Satisfactory Essays
It's a crazy thing to do, really. That two young people should together reach out and take hold of their future in this way--should determine that, come what may, it will be a future together--can hardly make sense. Unless, perhaps, God makes sense of it for us. For the miracle and the mystery of marriage is that God permits us to exercise just a little of his own creative power--to determine this one thing about our future: that it will be a future together. And having permitted us to be as creative as he himself is, God then asks us--and invites us--to learn also to be as steadfast and faithful as he is.

What might God hope to accomplish through such a crazy invitation? God has in mind to get something done in us and to us. Stanley Hauerwas, who teaches theology and ethics at Duke Divinity School, and who almost never fails to be provocative, once wrote that the most basic law of marriage could be stated in a sentence: "You always marry the wrong person."

He went on to explain: "The one thought to be Mr. Right turns out not to be. Ms. Right tends to show up after marriage. But the adventure of marriage is learning to love the person to whom you are married.... Love does not create a marriage; marriage teaches us what a costly adventure love is." He's deliberately made the point a little provocatively, but it is nonetheless true.

Of course, for anyone who is married, it is true that you may not be married now to the person you once thought you were marrying. Five years from now, or ten years from now, the person sitting next to you won't necessarily be the person you thought you were giving yourself to.

So if marriage requires us to choose just exactly the right person ... well, we're in very big trouble. The target keeps shifting. Marrying means promising to be faithful to someone who may keep changing. And so, the church does not ask today, "Christopher, do you love Hannah?" but rather, "Christopher, will you love Hannah?" "Hannah, will you love Christopher?"

Marriage, therefore, exists not primarily to make us happy but to make us holy--though in the long run, of course, there can be no happiness apart from holiness. But it's holiness that God is after. And so in marriage God goes to work on us--begins to teach us what it means, what it will require of us, to love even just this one person as God loves each of us, with steadfastness and faithfulness.
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