Marriage is for more than two

Posted: 14 August 2011 in Understanding Others
Tags: ,
First Dance

In the last four weeks both our children got married. Both happy occasions. Both with lovely
spouses. But even with mother-&-father-in-law behaving properly – marriage is for more than just two.

The Modern Marriage Model is bi-lateral. A contract with just two parties. It is nuclear, narrow, and sometime neurotic. The focus can be on the ideal couple cheered on by the “smug marrieds”, with singles, the divorced, widow(er)s, and gays there to wish well on their friends, but feeling out of it.

In the beginning, there was no marriage. Gen 1: In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. God said let there be light. God said let the waters
teem with living things. Then God said let the land produce living creatures.
And God saw it was all good. God had created a wonderful world that we all know and enjoy together. But…..

….. God wanted to enjoy all this with someone too.

God is relational. He (she?) wanted someone to share his joys with. To talk with. He wanted someone to like and be liked by – as well. He wanted an intelligent, sentient, loving being. He wanted to create man. Gen 1: So God created man in his own image. To be friends, to appreciate each other’s handiwork, and to appreciate each other.

However, God is so big, so profound. Not one for chit-chat. And he often seems busy in other places (in Afghanistan, Somalia, perhaps?). Man is relational too. God knew this. Gen 2: The Lord God said: it is not right for man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him. And God made woman. Woman is God’s final act of creation, His finest work. (And after he made woman – what did he do? He had a rest. He took a day off.) Someone for man to be in relation with, as well as with God. A sort of holy trinity.

Where does the 6-pack of Tennants Bitter come in then? In a way, via Uganda. When we worked in Uganda, friends of our children invited them to spend Christmas Day with them. Then last Christmas, they suggested to us that perhaps we’d welcome that family to Christmas day in our house. Well sure! They were welcome. And along with “Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh”, someone also brought this Tennants 6-pack. I’d never had it before. And it was unexpectedly good.

Our children and their friends have kept in touch with a lot of people, over what is now quite a long time. Not a crowd of people just happening to be on the same  bus to the same party. But a relational network. That kind of household will not be like the Modern Marriage Myth: nuclear, narrow, neurotic, but open, welcoming, keeping friendship connections alive. It can be unexpectedly good.

The Western Model of the fully realised person being a self contained individual: Cogito ergo sum, is the very reverse of that. The rather overused African proverb “it takes a whole village to raise a child” has the correct take on this. Put in other words it says: Because we are – I am. Sure, in Uganda
as society rapidly changes we’ve often seen that this decreasingly applies. But
Because we are – I am, starts in the right place. Let’s be blunt: Cogito ergo
, like cigarettes, eventually is fatal.

This applies wider too. To the Church and society. The Church is relational: with different parts all joined up, likened to a body (1 Cor 12, Rom 12, Eph 4).
Indeed – God is relational in Himself, the Trinity. In God’s very core, the aspects (persons) of the mysterious Divine are in relation with each other.

For many of teh recent English rioters, life is Nike ergo sum. But for the rest of us, Because we are – I am, is the only way to be.


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