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Climbing The Mountain

Matt Brownell, Tim Adams, and Van Owens

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Climbing the Mountain is a weekly podcast devoted to the Word of God and its application in the lives of believers today. Grounded in the Sermon of the Mount, we dive into connecting scriptures to explore themes and implications.

Episode 15 - The Sanctity of Marriage

January 13, 2023

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This episode is about the sanctity of marriage. We don’t all agree on what the Bible teaches concerning divorce and remarriage. It is a very difficult subject and perhaps another time we will cover it. But, what we all do agree about is how sacred marriage is. We live in a society where almost everyone has been touched in some way by divorce. This is a very painful subject for many people. My parents divorced. It was shocking and wrenching. It was one of the only times I can recall seeing my dad cry. It was like a death had occurred; but, there was no finality to it, no time for fond remembrances, only a living death, a constant dying. Divorce was like an open sore that took years to heal. It left fears in me that took a long time to face. So, if you hear something hard in this episode, please know that we empathize.

At the same time, we must look at it. We need to talk about what’s painful. It helps bring healing. Or, maybe you’re about to get married. Hear what Jesus is saying here.

Hey, I'm Matt Brownell.
And I'm Van Owens.
And I'm Tim Adams.
Welcome to Climbing the Mountain, where we dive into the scriptures and discuss themes,
connections, and real life application.
We're kicking off a series here where we're going to examine the Sermon on the Mount and
discuss implications for this teaching for Christians today.
This episode is about the sanctity of marriage.
We've just spent a bunch of time wrestling with this subject, and we're still wrestling
with it.
So we're probably going to come back to that.
We need some more time.
But what we don't need more time with and what we want to talk about right now is what
we think about how sacred marriage is.
We live in a society where almost everyone's been touched in some way by divorce, and it's
a very, very painful subject for a lot of people.
My parents were divorced, and it was totally shocking and wrenching.
It's really one of the only times I can recall seeing my dad cry.
It was like a death had occurred, but there was no finality to it.
No time for fond remembrances, only a living death, a constant dying.
It's taken a long time for that open sword to heal, and it left fears that took a long
time for me to face personally.
So if you hear something in this episode that's hard, please know we empathize at the same
time we want to look at it, because sometimes we need to talk about what's painful because
it's the only way to bring healing.
Or maybe you're about to get married.
So I think that's also important to hear what Jesus is saying here.
Tim, do you want to read this?
So in Matthew 5:31-32, it says, it was also said, whoever divorces his wife, let him give
her a certificate of divorce.
But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of sexual immorality,
makes her commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.
So this passage we're studying, just to give the context here, it's one of what's
referred to as one of the six antitheses, because Jesus quotes a passage of the law,
or he paraphrases something and then says, but I say, and then he gives us God's will.
Um, it, it wasn't until I spent a long time in this section though, that I understood
something which I think is, is basic.
Um, Jesus says our righteousness should surpass out of the Pharisees and teachers of law.
And then he gives his audience six examples of teaching that they heard in their day.
He says, you've heard it said each of these six examples represent something false or
something hypocritical that was prevalent in Jesus's time.
He's telling his audience that their teachers had relaxed the law in some way, and then
he tells them how they did it.
And I don't know, some of you might be thinking, yeah, duh, congratulations.
Welcome to the party, pal.
It took you long enough.
That's how I feel kind of.
It was kind of like those, uh, one of those, uh, light is dawning on marble head moments
for me.
Um, but it's, uh, I don't know.
It's really interesting though, as, as I started to dig into this more because, um, it, it
blew my mind and you can see records in the Dead Sea Scrolls and rabbitical, uh, sources
that illustrate the very problems Jesus was correcting in these six examples.
Now, in the case of divorce, he's highlighting a debate between two schools of thought and
where the prevailing wind was of change was blowing.
You had the Pharisees and the teachers of law and they were picking up a piece of Deuteronomy
24 and they were misquoting it or maybe misapplying it to facilitate easy divorce.
They're saying all you need to do to satisfy the law is give your wife a certificate of
divorce, then you're righteous.
You fulfilled the requirements of the law and Jesus says, no, that's not God's will.
