And thankfully, I can confidently say today, nearly five years later, that it was not just the wedding ceremony that was ideal. I believe we have an ideal marriage.

Unfortunately, an ideal marriage is something many folks only dream about. It is tragic that approximately half of all marriages in America will end in divorce. Every day people break their word and abandon their vows of a lifelong relationship. Families are splintered and innocent children often suffer the most.

With Ranae and I, as with most married couples, some days are better than others in the marriage relationship. Occasionally we will argue or get aggravated with each other. However, the vast majority of our time together is filled with peace, joy, and love. We are happy to be together and are trying to help each other be faithful to God. Although no one can predict the future, we both feel confident that our relationship will not end until one of us passes away.

If you were to ask me how we came to have such a blessed marital life, I would cite a couple critical components. First, we were both reared in Christian homes, and we consequently developed strong faith in the Lord. Much credit should be given to our parents in this regard, and for the wonderful examples they set for us. Second, because of our faith, we have always striven to life by the book--that is, the Bible. We have, to the best of our ability, patterned our marriage after the divine model (and other applicable principles found within the Scriptures). What divine model, Stephen? The one contained in Genesis 2:24 - "Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh." There is a great deal of depth to this verse that could be summarized with three simple words: leave, cleave, and weave. Let me elaborate upon each briefly.

First, in an ideal marriage, the newlyweds must come out from among their respective families and create a new family unit. Some marriages are ruined by meddling in-laws who overstep their authority by trying to run their child's marriage. Of course, this cannot happen unless the newlyweds allow it. When one marries, he or she no longer answers to Mom and Dad. That aspect of the child-parent relationship must be left behind when one marries. That is not to say that the couple should not continue to respect their parents, and it is not to say that they must move hundreds of miles away to achieve autonomy. But, it does mean that they should have plans to live on their own, not with their parents, and they should establish their own household and life together.

Second, in an ideal marriage, the couple must be strongly joined together. Their love for each other should motivate them to leave father and mother and also to cling or cleave to one another. Husband and wife must depend upon each other and cultivate a strong bond of trust. They ought to be united together as the closest of friends. No one, except God, should ever be allowed to come between their bond of love and commitment to each other.

Third, in an ideal marriage, the husband and wife must become one flesh. This certainly includes the notion of sexual intimacy, but it is more than that. The couple must work to blend or weave their two lives together into one. This sort of unity is only possible if the couple first leaves the authority of their parents and are both committed to clinging to each other in matrimony until death separates them.

Friends, do you have an ideal marriage? Have you established your own family life? Do you convey your love and commitment to your spouse? Are you laboring to blend your lives together? Having an ideal marriage is not a simple task, but it is achievable when both husband and wife are willing to selflessly conform to the divine model found in God's word.