Christian married life is a wonderful gift from God. As a man and woman, together before God, make promises to each other of life-long love and fidelity – God promises to bless their union.
Marriage is also the hardest thing any two people will do in relationship with each other. At the heart of marriage is love, but also sacrifice and willingness to be moulded into something much more than she or he ever was before.
As such, it means the breaking down of the ‘individual’ rounded person so that ‘we together’ become a rounded, whole couple who are good partners and good companions together. This leads to further maturity in Christ for each spouse, and a godly maturing of the relationship.
Companionship is a primary theme in the Genesis accounts in the Bible on relationship. Being able to enjoy each other’s company, relax and be at ease with each other all are contained in the idea of companionship.
Companionship is also aided when it is an exclusive relationship between the spouses – leaving the parents, or any other possible dominating influence, and cleaving to one’s spouse is fundamental to a good marriage (Genesis 2:24).
A healthy relationship with parents, loved ones and friends is good for our soul’s health, but it is always in the context of the couple. Sadly, many struggle because of an overbearing outside presence within the marriage. Only when the couple together decide to address any such issues – is the grace and power needed to overcome made available by God.
Companionship is also beautifully portrayed in the Song of Songs, the longing or desire to be with one’s spouse (1:7-10, ‘Tell me, O you whom I love, where you feed your flock, where you make it rest at noon. For why should I be as one who veils herself by the flocks of your companions? – The Beloved – If you do not know, O fairest among women, follow in the footsteps of the flock, and feed your little goats beside the shepherds’ tents. I have compared you, my love, to my filly among Pharaoh’s chariots. Your cheeks are lovely with ornaments, your neck with chains of gold.’ et al.).
Although the imagery portrayed is deeply intimate and charged with sexual meaning, this is still within the sacred bond of companionship within their marriage before God. May such depths of companionship and longing for each other always be the life-long experience of the couples in our church.
Marriage is among many things also a partnership. In some things one spouse will be more capable and equipped than the other to succeed and add value to the marriage. Likewise, the other spouse will have qualities and gifts which surpass in other areas. It is good when the couple recognise and celebrate the wonderful blending of these different skills, gifting and strengths so that the marriage flourishes and succeeds. It is wise to pray that both spouses will commit to allowing the other the room, and right, to exercise their talents, time and gifts for the good of both.
Working together on the further development and perfecting of the different strengths and graces each brings to the marriage is good practice. It requires godly patience and grace as nobody starts off as the finished, completely rounded and whole article.
Couples need insight so that the strengths, capabilities, gifts and qualities of the other, sometimes unbeknown to themselves, are recognised, encouraged and allowed to flourish.
God will match the couples beforehand, and be the One who joins them together developing Companionship and Partnership. May there be a developing, maturing and loving framework established in our church which helps facilitate the development of such relationships.