He completely removes the loophole they had created, what I'd call the clever lawyering,
um, that had circumvented God's will.
So question, how, how does this context mirror our society's attitudes toward divorce?
What are some of the problems we face when we listen to the world standards on this
Yeah, Matt, I appreciate that intro and, and us being able to, to have this conversation.
I know when I think about what the world commonly teaches about most things, uh, and marriage
in particular, uh, one of the words that comes to mind is convenience.
Uh, there's this very prevalent idea that my life should be, you know, full of happiness
and comfort and it should be convenient for me.
I mean, that's why we love Amazon and all these other things that, you know, bring us
what we want at our fingertips.
And when I'm thinking about the way that we're seeing the Pharisees and the teachers of the
law handle the command in scripture, uh, the, in Deuteronomy 24, um, you're, you're talking
about, you know, they're, they're using it to facilitate an easy divorce because the
idea of being faithful, being committed to someone, even if that's challenging, that's
not a very convenient thing.
Uh, and so I think we can miss a lot of the, the real promise and potential of marriage
if we think that it's always got to be easy and it's always, it's always something that
needs to make me feel, you know, really pleasantly and if that's not the case, then it's just
something that I can end because it's not giving me something that I want.
Uh, Tim, I, I agree with what you're saying about so much of what we do and how we are
in our relationships in, in everything that we do is based on how it feels.
It's supposed to feel, we want to feel good all the time.
We want to be happy all the time.
And I think nobody really believes that they're actually going to achieve that.
I do think though that in the area of relationships and particularly when it comes to romantic
relationships and, and marriages, there's this sense of the need to want to feel that
first blush of in love all the time.
And people speak in terms like that.
People speak in terms of being in love and, uh, and they don't think of loving someone
as something that you build, something that you have to work at, something that you have
to grow in and something that you're committed to.
Because that language and almost every wedding ceremony I've ever been in, whether it was
religious or secular, there is language that talks about building and being committed.
But when it comes right down to it, it, it sort of just gets at our feelings.
And that if you're feeling not great about your relationship, about your marriage, then
that suddenly becomes grounds of considering, well, whether it, maybe it's not working.
Maybe it's time to, maybe it's time to take a break.
Maybe it's time to quit.
Maybe it's time to divorce.
We have these weird ideas about, well, I think you can even hear it in, in the, uh, one of
these inalienable, inalienable rights that we all think we have.
One of them is the pursuit of happiness.
A lot of us just get rid of the first part and say happiness.
That's my right.
Well, happiness, that is so mercurial.
Like, you know, there's so many things that will, will change that.
But you know, if you feel like this is your right, well, this person's not making me happy.
I got to find someone else who will.
Well, the problem is wherever you go, there you are.
Uh, this section begins with an also instead of just the normal you have heard it said,
in this sense, it appears connected to the previous section on lust and adultery.
How are these two examples related?
And what do you think is the overall point Jesus is trying to make about divorce?
So, I guess, Matt, one of the things I was, uh, and you said that this section starts
with also, I had to go back and look at all the different translations.
And I was like, Oh, some of them say also and some of them don't.
I don't know why that is, but then it got me thinking about the structure and it definitely
has a different structure introducing this concept.
And I was like, okay, so the point of it being linked is definitely still there.
But it, it got me thinking because I don't always think about how these sections are
connected and how the, and everything flows.
Uh, and I get so honed in on what the headings are, right?
They get put in our modern Bibles.
And so I, I really appreciate the, the deeper, uh, look into it to think about, okay, how
are these things connect?
And one of the things that I was thinking about, so a lot of these things that Jesus
is saying is, are things that we shouldn't do, right?
And that there's, there's other parts of the Beatitudes that talk about, or the Sermon
on the mount in general that talk about what we should do.
Um, and I have a question.
I find sometimes going back and forth can be helpful for me.
And so I was just thinking about what's, what's the general idea of what is Jesus' desire
in these marriage relationships, right?
If he's saying lust is adultery, that divorce, he's, um, you know, calling that in this context,
he's calling that adultery.
Um, he makes her - in the new NIV, he's talking about making her the victim of adultery.
I mean, there's this really intense language, right?
That's the point I'm trying to make in this context.
