Romans 12:10 Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another;
Relationships are the building blocks of our society. We have relationships with our family, friends, co-workers, governmental entities, and many others. Within all of our relationships we either function well or dysfunctionally to some degree or another. Sadly, it seems that much of our society lives in the realm of dysfunction more so these days.
Regarding families, traditional relationships within families where both parents are present to nurture and guide their children are being attacked by the enemy of our souls: Satan. He wants nothing more than to destroy the bonds between a husband and wife so the entire family unit suffers. His handiwork is proudly displayed in the divorce statistics of our society and world.
Television and movies glorify premarital and extramarital sex to the point that those who seek for or practice monogamous sexual relationships within a committed marital relationship as defined between one man and one woman are the odd ones that are out of touch with what's hip and en vogue. "Till death do us part" has in many circles become simply a token phrase that is translated to mean "Till I find something better or till I get tired of you".
The sad part is that this twisted, non-Biblical world view has been adopted by many Christians. So much so that divorce is just as common within the church as it is without. How have we let this happen? When did we as a society lose site of the special bond that God intended for us to experience in the sacred institution of marriage? How do we fight against this trend without alienating ourselves from the very ones that Christ wants us to reach for Him?
The answer is not simple or easy and I recognize that divorce is not always our choice. Many times it is forced upon us as an unwilling participant or for Biblical grounds of infidelity (Matt 19:9). But just because the answer is not simple or easy does not mean that we should not seek to know it and live it.
At least part of the answer is that each one of us has to recognize that God did not grant us a free license to use our bodies as a fun house. Sex is a beautiful gift from God but one that is only to be experienced within the confines of a committed marital relationship. And when we give our lives to Christ our body ceases to belong to us (1 Cor 6:19, 20). Christ purchased us from death and sin when He died to save us. So if we belong to Him then He has the right to direct us in how we use our bodies; sexually or otherwise.
Another part of the answer comes in the idea that God intended marriage to last until we go to heaven. In other words we should approach marriage with the idea that divorce is not an option. When we go into marriage with this thought it forces us to work through the trials and challenges to find mutually beneficial solutions that both sides can live with. Unless pride, selfishness, and greed get in the way God can always lead us to solutions that will allow our marriages to become stronger rather than weaker. This can even happen after infidelity.
And yet another portion of the answer has to come in the area of forgiveness. We are all human and therefore we will all make mistakes from time to time. That's a given. But the challenge comes in how we deal with our mistakes and those of others. Are we willing to admit when we're wrong? Are we willing to grant forgiveness to others when they admit their wrong doing and ask for forgiveness? If we keep the fact in mind that God has or is willing to forgive us for any and every sin we have or will commit then there should never be a time that we are not willing to grant forgiveness to someone else. To not forgive others when we have received forgiveness is to mock the forgiveness God has granted to us, and puts us in a place where we hold a different standard for forgiveness than God has.
In closing, I believe what we need more of is a healthy symbiosis within our marriages and even our friendships. Symbiosis is basically a cooperative relationship that is mutually beneficial to the parties involved. Symbiosis implies balance where one part is not taking more than they are giving. It is my prayer that we will not allow Satan to destroy the sacred institution of marriage any more than he already has. I pray that we will deepen our relationship with the Lord more and lean on Him and His holy word to know how to be givers and forgivers in our relationships. May the Lord teach us to not be selfish, greedy, or lustful, but rather content and generous. By God's grace may we cherish our spouses and the relationships that God has blessed us with.
Thank You for creating us for relationships both with You and others. Please forgive us where we have not given our best to each relationship and please teach us to live Your principles and not the loose morals of this evil world. May the Holy Spirit guide us each day is my prayer in Jesus' name, Amen.