Friday, October 27 2006
"The idea that 'being in love' is the only reason for remaining married really leaves no room for marriage as a contract or promise at all. If love is the whole thing, then the promise can add nothing; and if it adds nothing, then it should not be made. The curious thing is that lovers themselves, while they remain really in love, know this better than those who talk about love. As Chesterton pointed out, those who are in love have a natural inclination to bind themselves by promises. Love songs all over the world are full of vows of eternal constancy. The Christian law is not forcing upon the passion of love something which is foreign to that passion's own nature: it is demanding that lovers should take seriously something which their passion of itself impels them to do." Mere Christianity
Eros, being "in love", is a feeling. Love, in the sense of agape, is an action. Eros is fleeting. Agape is eternal. And of course, agape is the kind of love God lives out toward human beings, demonstrated supremely in Jesus Christ.
Now a Christian marriage is the venue through which God gives to two of his children, a man and a woman, the opportunity to demonstrate toward one another, before a watching world, agape for a lifetime. God wants married couples to live out, up close and personal, in the context of the ups and downs of everyday life, an example of his universal, contra-conditional love. For agape is love which keeps on loving, keeps on doing what is best for another, in spite of adverse conditions, in the face of that which is seemingly unlovable.
The divorce rate in America today, even or especially among Christians, shows just how well we are doing at living out agape in the context of marriage. But rather than being an excuse to give up, this fact should cause those of us who are married to ask God for more grace, more of the power of the Holy Spirit, to live out this agape through the one-flesh union which is marriage.
"Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless." Ephesians 5:25-27