Monday’s Column: Neal At The Cross

Neal Pollard

Caitlin Flanagan wrote an article in TIME magazine entitled, “Why Marriage Matters.”  She begins by saying, “Buffeted by affairs and ennui, the intact, two-parent family is under assault. What America needs to get over its commitment issues. (Hint: it isn’t love)” (7/13/09, p. 45).  What was so fascinating about the article was that, whether sociologists, feminists, domestic policy-makers, or other experts, they all came to the groundbreaking conclusion that children are healthier, more successful, and more productive who come from intact, two-parent homes.  Flanagan kept returning to that conclusion, even as high profile cases of infidelity were offered to show how the guilty were selfishly putting their own ideals and needs about what their families truly needed.

While I believe that it is possible for a marriage to grow more romantic, satisfying, and enjoyable each and every day of one’s married life, such is a tangible benefit of the hard work and effort invested in marriage.  It is neither automatic nor an entitlement.  It is not to be “persevered” or patronized only so long as I am having a good time, get my way, or reap the “rewards” of it as I, subjectively, decide I should.  No doubt, God created marriage to provide companionship and suitable help (Gen. 2:18ff) and a legitimate sexual outlet (1 Cor. 7:1ff).  It is enriching and even thrilling to look back over years of partnership and see in one’s spouse the depth of intimacy built by shared time and experience.  God certainly depicts a loving, close relationship in marriage as the ideal toward which to be striven (Song of Solomon, Eph. 5:22-33; 1 Pet. 3:1-7).  However, first and last, marriage is a lifelong commitment, an ongoing fulfillment of a vow made to and before God Himself, and a relationship that can be severed with God’s approval only under extreme circumstances.

Flanagan had so much good to say about marital partners considering how vital their staying married means to raising well-adjusted, optimally-functioning children.  She hits the nail on the head regarding the deep-seated, lasting negative effects of divorce upon families and, ultimately, society.  Yet, while it may only be a matter of semantics, I disagree with her premise.  Staying married is about love.  It is about knowing how to love, God’s way, and intentionally, intensely, and indefinitely, nurturing and growing that love in the marriage.  Love involves duty, but it is so much more than that.  It is an act of the will more than a flutter of the heart. Yet, its payoff for marriage gives a man and a woman a lifelong glimmer of light that burns brighter even as the lights of our own lives gradually dim.  Let us love our spouses with biblical love and watch the seismic effects for good upon the home, the church, and the culture!

7 thoughts on “WHY STAY MARRIED?

  1. Mr. Pollard,
    You’re an excellent writer and I very often find your articles quite encouraging. This one was particularly good and I think it is much needed today. Thank you for all your efforts!
    Erynn Sprouse

  2. Great article Neal!!! (Sandy and I just celebrated our 55th anniversary. I married an angel.)

    Your article reminds me of something I’ve told counselees for may years: When a father leads and loves biblically, his children learn how to lead from a mature, loving standpoint. When a mother follows the lead of a loving husband and submits biblically, her children learn the precious art of being in proper submission to their dad. As a result, those children most often do very well in life because they know how to be in respectful submission to an employer and when they advance, they know how to respectfully treat employees under their leadership. They live what they have learned/experienced at home.

    Thanks for all you, and your family, do for God’s kingdom.

    -Ray Wallace Formerly of Dahlia St. in Denver Now at Pine Valley in Bayfield, CO

    ==================== “Persecution for opinion is the master vice of society.”

  3. Neal,

    Time no longer has that full article. Do you have a link for me to reach it?

    Your brother, Gary ________________________________

    1. I typed in her name, Time Magazine, and the date. This is what they gave me. Originally, I had the hard copy of the magazine. I never subscribed to the magazine, so it was either given to me or I read in either in travel or in a waiting room. Don’t have the original.

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