Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her.
Signed into law by none other than Bill Clinton, on September 21st, 1996, The Defense of Marriage Act, put forth by Georgia Representative Bob Barr, was a bill, among other things maybe, to protect state's rights. Although it seems that Rep. Barr had good intentions in authoring this 'bill'; at the very out-set, he launched his plan based on a completely false assumption!
'In the beginning', God brought Eve ( not Steve ) to Adam. Although this point has been discussed before, sometimes to death, this is not the focus of this article, nor even of the Defense of Marriage Act. As the Creator of all, and especially of marriage, if anyone has authority over, or owns the institution of marriage, it would be God, you'd think, but most people, Christians even, seem to think that state and federal governments hold this authority. They do not have this authority!
If husbands would love their wives as Paul said, 'as Christ loved the Church', then we would see a lot less divorce. This would be a real defense of marriage act, and one that is Scriptural!
To read the implications, both financial and ethical, of the state or federal marriage license, is like reading a horrible comic strip! The state government of Montana made this statement regarding marriage; 'Marriage is a personal relationship between a man and a woman arising out of a civil contract to which the consent of the parties is essential. A marriage licensed, solemnized, and registered as provided in this chapter is valid in this state. A marriage may be contracted, maintained, invalidated, or dissolved only as provided by the law of this state.' To any real follower of Jesus Christ, this should sound very wrong! A marriage is 'a personal relationship between a man and a woman', yes, but it does not arise out of any civil or social contract, especially not for the Christian. For another thing; marriage, a true marriage, is not by contract, but by covenant!
To make matters even worse, here is an excerpt from a brochure put out by Montana's Human Resource Development on 'The Legal and Financial Implications of Marriage'; 'When you become one of the 13,000 Montanans who marry each year, you enter into a legal contract. There are three parties to that contract; you, your spouse, and the state of Montana'. ( For more information, go here ) Interestingly enough, this information, as far as I could tell, is no longer available ( scroll down to page 7 on 'Marriage & Families' ) to the public: does that tell you anything about its insidious nature?!
Marriage, especially for the believer in Christ, was instituted by God. Others may argue that it is a human institution, and thus, subject to human laws, but for the Christian, there should be no question as to Who has authority over marriage!
Marriage, never minding the modern dictionary definitions of the term, is the union, the making of one out of two individuals ( in a purely spiritual sense ), a covenant where an agreement is made between the two parties to live together as God intended, and to devote their lives to each other and to the Kingdom of God. The contractual nature of today's 'marriage' is akin to placing oneself under the law, again! The main reason, among others, that divorce is so prevalent, and easily obtained in today's society, even Christian society, sadly, is that it has been traditionally, or commonly viewed as a contract, rather than the covenant it is! 'If he/she doesn't keep his/her part of the bargain, then I'm not constrained to keep mine'; 'if he/she does such and such, I can, by rights, do this and that'! Does this sound like laying down your life for your wife?! No; it does not!
The best way to defend marriage is not by asking our state or federal government to pass a law to that effect; the best way to defend marriage, first of all, is to enter into it by covenant, and second, to love your spouse as Christ loved the Church, and gave Himself for her! This is the only true defense of marriage act, and the only Scriptural one!
If Christian husbands and wives would hear and heed this most important fact ( mea culpa ); the Body of Christ itself ( or Herself ) would suffer much less harm, and Christianity would have a much greater impact on society! Let us all, no matter our past history, begin to do as Jesus ( the Christ ) did, live as He lived, and lay our lives down ( on a daily basis ) for the wife of our youth!
Amen, and Amen!
Charles Haddon Shank