Marriage is not forever

In Matthew 22:30 Jesus drops a bombshell for all those celebrating Valentine’s Day that “At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven.”

So marriage is not forever. Perhaps male and female won’t be forever, either, because marriage between male and female exists in part to create children. But if marriage for the purpose of producing children is no longer needed, then nor is the need for male and female.

I wonder how that affects the thinking of a man and woman romantically attracted to each other, who want to marry and spend buckets of money on a wedding, knowing that their marriage is only temporary. It’s not “forever and always,” or “happily ever after,” or expressing their undying love for eternity. Their wedding day isn’t the first day of an unending relationship, it’s the first day of a relationship made possible in this life only, to produce children, provide a “help meet” for a man (Genesis 2:18), and to experience how two people can operate as one and feel like another person is part of them (Genesis 2:23). And then at death it ends.

But why would God create such a relationship in the first place that gets us thinking it will last forever, when it doesn’t? And why create a love so strong between male and female that when one mate dies the surviving mate is left pining or incapable of functioning alone? It seems so cruel that male and female fall in love, spend years together learning from and about each other, sharing lots of lovely memories, only to have it all fizzle out into nothing, and not be married for eternity.

And for some couples marriage isn’t that good before it ends, either. Marriage is fraught with all sorts of problems like jealousy, infidelity, unrealistic expectations, personality differences, aloofness, boredom, boneheaded selfishness, depression, and the list goes on. I imagine for some people they’re glad that marriage isn’t forever; it’s painful. Some couples may even spend a lifetime together and be none the wiser at the end of it as to what life and love are all about.

And yet Christ chose marriage as the relationship he wishes to have with us forever. He calls us his bride (Revelations 21:9). It certainly explains why he gave us the desire to love someone forever, and made us think that marriage is forever and always, because what we dream of and hope for in marriage is exactly what he has in mind too, a marriage with humanity that really IS forever and always, and we really DO live happily together ever after.

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