That got your attention didn't it? Why is it that almost everyone knows what I'm talking about? It really is a thing. For this post, I will be giving a reason for the power of this phenomenon from within the context of marriage. Sure, those that aren't married may have experienced this, but they are really plundering the goods of marriage; and without the bonds of the marriage vow, there are significant hazards for the sexually active unmarrieds. See the earlier post on waiting for marriage.
So here's the deal. Marriage is a picture of God's relationship with his people. You see it in the Old and New Testaments of the Bible. Marriage is a workshop in learning to love like God loves, and the apprenticeship takes a lifetime of practice. Strong marriages are tremendously important in shaping the next generation and in holding up before the world the daring possibility that Love will actually win it all in the end.
So with just those few (of the many) benefits and blessings of marriage on the table, we next turn to the reality of the spiritual war in which we live out our days here. Believe it or not, the truth is that we live in a spirit-haunted world, and we have enemies in the spirit realm (demons if you like such terms) that want to take us out. One of the key strategies of our adversary is to foment division wherever possible, but especially in marriage. If marriage pictures God's love to the world, then destroying marriages means the world sees less of God's love through that particular window.
Perhaps you begin to connect the dots. But if not....
When we have those arguments as husbands and wives that turn into soul-crushing events that wound deeply, destroy our joy and peace, paralyze our sense of purpose and meaning in life, and push us into bitterness, anger and despair, well then our enemy has driven a wedge into our marriage alliance. If the wedge can be driven deep enough, the marriage will falter and fail. The stakes are very high, and both parties in the marriage are likely wondering at this point if their relationship can recover – or if they even want to try to recover it.
If after a heart-searching time of praying and asking for God's help the couple steps toward each other in humility and repentance, then something powerful begins to churn. If forgiveness is sought, given and received, then the marriage has experienced something spiritually equivalent to snatching victory from the jaws of defeat on the battlefield. The enemy's schemes have been uncovered and overturned and the enemy has been routed. And what do soldiers who are on the brink of defeat do when they pull together and win? They celebrate. Their bonds of friendship are forged more strongly and deeply.
In marriage, when the relationship recovers from such agony as mentioned, there is a sense of being given back your most intimate ally, your closest friend. Sometimes it feels like your life has been given back to you. There is a sense of relief, but there is more. The eyes are opened again to see the unique blessing that the other is and the heart is stirred to want to celebrate that blessing. And what better way to do that than to renew the marriage covenant with what has been called the sacrament of marriage?! The mystery dance is danced again, and the alliance of love is strengthened for the husband and wife to battle side by side for the coming day. It is the consummation of love's victory.