From my quiet time with God today.
Jesus was once told by some Pharisees that, through Moses, God had allowed men to divorce their wives.
Mark, the gospel writer, then tells us this: "'It was because your hearts were hard that Moses wrote you this law,' Jesus replied. 'But at the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female.’ "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh." So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” (Mark 10:5-9)
God allowed for divorce because human beings, by virtue of our sin, can have hard hearts. Hard heartedness can lead some to spouses to commit adultery, perpetrate abuse, get involved in addiction, and so on. Under the circumstances that exist in our fallen world, divorce may become inevitable.
But, Jesus says, God had clear intentions for marriage, a covenant that the Bible often compares to the sacred bond between Jesus and those who trust in Him as Savior and God. From the beginning, Jesus says, marriage was meant to be joining of husband and wife to become "one flesh."
Our marriages don't always meet up to this ideal because, after all, as people born in sin, we can all be hard-hearted.
Marriage, the covenant of wife and husband, can sometimes be a challenge. But marriage is nonetheless, a good and blessed thing.
Our Lutheran tradition's most commonly-used marriage liturgy says: "Because of sin, our age-old rebellion, the gladness of marriage can be overcast and the gift of family can become a burden. But because God, who established marriage, continues to bless it with His abundant and ever-present support, we can be sustained in our weariness and have our joy restored."
Marriage, as God intended it, is taking a beating these days. But when it's done God's way--a wife and a husband joined by God in a covenant of one flesh--marriage can be a blessing even to we who are afflicted (and afflict others) with our hard hearts.