And what's the positive side of that, right?
What's the, what's the other side of the coin?
And the word that came to mind was faithfulness, right?
Like God desires faithfulness in the marriage relationship, just as he desires it in other
relationships, just as he modeled it for, uh, himself, you know, to us.
And both of these things, you know, lust, uh, is, is a break of that faithfulness when,
when you, if you are married, it's a break of faithfulness to your spouse, right?
Uh, it goes much beyond that.
And we talked about that at great length in the other episodes.
Uh, but in one sense, that's one of the things I see.
And then, uh, divorce is also, you know, a break of that faithfulness of, uh, either
it's a break of the faithfulness or an acknowledgement of that, that breaking already happening.
But it's, uh, however you might think about it, there's, these aren't the ideal of what
God is desiring for these, this, this marriage covenant.
There's sort of a, there's sort of a, there's a what you do and there's a who you are inside.
You know, I was having a discussion, um, with someone a week ago and I told them whenever
I'm making a decision about something, I have to think about what, what is the, or more
accurately whenever I'm reacting, making a decision is a more faithful process because
you're slowing down and, but when I'm reacting, when something happens and I just react, I
said to this person, the sod in me wants to do this.
I want to go over and smack the guy.
The God in me tells me immediately, no, that's not a good idea.
Slow down, think about it.
And I think that a lot of times with when we're talking about adultery and it is, uh,
such a, an extreme word.
It is.
It's such a, it's such a hard word to hear for, uh, for a married person to think my
lust is adultery.
That's, that's crazy.
And that Jesus is adding that also there or, you know, to your point, Tim, that this is
all together in one context.
It's his saying that what's more important is God in you.
What's more important is your soul, is your spirit.
Whether you're restraining yourself or not, you know, it's more important that I deal
with the thing in me that wants to go smack the guy.
Then it is my just saying, well, I wanted to smack the guy, but I didn't.
Does that make sense?
It's, it, it's not just the refraining from the immediate reaction.
It's the dealing with the spirit that wants to do that.
There's something inside of us, each of us that, that Jesus addresses in our heart, all of these things
go straight to our heart.
The motivations, the thoughts, the, everything that's going on inside of us that God sees
and, and I, um, I think that all of them have to do with, I like what you're saying, Tim,
about faithfulness, you know, that there is, that is one of the, the core things that,
you know, matters to God.
And each of these examples is, is, you know, an aspect of how love breaks down in some
And, and I think for me, the thing that connects these two is the adultery actually.
And the, you know, he talks about lust as an adultery and he talks about divorce as
an adultery.
And the, the, that's what connects it for me that, that divorce adulterates people.
It's, uh, just like lust adulterates people outside of marriage.
And both are not God's design.
And, and, um, it makes me think too about the context a little bit about this, right?
So they have this squabble over Deuteronomy 24.
And, um, I think it's interesting that, you know, the scripture is being twisted.
Uh, and Jesus uses a word, um, um, that it, that goes to me, harkens back to that original,
um, passage, uh, when he, when he uses, um, the term for sexual immorality.
It's kind of an umbrella term that would include adultery.
And in that original, uh, Deuteronomy 24 passage, it talks about, um, some indecency and that
the word that's used over there has to do with uncleanness of a shameful exposure of
one's genitals.
So there's some kind of indecent behavior that's implied there.
And, uh, so, so I think he's, he's connecting to those things and then talking about how
that was twisted somehow.
But, but what I see is that there's just a lot of adulterating happening in the, you
know, there's a lot of adultery happening.
If I had to take a stab at what's the, the main thrust here, I think it has to do with
the sanctity of marriage.
That is created something that is, uh, it shouldn't be so easily dissolved.
We should look at that and, uh, not take marriage as such a light thing.
And I do think, um, uh, to your point, Tim, about wanting to go and see what is the opposite.
What, what is this really about and landing on that it's about faithfulness?
Uh, I think that's a very important thing for us to do in general when we read the scriptures.
Uh, I tend towards the negative in, in, uh, in everything that, in the way that I think.
And I think society tends towards the negative.
That's why we're so fascinated by documentaries about serial killers and, you know, uh, westerns
about bad guys and, and we, we tend to emphasize negative things and, uh, that the message
of the scripture is life and it's, it's, it's love.
