By Ernest O'Neill

There Are Two Types of Marriage

By Rev. Ernest O'Neill

One of the reasons we need to discuss it is because we have failed utterly to distinguish between two types of marriages that exist in our society.  There are two very different types of marriages.  Now, they both stem loved ones, from God’s own plan in Genesis.  So maybe you’d look at that, it’s Genesis 2:24 and it’s right there you know, in the first days of creation that the Creator laid down the plan for marriage.  And it’s from that plan that two developments have taken place: one, that is corrupt; and the other that is correct.  Genesis 2:24, “Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh.”  That was God’s plan.

God was the one who thought up the lovely idea of marriage and the beautiful idea of love is his idea and sex is his idea and we need to hold onto that.  That he started the whole idea and it was his plan.  But the first development that has followed from that is the corrupt version of his plan called civil marriage.  I don’t want to knock it and say it shouldn’t exist; I just want us to see that civil marriage is not the same idea that God had in mind when he made that statement at the beginning.

Civil marriage is a physical and mental joining together of two personalities primarily for each other’s sake.  That’s civil marriage.  It isn’t primarily for God’s sake; it’s for each other’s sake.  They see each other at school, or they see each other at work, and they like the look of each other and they think they’d enjoy each other and so they get together and they marry.  And it’s a physical and mental union and it’s primarily for the sake of each other.  It may have the trappings of a white church wedding.  I think, many times it does in our western society, many civil marriages have all the trappings of a Christian marriage, but inside in the heart of the union it is really just a civil marriage because it is founded on the same selfish love that is at the heart of civil marriages.

Now, that’s one kind of marriage.  The other kind of marriage is Christian marriage and there are so many differences between the characteristics of Christian marriage and civil marriages that it is really important for us to study it this morning and to look at those differences and see them clearly.  So maybe we could just take up from where we started really last day.

The first big difference is the basis of the marriage.  That’s the first big difference between a Christian marriage and a civil marriage.  It’s the basis of the marriage and the basis of the marriage in Christian marriages is not love, but God’s will.

That’s the pattern throughout the Bible.  The people that others marry who are part of God’s family always allowed God to do the choosing and that’s the basis of Christian marriage and it’s from that that real love stems.  Now in civil marriage that isn’t the way it works.  It’s interesting, at the beginning most of us even in a civil marriage or an ordinary non-Christian relationship, it’s interesting that most of us experienced part of the gracious gift of love.  God does try to get us on the right track.  He does try to get us on real love.  He does give us a gracious generosity in our attitudes to each other.

It doesn’t last too long because we then become consumed with what we really want and what we would enjoy, and either that happens during the courtship or it happens soon after we marry.  We stop being interested in the other person, we say the magic has gone out of the relationship but really it is that we have ceased to love.

We have begun to concentrate not on giving which is the heart of love, but we have begun to concentrate on getting. I need you.  I want you.  I enjoy the praise that you give me or the sense of position or importance that you give me as a provider and a father to your children, or I enjoy the security that you give me and the money you provide, and the good home that you’ve given.  Or, we both enjoy the thrill or the exhilaration that we give to each other physically as long as we give it to each other.  And most civil marriages are based on that.