What God has joined together, let not man separate

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Faith & Reflection

My wife takes a photo of me with every couple I marry. Recently she decided to put them into a photo album. I appreciated the sentiment, but requested that she not do this. Several of the couples are no longer together, and I thought the pictures might be discouraging.

My wife, typically the voice of reason, explained that I wasn’t giving much credence to all of the success stories represented in the photos. I believe she is correct and in the space remaining I want to share one of those success stories. (These events took place years ago and miles away.)

A struggling couple came in for counselling. Things went well for a few sessions until following a heated argument the wife decided to leave. She rented a U-Haul and began loading her possessions into it. The husband rushed to my office and asked me what to do. I told him to go home and explain that although he didn’t agree with her decision to leave, he would respect her by helping her pack. He looked at me as if I needed psychiatric help, thanked me and left.

The couple later related what had transpired that day. He went home and explained that he totally disagreed with her decision to leave. But he also told her that he loved her and that he had come home to help her pack the truck. She looked at him as if he needed psychiatric help, but accepted his offer they began, in silence, to load the tuck.

When the truck was almost full the husband found his wife weeping uncontrollably. He looked at her as if she needed psychiatric help, but amidst sobs she said, “Thank you for helping me. If you hadn’t done this I would never have believed that you loved me, but now I know you do! Will you please help me unload? I don’t want to leave…I want to stay and make our marriage work!”

Before we moved from that place we celebrated their 15th wedding anniversary with them. To watch them you’d never think that there had ever been problems in their marriage!

Marriage has many critics, but no real creative alternatives…it resonates with relational significance, typically results in offspring and wonderfully pictures the union between Christ and His people!

Jesus said, “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female, and said, ‘For reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate” (Matthew 4-6).

— Pastor Ross Helgeton is senior pastor at Erskine Evangelical Free Church.