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A recent Reuters news item sounds at first like a heartwarming story of romance and persistence. "Woman Weds Partner After 24 Years of Proposals." But examined more closely, it reminds us that marriage has been cheapened in today's society.
The story continues, "It took 8,500 proposals and 24 years of candlelit meals before British Beverley Redman finally agreed to marry her partner Keith. 'I'd given Keith many excuses but they could all be summed up in one word—fear,'" Beverley, 40, told Britain's Daily Star newspaper. "I was frightened of committing myself. People who live together for a long time often end up getting divorced soon after they get married, and I didn't want that to happen." Keith, 43, her new husband, said: "I've tried to persuade her with romantic notes left around the house, candlelit dinners for two, trips to Hong Kong and Ibiza and occasionally asking her out of the blue while watching TV."
So far, this sounds like a charming tale of successful romance. Yet the story concludes with a startling final sentence: "The couple, who have a four-year-old son Liam, married last Saturday and are planning a honeymoon in Hawaii."
To those who value marriage and God's commandments, this news item speaks volumes. Many decent and loving people have had a child outside of marriage, but are now trying sincerely to please God, and would be overjoyed to find a happy marriage. But here is a couple, living together, who for four years after the birth of their son put their own selfish desires ahead of the chance to create a stable family environment.
God gave human beings a sex drive so that it could be used to express love within marriage, from which children could be conceived. Proverbs 6:32 tells us that whoever commits adultery "destroys his own soul." Exodus 20:14 could not be more plain, "You shall not commit adultery." Yet so many in today's society think nothing of becoming sexually intimate without making a marriage commitment. They may say that they fear commitment to their partner, but what about their commitment to God?
God created marriage. Ephesians 5:24 shows that our marriage relationships teach us about God's commitment to his people. Revelation 19:7 also shows us that marriage illustrates the commitment that Jesus Christ makes to his church. Does God fear to commit to us? No! Does Jesus Christ fear to commit to His Church! Of course not!
What will four-year-old Liam be thinking when he watches his parents wedding? What will he be learning from his parents' actions? Let us hope that we, as Christians, have understood the role and importance of marriage, for the sake of our relationships with our partners, our children and our God.
I'm Roderick C. Meredith, with commentary for the Living Church of God.
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