And we have to think how is Jesus trying to point us in that direction with what he's
saying here.
Obviously he's not trying to get us to just think adultery, adultery, adultery all the
He's trying by his words to tell us how special, how sacred marriage is supposed to be.
But and, and I think it's something that says something about the sinful nature where
we look for loopholes, right?
And that's sort of what he's addressed.
I think you're right.
He is talking about, no, the high ideal is faithfulness.
And so, uh, but it's funny how often people look at this and, and their first inclination
is, Oh, is there an exception?
When can I get divorced?
No, that's, you're missing the point.
That's not what he's talking about.
He's talking about being faithful.
And I think that's such an important thing to, to remember.
Can I just like connect two of those ideas because we've sort of this faithfulness, um,
but then there's, you guys were talking about all these things get to the heart, right?
And I feel like lust is maybe an easier one to see how it connects to the heart because
it's this very internal thing, but divorce is a very external action, right?
It's a, you're making a legal statement.
I'm not connected to this person anymore.
Um, but it's, it's only when we think about the, the positive, you know, what is, what
is Jesus aiming at in, in, in speaking against divorce with a strong language that we can
see how this gets to the heart, right?
If we just focus on the negative, it feels like, Oh, you know, Jesus is just saying,
Oh, you shouldn't do this, this thing, but when we think about how God desires faithfulness,
then we see, Oh, well, so many times in my life, even if I'm not thinking about divorce,
I'm still not coming at things from a faithful perspective.
Maybe it's, and we're going to talk about oaths soon.
And there's like the way I'm full of it in my full of integrity, right?
Or, um, or it's my internal thoughts, right?
Like is faithfulness is love the, the, the guiding force of my life.
And I think by speaking against divorce in this strong way that Jesus, you know, is pointing
us in that direction.
Well, I think it would have shocked his hearers to, to an extent to hear some of this.
And I think it's shocking to us a little bit too.
And think what it does for me is, um, you know, thinking positively, this is about faithfulness.
It reminds me how much I need God to be faithful.
I mean, I think, uh, I mean, if it wasn't for God, I would be divorced.
And that's mostly because of me.
I mean, but, I mean, I know that there's two people in this equation, my wife and I, but
I would be divorced because I'm a sinner and it's only because of God that I'm not divorced.
And I'm very grateful.
I love my wife.
I'm so grateful that we're not divorced.
And I get, I mean, I, I, I think I looked out in the, the equation here for sure, because
I get so much, I experienced so much love in that.
And I'm glad, um, but I, I need God.
I can see it so clearly.
And I just appreciate your honesty with that, Matt, just like saying that.
Cause I think a lot of, I've only been married for a couple of years.
Um, but I, it's been long enough to realize like, Oh, this is like really hard.
You know, and when I was single and I was outside looking in, uh, and I saw people who
got divorced after 15, 20, 25, 30 years of marriage, I thought in my head of like, Oh,
I can't, I can't understand why anyone would possibly do that.
And now I'm like, Oh, well, if I'm just living my own sinful way and my wife is living in
her own sinful way, we're not very nice to be around.
And that's really hard to deal with.
And it's only through us dying to ourselves and deciding we're going to love one another
and primarily love God and commit ourselves to this relationship that it can become a
thing that thrives and grows and brings life.
But, um, I, yeah.
I had a couple of kids and mortgage, job stress, throw a few more stresses on you.
Life just gets harder and harder.
And that's usually when people break.
If you're relying on yourself, that's, that's when people break.
Having been married for, I think I've probably been married the longest, uh, 30, 32 years
coming up on.
And, you know, I shudder to think of the type of man I would be if I had not married.
Shemitra that we, uh, we work so well together.
And, and that's not to say that we don't have disagreements and we don't have issues
and we don't have problems and we don't have things that we're working through.
And as soon as we work through one thing, another thing pops up, life is really hard
that way.
But, uh, the, and the feeling of being in love, the, the, the hearts popping in bubbles
around my eyes when I see her, I still get that sometimes, but I have to get there sometimes
And, uh, there's so much, I often say that people marriage is not for the faint of heart.
It's not.
