From this passage on divorce, we find vital principles for a healthy marriage.

Mark 10 1 And he left there and went to the region of Judea and beyond the Jordan, and crowds gathered to him again. And again, as was his custom, he taught them. 2And Pharisees came up and in order to test him asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?” 3He answered them, “What did Moses command you?” 4They said, “Moses allowed a man to write a certificate of divorce and to send her away.” 5And Jesus said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart he wrote you this commandment. 6But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’ 7 ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, 8and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh. 9 What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”  10And in the house the disciples asked him again about this matter. 11And he said to them,  “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her, 12and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.”

Four principles for a healthy enduring marriage can be drawn from this passage dealing with divorce.  If these things are practiced, it seems such a marriage will be made divorce-proof.

1.  Men, step up and be a loving leader in your marriage.  It’s been said, “If mama aint happy, aint nobody happy.”  That may be true.  But even more so is this, “If daddy aint happy, aint nobody happy.”  A man sets the atmosphere of his home.

Note the emphasis on men in this foundational verse on marriage:  “A man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife.”  The man establishes the new home.  The man holds his wife close.

Simply stated, God calls men to lead.  Their influence (or lack thereof) will affect a home greatly.  When a man leads a marriage in a loving, Christ-like way, good things tend to follow.

So men, treasure you wives.  Serve them.  Love them.  Lead them.   Guide them.    Help them and be helped by them.

Notice the great contrast between the Pharisees’ words and Jesus’ words.  The Pharisees use the phrase, “Send her away.”  Jesus uses the phrase “Hold her fast.”  Go with Jesus’ way. 

2.  Beware the hardening of heart in your marriage.  Jesus identified hardness of heart as the root problem of all failed marriages.  It’s sclerosis of the heart, literally scleriocardia in the Greek.  Men and women become cold and hard hearted toward one another (or one toward the other). 

Such little things can lead to hardness of heart.  He said he’d be home from the meeting at 8pm.  8pm comes and goes.  9pm comes and goes. 10pm comes and her heart is angry and she just goes to bed.  She swallows her frustration.  Or, a man comes home a finds the house not in the order he desires.  His heart gets irritated.  He internalizes it. 

If your heart keeps absorbing these kinds of things, soon it will get hard. 

Keep your heart filled with love.  Always view one another through the kind and sympathetic eyes of love.  Don’t let bitterness fester.  Don’t let your affection to go dim.  Rekindle that love and tenderness of heart throughout marriage.

Take Hebrews 3:12-13 very seriously.

3.  Keep in view God’s all time blueprint for your marriage.   “A man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”

This profound sentence is found first in Genesis 2:24, then in the Gospels (Mark 10 & Matthew 19), and then again in Ephesians 5.  It is God’s all time plan for marriage.  Notice it was established in the garden prior to sin and the curse.  Then it was reaffirmed by Christ as God’s plan during the age prior to the outpouring of his Spirit.  Then it was re-taught again by Paul in the post-Pentecost age when the Spirit indwells and empowers believers.

Leave, cleave and become one.  God’s all time blueprint for marriage, in the language of Wayne Mack.  God keeps it in our view througout Scripture.  There are treasures of wisdom and practical help in that phrase.  It’s all about the priority of marriage, the permanence of marriage and the unity of marriage. 

4.  Deny yourself and be a servant in your marriage.   All through Mark 8-10, Jesus emphasizes the key Kingdom principle: whoever will be great must be the servant of all.  The great ones are the deacons, the servants, the “table waiters.”  It’s all about helping in practical tangible ways. 

Your home gives you a great opportunity to live out Christian discipleship.  The heart of Christian discipleship is to be a servant of all.  This should begin with your spouse. 

You must be the deacons of all, lovingly attending to all those God places in your life.  This starts with those who are in your own household.  If you are going to be a great in the Kingdom, if you are going to be a disciple, you must order yourself last and be a servant.  Start with those living under your roof, and the especially the one sleeping in your bed with you.

~Jeff

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