THE 4 LEGS OF MARRIAGE
By Mark Driscoll
The next time you sit in a chair with four legs, consider how unstable it would be with only one, two, or three legs.
Marriage is like that. For a marriage to be stable, secure, and solid, it needs four legs. Anything less, and the marriage starts to fall over and crash.
Grace and I are very honored and excited to be teaching at the Real Marriage event tonight and tomorrow. We don’t pretend to have gotten it all right the first time, but we do find great joy in helping both singles and couples prepare for married life.
For a marriage to be stable, secure, and solid, it needs four legs.
Over the years, we’ve done a number of marriage events, but with five kids, a church, and the demands of life we just cannot spend much time away from home, even though we want to help as many people as we can. Subsequently, we are thankful for the opportunity that technology provides to serve people in any place from one place.
In addition to fielding live questions during the event from people joining us live and online, we will be teaching four sessions, talking about couples as worshipers, lovers, friends, and legacy-makers. These are the four proverbial legs on the chair.
The foundation of everything, including marriage, is worship. It cannot be overstated how vital it is that a couple approaching marriage or in marriage worship God together, because your marriage exists ultimately for God’s glory.
However, Satan attacks marriage and has since the beginning. In fact, the Bible opens with a wedding and quickly moves to a war, as Satan did not even show up until after our first parents were married. The reason that Satan so hates Christian marriage is because it is supposed to be a reflection of the gospel, since Jesus loves the church like a groom loves his bride. However, when the Enemy shows up, it is not uncommon for a couple to forget his work and think that their spouse is their enemy, rather than remembering that their spouse is their ally in a war against their Enemy.
The foundation of everything, including marriage, is worship.
Because we both are worshipers and sinners, we are prone to be idolaters. When this happens, a good thing (like marriage or a spouse) becomes a god thing, which is a bad thing. Marriage is not heaven. Your spouse is not your savior. And if the glory goes to the husband or the wife instead of Jesus, it will crush them, because it is too heavy to endure.
On a scale of 1–10, how are you and your spouse or fiancé as worshipers?
Before sin entered the world, there was sex. It was without sin and without shame (Gen. 2:18–25). In God’s design, marriage is for one man and one woman. And your standard of beauty is supposed to be your spouse, which helps safeguard against coveting, lusting, and adulterating.
Once sin enters the world, sex is prone to be seen as a god or gross.
Those who see sex as a god are consumed by it, addicted to it, and ruled by it. Pornography is fuel for this forest fire that is burning down marriages at an unprecedented rate. Sex as God is dominant in the world.
Marriage is not heaven. Your spouse is not your savior.
Those who see sex as gross are often thinking about how gross “sex as god” is, but they forget sex as the real God intended it and redeemed it. Sex as gross is dominant in the church.
The answer to sex as god or gross is to see sex as a gift (1 Cor. 7:3–5). God gives us this gift for a variety of reasons, including pleasure, children, knowledge, protection, comfort, and oneness.
On a scale of 1–10, how are you and your spouse as lovers?
To say that God is Trinitarian is to say that God is a Friend who has Friends. To say that we were made in God’s image is to say that we were made to be a friend and have friends. This is why, even though sin had not yet entered the world, God said it was not good for us to be alone (Gen. 2:18). His answer for our loneliness was a friend called a spouse.
This concept is almost entirely missing in every one of the 187 marriage books that Grace and I opened in preparation for writingReal Marriage. However, we believe that friendship is incredibly vital to marriage. This concept of friendship, and what it is and is not, has transformed our marriage. We often stress to our children, singles in our church, and married couples we know that friendship with your spouse (or potential spouse) is absolutely essential. A friendship is like a garden: it has to be planted, tended, nourished, and weeded for it to be fruitful and alive.
On a scale of 1–10, how are you and your spouse or fiancé as friends?
The first day of marriage is incredibly important. But the last day of marriage is the most important.
Will you still be married? Will you be friends? Will you look back on your life with your spouse smiling or weeping?
Proverbs 13:22 says, “A good person leaves an inheritance for their children’s children” (NIV). What kind of legacy will you leave maritally, spiritually, and financially? Do you have a plan to leave a godly legacy?
A friendship is like a garden: it has to be planted, tended, nourished, and weeded for it to be fruitful and alive.
There are days in every marriage where we are ready to throw our hands in the air, throw our towel in the ring, and throw wisdom to the side. On those days when folly is near, we need to keep wisdom on our horizon and keep walking toward the future that God has given us a vision for.
On a scale of 1–10, how are you and your spouse or fiancé as legacy-makers?