You, you, you have to enter it and you have to have some courage and you have to have
some, uh, loyalty and perseverance in it.
But, um, it's, it's wonderful.
And if the only thing you're in it for is my, is your own comfort and your own happiness
and your own joy or, uh, that's when it gets really hard.
That's when it gets really when, when your quotient is just how happy am I, you're, you're
going to start to think, well, how, how can I get out of this?
But once you're out of it, you're not going to be any happier because happy is that happiness
is that elusive, strange thing that you're never quite going to catch.
And when you do catch it, it's like sand in your hands.
It doesn't, it doesn't stay there very long.
You can't replicate the same.
Hey, if I do these inputs, I'll get this output.
Doesn't work that way.
And I'm glad you brought it back to thinking about how a thinking of others really in a
relationship that's so key.
You can't be, this isn't for me.
And, um, when I've been most happy has ironically been not, well, I mean, maybe it's not ironic.
Like just when I'm not thinking of myself and I'm thinking of my wife and how, oh, she's
in need or she, let me not be just thinking about, I'm not getting my needs met right
Let me be patient.
Let me be gentle.
Let me listen.
This isn't what I want right now.
This is tough.
Let me listen.
And then afterward I was like, I'm like, yeah, that was good.
That right there that it started off tough.
That ended up being a really great memory.
Let's, let's talk about, I'm glad we're talking about how awesome marriage is because it is
It's important to God.
And I don't know if this is coincidence or not, but, uh, you know, Jesus here, he's talking
about the law, right?
This is kind of like the new Sinai, right?
You know, you've got Jesus going up a mountain and then he's talking about the law.
And right in the middle of all of these six examples, pretty much, he's talking about marriage.
And I want to understand, you know, for God, this must be really important, right?
Marriage, I think it mirrors the, the covenantal relationship that we enter into with him.
So how does marriage mirror our commitment to God and what does that say to the world?
There was one scripture that just popped up in my head like as soon as I heard this question
and it's interesting because you phrase the question in terms of our commitment to God.
And when we think about, when I think about my commitment to God, my commitment to God
is primarily because God has committed to me and I am constantly called higher because
I realize how, how committed, you know, when you think about the life of Jesus and how
he gave himself for us.
And that's the scripture I think about with this in Ephesians 5.
It's like classic scripture on marriage.
It's probably one of the most challenging verses for any husband.
And it says, 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.
In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies.
He who loves his wife loves himself.
After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body just
as Christ does the church, for we are members of his body.
For this reason, a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife and the
two will become one flesh.
This is a profound mystery, but I am talking about Christ and the church.
However, each one of you must also love his wife as he loves himself and the wife must
respect her husband.
And I mean, this is obviously just a beautiful passage of what it looks like to love.
What I find interesting is how Paul, he starts quoting about how the two are going to become
one flesh, but he doesn't actually, he's not even thinking about marriage.
He's thinking, wow, this is what Jesus did for the church.
And that just blows his mind.
It's a profound mystery.
And so when I think about marriage and our commitment to God and God's commitment to
us, it's an incredible example because we show, we show our commitment to our spouses
and that is a picture of how God does not give up on us.
And we also do not give up on God, right?
No matter what happens, no matter if it's easy or hard, we see that this relationship is
far more valuable than any present difficulty.
And we're going to stick in with it, just that's what Jesus did for us.
So that's really what came to mind for me.
I'm glad you read it because that was the exact scripture I was thinking of too.
That's what came to my mind too.
And I'm not going to say anything more because I think you just beautifully summarized it.
Well, okay, I'll say one more thing.
Just want to reiterate what you were saying there about what it communicates to the world
because that commitment is so important and I think divorce tells a lie.
It tells a lie to the world about Christ's love for us.
And as Christians, I think we should do everything possible to keep our marriages together and
When I think about, I think about the fact that Christianity is about the, it's about
the journey, it's about as you live becoming more and more and more like Christ, the transformation
of your natural self with your sinful nature into something beyond that, into something
that's more spiritual, that is more like Jesus.
And as long as we live, we're going to be on that journey.
That journey doesn't end until the other side of eternity.
And I think of my marriage in the same way is there, the man that I am today is a transformed
person from the man that I was when I married Shemitra.
