Manliness and the Marital Vow: -- By: Mark Liederbach
JBMW 9:2 (Fall 2004) p. 4
Manliness and the Marital Vow:
A Look At The Meaning Of Marriage And Its Implications For Men As They Enter Into The Covenant Of Marriage
Associate Professor of Christian Ethics, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary Wake Forest, North Carolina
There are two ways to keep a man from drowning in the river of marital divorce or despair: throw him a lifeline or go upstream and keep him from falling in. When it comes to the issue of marriage and divorce, there is an amazing amount of energy spent on rescue operations for those who are either in the stream of struggle or who have already divorced and are asking “where do I go from here.” Relatively speaking there are far fewer efforts to “go upstream and keep them from falling in.” Thus, the intent of this article is to focus energy on preventative action. As David Clark and Robert Rakestraw rightly comment, “the church must teach a positive and proactive theology of marriage. It must build a captivating vision of God’s will for marriage.” Only by doing so can one “be part of a preventative strategy to help stem the tidal wave of divorce in the church.”1
The purpose of this article, then, is to address, with specific regard to men (although the application to women is closely related), what I believe Scripture reveals as the primary purpose of marriage. Having done so I will then explore the implications of how that purpose ought to shape a man’s marital commitment in light of the New Testament model God provides for marriage. It is my conviction that if a man properly understands the meaning and purpose that under-girds the institution of marriage, and if he were to study and emulate the model God has provided on how to live out his marital commitment, then he has a far greater chance of not only staying out of the “river of divorce” but also entering into the floods of joy God intends for those who marry.
II. The Purpose of Marriage: Worship
Genesis 1 and 2 indicate that God designed, created, and instituted marriage prior to the Fall. Because of this, his purpose and agenda for marriage is embedded in the created order and is, therefore, still meant to be the driving force behind all marriages today. Recapturing and reasserting this idea, then, is the first step in revitalizing and redirecting modern culture’s (and the church’s) understanding of marriage. The narrative accounts of God’s creation of Adam and Eve are vital to understanding God’s ultimate purpose in creating marriage.
Then God said, “Let us make man in...
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