Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The Marryin' Kind

“And another said, I have married a wife…” (Luke 14:20)

At first consideration, this phrase, spoken by a man seeking exception from following Jesus at this particular time, seems rather odd. For instance, to marry a woman who is already a wife would constitute bigamy, would it not? On the other hand, if he is saying, “Now that I’ve married her, she’s a wife,” this would seem fairly obvious, redundant even. But since every word from the mouth of God is worthy of more than a first consideration, may I share with you some of the thoughts that have newly come to me as I read these unusual words from this young husband?

First, whatever else may be said about this man, he was fortunate enough to get not just get a bride, but a wife. There is a difference. A wise young man will look for a girl with the kind of virtues that wears well over time. Long after the girlish body and youthful features have given way to a more “mature” figure and a face with more character than youth, she will be even more attractive and interesting to him than the young girl who caught his eye and then his heart.

Second, I would contend that just because a woman has been married long (or often!) does not mean she’s good at it. I have known young married women who had early acquired the fine art of taking care of a man. Not as a mother (heaven forbid!), but as a true friend, ardent lover, co-laborer in faithful parenting, and a co-conspirator in outrageous fun! On the other hand, I have seen some older wives who seemed as clueless as a teen-ager when it came to making even the most obliging husband happy.

Finally, I will run the risk of being misunderstood now by saying I believe every woman should be “the marryin’ kind,” capable of the give and take necessary for any healthy relationship. This is not to say that all women should be married. The Bible assumes there will be unmarried women in the churches, and even gives instructions about their conduct and how they are to be treated. What I am saying is that singleness should be a matter of the will of God and nothing else. Preference is not a good enough reason. At least, that’s my opinion.

The wise man said, “Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing” (Prov.18:22). And like I said, the operative word here is “wife.”

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