And there are things about my life that there are strengths that I have now that I did not
have then that come from her, that come from our relationship together.
And she would say the same thing is that I am, and just a really brief example, I am,
I'm a very sedentary, want to stay in one place person.
An ideal vacation for me is to sit in my house and read.
That's what I could do during my vacation.
For Shemitra, it's to travel.
And Shemitra will want to travel at the drop of a hat.
And so, you know, there are weaknesses in that.
How do you travel at the drop of a hat when you've got to pay for it and you've got to
do all this stuff and you've got to do it?
And that's what I would say to her when she wanted to go.
And I would say, well, how can you go unless you sit and you plan and you do all this stuff?
And we would argue about that and we would butt heads about that.
And we would think, well, can I be happy with this person because she wants to be this way
and I want to be that way.
And divorces happen over less than that.
But there's a part of me because I love her, because I'm committed to her, because I'm
loyal to her and she to me, I thought, what do I need to learn from this?
Maybe I need to be more that way.
And she thought the same, maybe I need to be more that way.
And it transformed us both into something different, into something better.
And we did that together.
And the notion of separating that is repulsive.
It's strange.
It's weird.
And you know, so I think it's the transformation.
Yeah, that is really cool.
I think I'm a lot cooler than I used to be before Netta.
She's helped me to get to the point.
Come on.
She's so quick.
She's no nonsense.
You know exactly what you're thinking and feeling.
And when I first met her, it was a real hard thing for me to do.
You can understand what I was thinking or feeling.
And being around her, modeling it for me was so helpful for me to grow up.
Well, we live in a me-centric, feeling-based society.
We kind of talked about that a little bit at the beginning of this episode.
And if something doesn't feel good for me, I should avoid it, that sort of thinking.
And how easy that creeps into marriage.
It's the opposite, of course, of what Jesus teaches.
And later when Jesus talks about this topic, he quotes Genesis.
So in Matthew 19:4, he says,
At the beginning the Creator made them male and female and said,
For this reason, a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife,
and the two will become one flesh.
So they're no longer two, but one flesh.
Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.
What do we learn, kind of going back to the beginning here a little bit,
what do we learn about love from the institution of marriage?
Yeah, I feel like we're hitting the same thing from a million different angles here.
Because when I think about this, I think about the scripture that gets read
at a whole bunch of weddings, 1 Corinthians 13,
talks about the attributes of love and I'll read it.
It's love is patient, love is kind.
It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud,
it does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking.
It is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth.
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails.
This is certainly not restricted to marriage and I,
this is just an incredible definition of what love is in general.
What I am thinking about is that many of these things don't make sense
when things are good and easy.
So, I mean the obvious one is like persevering.
You can't persevere if there's nothing challenging going on
and you can't really be patient, unless there's something to be patient about.
You can't demonstrate that you're not easily angered
unless there's a reason why you could get angry.
And all of this is basically like you can only really be loving
if you're in really close community with people,
because that's when love is tested and that's when love is demonstrated.
And there's many ways of being in very close community with people
and marriage is definitely a prime example of that with one person.
Like we're gonna do it all together and you know,
it's gonna provide many opportunities to learn the nuances
of what these different definitions of love actually look like.
Yeah, love is a thing that comes from God.
And it does not come from us naturally outside of God.
What comes from us naturally outside of God is just a desire
to just be everything that we want to be and to soothe our own flesh
and to take everything that we can before our flesh is done.
And for me, I think that what marriage teaches me about love is the...
And again, I go back to the transformation thing,
is I could not have imagined being the person that I am now.
There was nothing in me that would make me...
And I'm talking about the positive attributes I have now
because I've got many negative ones.
But love is...
And the thing for me is love is like a seed
and marriage is like everything that you do to make sure that that seed grows.
You have to find the right place to plant it.
You have to find the right type of soil.
You have to plant it at the right time.
You have to water it.
You have to make sure it gets the right amount of light.
You have to...
These are all things that you do.
But the miraculous thing, the thing that's from God,
is that somehow when you do all those things, something grows.
And what grows is so different from what you originally planted.
