Though I've written often on marriage (like, oh, I don't know...say, this and this and this and, somewhat famously, this), I am returning to it from a number of angles, Lord willing. My hope is both to help couples, and to give an "assist" to fellow-pastors.
Here I just have a simple point to make: your marriage matters. Say, look; that's even the title!
"Matters" to whom? Well:
- It matters to God. Really, if I'm writing to actual Christians, we should be able to stop with this one, shouldn't we? You took vows invested with meaning He'd given to them, and He cares about that (Num. 30:2; Deut. 23:21-23; Pss. 61:8; 76:11; Prov. 20:25; Eccl. 5:5). He is invested in your marriage. He invented it, it's His institution, and you entered into it. It's an institution He cares a great deal about, and into which He has built great meaning (Eph. 5:22ff.). So, really, you think you can just tolerate your contributing to an unhealthy, non-optimal, cludgied-up marriage, and have that be OK with God? Seriously. Wake up.
- It matters to your spouse. You promised that man, that woman, that (s)he could trust you absolutely. Brother, you promised to lead and love and sacrifice, as Christ did for the church. Sister, you promised to respect and to subordinate yourself, as the church should do towards Christ. You told this person, "Though all else fail you, you can count on me. You can forget about looking for sex or love or devotion anywhere else. I'm your man/woman." You promised to make that the most important human relationship in your world. You think you can walk that promise back, and it has no harmful consequences? Seriously. Wake up.
- It matters to you. In more ways than you can think, it matters to you. Let's just start with the boneheadedly obvious: supposing you're in a marriage that is other-than-humming, and there's something you can do about it. But you're not. Why? You were going to get going on that when, exactly? When life really starts? Dude, sister, news flash: it started. When you get to Heaven? That's stupid. When the kids are grown? That's stupid, hateful, and irresponsible (see below). But really: you took public vows before God and everyone to make this the most important human relationship in your life -- and you're inattentive or neglectful towards it, or you tolerate in yourself a pattern of sin or fleshly indulgence that harms it? And you think that doesn't matter? Seriously. Wake up.
- It matters to your children. This is the saddest part. We all say we think it's the saddest part -- even people who tolerate and even cultivate marriage-harming sin in themselves pay lip-service to caring about The Children, while their lives show they care a whole lot more about unrepentantly indulging their flesh in this or that way. But kids see, they notice, they take note, they know at some level, and they are harmed. Not merely discouraged, distracted; harmed. Home should be a safe, healthy, Christward place for them. They get their ideas about marriage by watching yours. Suppose they see in you (we're not talking about your spouse, just you) a high doctrine of Scripture and swelling words about Christ, but a pattern of tolerating ongoing sin in yourself? You think that's not an eloquent and harmful lesson? You think they can just walk it off? Seriously. Wake up.
- It matters to your church. Maybe not right away, because it is possible to put on a good face for an hour or two a week. But you can't be giving yourself to godly, Spirit-led worship and service with a bunch of relative strangers if you're not obeying the great and the second commandment (see numbers 1 and 2, above) at home, can you? Does that make any kind of sense? Seriously. Wake up.