The Math of Marriage

Math is a big part of marriage. Addition, subtraction, multiplication, [hopefully not] division, and even some algebra and geometry. Don’t believe me? Consider this important teaching (a.k.a. marriage counseling) from the Word of God.

1. A strong, God-honoring marriage begins with some addition.

And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him. (Genesis 2:18)

From the beginning of time, God announced in clear terms that He intended for men to marry. Why? Because He created a man incomplete, needing a wife to partner with him in life, work and service. For this reason, single men should not be scared to marry. While they must patiently, prayerfully wait on the Lord for the right spouse at the right time and should prepare themselves personally and financially, they should understand that marriage is a good thing, not a bad one. It enhances your life and enables you to be more effective, according to the plan and design of God.

2. A strong, God-honoring marriage requires some necessary subtraction.

Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife. (Genesis 2:24)

When God adds a wife to a husband, he subtracts each one from the families who raised them. A marriage forms a new independent union. Though a married couple may readily seek advice from their parents, they should learn to make decisions between themselves. Though parents should provide biblical guidance for their children in seeking a spouse, they do not exercise authority over their children once their children are married. And their children should not depend on their parents for financial support, housing and other benefits. In this way, marriage requires healthy and appropriate subtraction. But there is another kind of subtraction that must also occur.

They shall be one flesh. (Genesis 2:24)

How do two become one? By subtraction. Two minus one equals one. So when you marry, you subtract yourself from your parents’ home. But you also subtract yourself, too. How does this work? As a single person, you care for yourself, meeting your own needs and finding your own way into God’s will. You develop personal interests, preferences and habits. But when you marry, you must leave these things behind, choosing to live for the interests, preferences and habits of your spouse instead. Living to serve your own interests will prevent a healthy marriage. And living to serve your own interests plus the interests of your spouse will also prevent a healthy marriage. You must subtract your selfish interests and meet the interests of one, which is your spouse.

3. A strong, God-honoring marriage often produces some multiplication.

And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply. (Genesis 1:22)

God loves children. With this in mind, my mother would often say, “I was never good at math, but multiplication as a mother is one kind of math that I can do!” Some marriages produce children, whether few or many; other marriages do not. Ultimately, God is in charge of the multiplication process. But one thing is clear. God loves children, and they are not a curse or hindrance. In fact, children help you work on your subtraction, the subtraction of self that I mentioned previously. Are you married? Ask the Lord for children and trust Him with the results. God loves this kind of math.

4. A strong, God-honoring marriage will say no to division.

What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. (Matthew 19:6)

This is the sad fact of marriage. From the beginning of time and God’s creation of marriage, Satan has diligently endeavored to divide marriages. Whatever the reasons may be, God does not condone the division of a marriage. He makes it very clear that marriage is neither a game or an experiment. It is a lifetime commitment. My father’s parents were married for 72 years. That’s a long time! And that’s a good, God-honoring goal for any marriage.

Communication problems. Financial problems. Forgiveness problems. Communication problems. History problems. Moral problems. Communication problems. Schedule problems. Selfishness problems. Trust problems. And did I say, communication problems? Whatever factors threaten to divide you from your spouse, get the help you need and learn to overcome them. Get biblical counsel and follow biblical principles, trusting in Christ. Let nothing divide your marriage. This is one kind of math that God hates.

5. A strong, God-honoring marriage follows a very important three-part equation. I call this the algebra of marriage.

Ecclesiastes 4:9, 12 – Two are better than one … and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

A strong, God-honoring marriage requires three people, not two: x+y+z = 1. The husband is x. The wife is y. And Jesus Christ as Lord is z.

Jesus Christ provides the third party that every marriage requires. This third party is not your parents, another friend at work, your children or even your pastor. This third party is Jesus Christ.

You see, as in geometry, marriage is not merely a flat line, with a husband on one side and a wife on the other. It is a triangle, with Jesus  Christ at the top. A marriage without Jesus at the top and center, as the focus and master of the relationship, is a marriage with no real point at all. That marriage will be focused on flat, earthbound pleasures and selfish interests alone. But a marriage with Jesus at the top and center, points upward to the love and grace of Jesus every moment and every day. And that’s the point and purpose of marriage. Christ!

When you understand the math of marriage, you will learn to depend on Christ, follow Christ, appreciate Christ and enjoy Christ in a far more significant way through the experience of marriage to your spouse. And your spouse will experience the reality of Christ through you, which is what they need far more than you will ever realize.

So remember this important math from the Word of God. This math isn’t easy, but it always works. And Jesus Christ is always ready to make this possible as you trust and obey His Word throughout your marriage journey.

 

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