And I think that what marriage shows us about love
is that all of that work that you do,
all of that discussing that you do,
all of the talking that you do,
all of the praying that you do together,
all of the advice that you seek,
all of the investment that you make,
the emotional investment that you make,
it grows something and it's miraculous when you see it.
And I wish that I could explain exactly what it feels like.
But it is like a seed.
It's that miraculous thing that you plant it and it grows.
And am I talking about a marriage?
Am I talking about a relationship with God?
Yes, both.
Yeah, the two are related.
And I love that you said it's from God
because we wouldn't know what love is
until he first loved us and then demonstrated to us
what love was by sending Christ when we were still sinners
to who died for us.
And that's how we know what love is.
And I think for me, this gets to some of the other things
we were talking about, that love is more than a feeling.
There's a, in marriage, we see there is a commitment made.
And so in that, I think we learn something
about how God deals with us and that he is decided.
He says he's placed his affection on us.
And that is a decision.
And so love can be a decision.
It's not just whimsical like,
oh, I feel like loving you or not.
No, no, no, I decided I love you.
Therefore, I'm going to act.
I'm going to love you.
So it can be an action.
It can be a decision.
And it's not just the feelings, I think, are great.
They're like the spice of life.
But they should result in some ways
from these higher order functions that we,
we're not just meant to be, I don't know what to say,
animalistic or just feeling based, right?
It'd be like the tail wagging the dog.
So without that structure, it's chaos.
Last question, we're going a little bit longer,
but I think that's okay.
Right after Jesus discusses marriage,
he transitions to the topic of oaths and vows,
which we'll talk about next time.
But it reminds me of Malachi 2:16.
I'm going to read the ESV version.
For the man who does not love his wife
but divorces her says the Lord,
the God of Israel covers his garment with violence,
says the Lord of hosts.
So guard yourselves in your spirit and do not be faithless.
God hates when we break the marriage vow.
How do you think marriage counseling
should address the seriousness of the marriage covenant?
You know, the statement there that God hates
when we break the marriage vow,
I think it's just, it's kind of dumbfounding
that God, again, very extreme language,
again, just very serious.
And I think that
marriage counseling for me is something,
and I think that marriage counseling is something
that should be happening all the time.
And here's how I mean.
I think that we think of,
I think of marriage counseling in two ways.
I think of it as something that you get
as you're deciding to get premarital counseling.
I think of it in that way,
sort of preparing you for this is what it's going to mean
to be together.
And there's all kinds of implications about that
that go beyond the actual living together
and the sex and all of that stuff.
But then there's marriage counseling.
Then the next way you think of marriage counseling is,
oh, now there's trouble.
Something has happened and someone has done something.
And now we have to get together to see
if we're going to stay together,
if we can repair it or if it's irreparable.
And I think that's the way that sort of
the worldly notion of marriage counseling.
But I think that marriage counseling is something
that should be happening all the time,
not necessarily with a professional counselor,
with you sitting in an office and sitting on a chair
and doing all these exercises,
although I don't think that that's a bad idea,
but I think that it's something
that you have to be talking about all the time.
You have to talk about it within your marriage
and you really need the community around you
to be able to talk about it even outside of your marriage,
to get that help, to get that because it is work
that has to be ongoing.
Before it ends up in the do we stay together
or not scenario, let's get lots of help before that.
Before we enter into it.
And after we get started,
because I remember when I first got married,
there was a lot of navigating like,
how do I live with this person?
She thinks about things completely different than I do.
And it took a long time for us to have a shared vocabulary.
We understood where we were coming from even.
And if it wasn't for people in our lives
that could see from the outside when we're like,
oh my gosh.
And see, hey, I think she just means this, Matt,
or Netta, I think Matt is thinking of it this way.
Oh, okay.
It's so helpful.
I'm glad you brought that up.
What do you think?
Yeah, I mean, the analogy that comes to mind for me
that I think is useful for a lot of guys
is like, let's think about just working out, right?
It's important for me to be healthy.
It's important for me to get the,
for me to give my body what it needs
so I can do everything that I wanna do.
So I'm gonna prioritize this.
It's not something, maybe I like going to the gym,
maybe I don't like going to the gym, whatever I do,
I'm gonna find ways to keep on growing.
