Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Hamburger, Steak & God's Plans for Marriage

September 26 academy award winning actor Paul Newman died. Not only did he leave behind a respectable collection of film work but he was an exemplary philanthropist. His was truly a fascinating and in some ways inspiring life.

Many of Newman’s famous lines from movies and interviews were replayed in the days following his death. Several writers quoted Newman’s line about how it is that he had such a stable long marriage in the face of so many Hollywood temptations.

Newman’s famous response was, “Why go out for hamburger when you have steak at home?”

Certainly that is affirming of his wife of 50 years, actress Joanne Woodward and it causes one to smile. But upon closer reflection note the fallacy in Newman’s thinking.

Joe McKeever raises some great questions: “What if I have hamburger at home and steak is out there somewhere? Is adultery all right if it is an improvement over what you have at home? What if I have, not hamburger, but baloney at home? What if I have nothing at home? ”

God is the One who created and designed marriage and there are many things that God seeks to accomplish in us and in society through our marriages. That’s why it is not really an option for us to “put apart what God has joined together” nor is it acceptable to be unfaithful to the relationship.

But in this reflection I’ll draw attention to just one of God’s purposes in marriage and that is to transform our lives into something like Jesus.

No one has a perfect marriage with a spouse that is always beautiful/handsome, winsome, fun, engaging, delightful, etc. Every marriage demands patience. Every marriage sees one partner hurt the other and need forgiveness. Every marriage faces perplexing issues for which wisdom that is beyond us is called for.

And, every time I look to God and lean upon God for patience, forgiveness, wisdom and a hundred other things, God forms something of Christ in me. There can be many benefits to marriage. One of the greatest is how I experience God in my marriage.

Even if one is married to another that has no place for God in his/her life, I can still powerfully and profoundly experience God and therefore my marriage serves to change my life.

I pray that your marriage is “steak” but more so I pray that God has access to your heart and transforms you because of your marriage.


Anonymous said...

I cherish the work that God has done in my life through my wife and my marriage.

Marriage has helped me to grow more than any other experience in my life.

I may not always enjoy being married and I may not always find my wife likable, but the transformation that has come as part of the marriage covenant continues to challenge and change me (hopefully for the better).

Christ continues to be more fully formed in me a little bit each day as a result of my daily submission to His will.


Anonymous said...

so much is at "steak" if you don't have God in your marriage and in your life. (Sorry for the bad pun, but it was just too irresistible!)