Marriage as God designed it is like a precious gem. First of all, it develops over time. Diamonds don’t form in ten years; they require millennia. It takes only a few minutes toget married, but building a marriage requires a lifetime. That’s one reason why God established marriage as a permanent, lifelong relationship. There must be sufficient time for two people with separate and distinct backgrounds and personalities to becomefused together as one flesh.
Secondly, godly marriage becomes stronger under pressure. A diamond is the hardest substance on earth. Millions of tons of pressure over thou- sands of years fuse and transform carbonized matter into a crystal that can withstand any onslaught. A diamond can be cut only under certain conditions and using specially designed tools. In a similar way, external pressures temper and strengthen a godly marriage, driving a husband and wife closer together. Just as pressure purifies a diamond, so the everyday problems and challenges of life purify a godly marriage. A husband and wife face the pressure together. The harder things get, the stronger their union grows. Marriage fuses two different people into one so that under pressure they become so hard and fast that nothing can break them.
Godly marriages and worldly marriages respond differently to pressure. In the world, when the going gets tough, partners split up. Like those two pieces of wood glued together, they are bonded but not fused. The heat and pressure of life break them apart. That same heat and pressure fuse a godly couple together so that their marriage grows ever stronger, until they become inseparable and unbreakable.
Marriage is never just the coming together of two people, but a collision of their histories. It is a clash of cultures, experiences, memories, and habits. Marriage is the beautiful accommodation of another lifetime.
Building a strong marriage takes time, patience, and hard work. One of the hardest adjustments anyone faces is moving from single life to married life. Let’s be honest: People do not change overnight. When you marry someone, you marry more than just a person; you “marry” an entire family, a complete history of experiences. That’s why it is often so hard at first to understand this person who is now sharing your house and your bed. Both of you bring into your marriage 20 or 30 years of life experiences that color how you see and respond to the world. Most of the time you quickly discover that you see many things quite differently from each other. Difference of viewpoint is one of the biggest sources of stress and conflict in young marriages. Adjusting to these differences is critical to marital survival. Unfortunately, many marriages fail on precisely this point.
Over time and under the pressures of daily life, a husband and wife come to understand each other more and more. They begin to think alike, act alike, and even feel alike. They learn to sense each other’s moods and often recognize what is wrong without even asking. Gradually, their personal attitudes and viewpoints shift and move toward each other so that their mentality is no longer “yours” and “mine,” but “ours.” This is when the gem-like quality of marriage shines most brilliantly. Fusion creates oneness.
A godly marriage is like a precious gem in another way as well. Normally, we don’t find gems simply by walking along looking on the surface of the ground as we would searching for seashells on the beach. To find gems, we have to dig deep into the earth and chisel through hard rock. In the same way, we will never obtain God’s kind of marriage simply by going along with the crowd, doing what everybody else does. We have to dig deep into the heart of God to discover His principles. Precious gems are rare and so is a genuine marriage. There are no shortcuts, no easy “1-2-3” formulas. We have only God’s Word to instruct us and His Spirit to give us understanding and discernment, but that is all we need.
Rarely will we find anything of true value simply lying on top of the ground. The “good stuff” is most often found deep down where we have to work to get at it. A good marriage is something we have to work at; it doesn’t happen by accident. Just as a precious diamond is the final result of a long and intensive process, so is marriage.
So what is marriage? Marriage is a God-ordained institution, a lifelong relationship between one man and one woman. Over time and under the heat and pressure of life, two people under the covenant of marriage come together and are lost in each other to the point where it becomes impossible to tell where one leaves off and the other begins. Marriage is a process, a fusion of two distinct and different elements into one—a sparkling jewel of love, faithfulness, and commitment that shines brightly in a world of short-lived fads and impermanence.