Marriage As God’s Handiwork

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Do you remember Super bowl XLIV? Probably not. It was played way back in 2010 between the Indianapolis, Colts and the New Orleans, Saints. The Colts won.

That year Sarah and I attended a super bowl party with some friends. Super Bowl parties are a strange affair, aren’t they? Watching football and socializing are an awkward pairing at best. I think it is basically impossible to do both at the same time. I attended a party once where they put the game on mute, and another where they kept turning up the volume higher and higher to compete with the background noise. I’ve also seen football fans and party fans separate like oil and water into separate rooms once the game starts only to be rejoined at half-time by the vigorous shaking of the performers’ hips.

However, one thing that football fans and party fans alike seem to enjoy about the super bowl is the advertisements. It’s literally the only time when people get excited about commercials, and although I remember very little about super bowl XLIV one of the commercials from that year did stick with me in a lasting way.

It was a car commercial for the Dodge Charger entitled “Man’s Last Stand.” You should check it out on youtube. The central premise of the commercial seemed to be that men have surrendered too much of their personal autonomy and are suffering silently like so many martyrs within the onerous confines of their marriages. The wild man that lives within the breast of all males is chafing under the well-intentioned but irritating attempts of women to domesticate him and suffocate his spirit with petty indignities like cleaning up after himself and listening to her opinions about his friends.

It’s time to push back…and buy a Charger!!!

The ad reminded me of a quote I read once by the 19th century, English publisher and author, Edward Verrall Lucas, “The trouble with marriage is that, while every woman is at heart a mother, every man is at heart a bachelor.”

Dodge didn’t pony up a fortune in ad time without doing their research first. You can be sure that their pitch was carefully crafted, audience tested, and designed to hold maximum appeal for their target market; married men who were bachelors at heart. I have to confess that the ad resonated a little with me at the time, and that’s why I still remember it. My heart’s response to that stupid ad was wildly out of step with what I knew to be true. Like David, in our study of 1 Samuel 27 from last Sunday, I needed to speak truth to my heart to combat the error that the ad revealed was growing there. I thought of Ephesians 5:25 which says “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her…” These words and the surrounding verses in Ephesians 5 have always been deeply counter-cultural. They landed controversially on the ears of their original audience in the first century Roman World, and they continue to confront our cultural norms surrounding marriage today.

Over the next four Sundays at State Road we’ll be talking about marriage. It’s a difficult and controversial thing to talk about, and I will need help from the Holy Spirit to do it well. Please pray for me. God’s word has a lot to say to both men and women on the topic, and I am hopeful that God will challenge us through His Word to embrace a more excellent way in our marriages.