In our churches, we tell married couples about the importance of fighting for their marriages. We offer parenting seminars, talk about the importance of staying married, and discuss biblically-defined roles of manhood and womanhood. All of these are good things.
But lately, I have been wondering how well we fight for one another's marriages and relationships. I think its easier for us to offer people principles, prayers, and verses than it is to go to battle for them and with them. It is easier to say to people, "you should really read Ephesians 5" or to say, "This must be tough. I'll be praying for you guys." Maybe we even get a little edgy and suggest some new sexual technique.
But we don't fight for them. We don't move into their lives and invite them into ours. We don't roll up our cuffs and enter the mess of life with them. We keep their messy marriages at a safe, clean distance, just as we keep them from our own messy lives. We spiritualize marriage and how it is a reflection of Christ and the church and meanwhile, lots of people are hopelessly wondering, "What are we doing wrong? Why isn't being married what everyone promised it would be?" And so they suffer. Alone.
We need to enter the fight for one another. Yes, we need to offer to pray for and with them, we need to point them to Scripture, we maybe even need to offer practical suggestions, but it seems to me that we need to put our arms around one another's shoulders and walk together. We need to enter the mess.
James 2:15-16 (NIV84) says, "Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, 'Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it?'" This applies to our married lives as well. If we see a brother or sister who is struggling in their marriage and we say, "go, I wish you well; keep happy in your marriage," but we do nothing about helping them to fight for their marriage, what good is it?
Let's make an effort to go to war for one another in our relationships. Let's wipe one another's tears. Let's bind one another's wounds. Let's journey together.