And it's never about, oh, I hit this level,
so I'm done, right?
There's always like another level to get to.
And the reason for that is because our physical health
is like very important.
And it impacts so many other things.
Our marriage covenant, our marriages
are incredibly important.
And they affect even more than our physical health
if you're married.
It's what I tell people who are my age,
who are thinking about getting married
or who wanna get married.
I'm like, this is the person that you're gonna go
to every party with and leave every party from.
And you really wanna make sure that that's,
you feel really great about that.
But when you're in the marriage,
it's about how do we develop that relationship
where that's a joy, right?
And so it's this constant improvement
that I think is the key similarity
between marriage and working out
that you're always gonna be looking for ways to grow
because this is always gonna be important.
You're stuck with your body
and you're stuck with your spouse.
Like you're saying, this is your spouse.
This is the person you've committed to.
Let's figure out how to make this work.
Yeah, I think that an operative word that I heard there,
I think I heard both of you guys talk about joy.
And joy is something that you have to work through.
If all you're in it for is happiness,
you're not going to be able to stay together.
You're not gonna be able to.
And the counseling that you need to get
is it's so crucial.
And what I really wanna say here is there came a point
in my marriage where I had to realize
I can't get everything that I need from relationships
from my marriage.
And I've seen with a lot of people
that I know that mistake happening,
that people often say my wife is my best friend.
And I understand what they mean when they say that,
but there's a double edge to that.
If your wife is your best friend
and she's also your only friend, that's gonna be very difficult.
That's gonna be a situation
where there's not gonna be much joy
because we're meant to be together in community.
And marriage is from God, community is from God,
and a marriage can't thrive outside of a community.
A marriage is not a community.
I'm glad you made that important, it's a very important point.
I remember when I was dating around
and one of the things that drew me to Netta
was that I thought, well, here's someone
where I'm not the center of her world.
Very obviously I'm not, and it's Jesus, it's God.
And that was something that I really, really,
it made me feel secure.
Because I'm glad I let everyone I know,
if I'm in a relationship with you in any way,
I will let you down.
And when we have Jesus, when you have God at the center,
that's how it's gonna work.
But I also liked what you were saying about joy.
And something that you said too, Tim,
as you were both talking about continuing to grow,
this is something, I made me think of this scripture
that in Colossians 2:6, it says,
therefore as you received Christ Jesus the Lord,
so walk in him, rooted and built up in him
and established in the faith,
just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.
And it made me think, you know,
we've got this relationship with God
and that should never grow stale.
It should be growing.
Just as we started, just as we fell in love with Christ,
we should remember that and continue to grow
in faith and abounding and with thanksgiving.
So likewise, our marriages should be that way.
They should be reflections of the relationship
that we should all have with Jesus where they are growing.
And I think when we have marriage,
and I think this is so important to just reiterate,
it should be a commitment that is for life
that we're committed to.
And when we have that as like,
we've burned the bridges and there's no turning back
and we're committed, I'm totally invested with you.
I'm committed to you.
That is so reassuring.
This has been really fun.
This has been great actually.
I just, it's a tough subject,
but I'm glad that we were able to talk about it
and talk about how wonderful marriage is supposed to be.
It's not always easy, but it's worth it.
Yeah, I know I've appreciated this conversation
because it's, I think coming into it,
and starting to prepare, I was thinking more about
the negative or the way, this is so hard,
and we talked a lot in the episode about this is hard,
but there's such promise, right?
There's such opportunity for us to see
more clearly who God is, for us to grow ourselves,
for us to be transformed and to help transform
those around us, especially our spouses,
just as we love unconditionally.
So yeah, I think this has been very encouraging to me.
Yeah, and marriage just gets a bad rap.
I think that the sort of the popular culture notion
of marriage is that, well, that's where the fun
ends in a relationship, and that's where you get beat down,
that's where you get worn down,
and I think particularly from the male point of view,
the hen-packed worn-down husband is just a worn-out trope
in almost every bit of entertainment that you see,
and if you've got a marriage that's a real marriage,
that doesn't exist.
That guy is not a real person.
He is as made up as anything else in a movie or in a book.
And yeah, this has been a good conversation.
Thanks guys.

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