Who keeps the music playing?
The ultimate question in the back of the minds of anyone who is married is will it last? Will we live out our lives together through to end and leave a legacy for our children’s children? This is a good question. More to the point though, is who will make it last? This consideration can be obscured by two things that could end up derailing the best of friends: being blinded by the newness of romance or by the notion that it is all up to us. If marriage is only based on romance then what happens if the romance grows cold? If it is all up to us then it’s all the more easy to conclude that if one of us fails, it just can’t work anymore. The problem with both views is that they’re based on humanistic underpinnings without roots in the Word of God. But if God is our focus, and his design for marriage central in our hearts and minds, though we at times may fall, we will not fail. How can we know this for certain? Is this a realistic expectation?
The answer is a definitive YES, and here’s why. As alluded in our book, “The Music of Marriage,” we answer the question by way of a musical analogy. If you’ve ever watched an orchestra perform you know that the success of the performance lies not only in the musicians but in the maestro directing the performance. The music of marriage, as it were, is masterfully written and composed by God, and we who have taken our vows before him are privileged to be the performers. The magnificence of marriage is that we have the ultimate composer who wrote the perfect score and directs us throughout the entire performance. Our author also provides the tempo and rhythms that guide us through the desired ups and challenging downs. These rhythms, along with discordant chords in the music push us to resolve the dissonance; likewise, the marriage commitment pushes us to resolve conflicts, returning us to the central theme of the song. The reason being is that our mutual commitment is not based on love, but on a covenant of companionship. The background for this, found in Genesis 2 and Mark 10, is provided in our blog “Is Love The Basis for Marriage,”
When God does his part and we do ours
The score God wrote for marriage has a way of pushing us toward Sovereign dependency. God’s purpose is to support the music where the beat goes on to the lasting fulfillment of marriage. We are not the author and composer of marriage—nor are we the director of the orchestra—we are the orchestra. Our only job is to do our part and to allow the “Maestro” to do his. Once we say “I do,” we are no longer auditioning for the part; we are on stage as performers awaiting every cue by the Maestro. Understanding the distinct role relationship between husband, wife, and God is critical for a realistic view of marriage. The reason being is that our focus is on God and his directives to fulfill our responsibility to our spouse, rather than on our spouse and their responsibility to us—or worse, on me and my responsibility to myself.
Certainty comes from faith grounded in continuity.
So our confidence is grounded not in our abilities, or in our understanding the needs of our spouse, but in the certainty of the work of God which cannot be diminished by time or circumstance, nor its permanence easily dismissed.
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Jeremiah 29:11 NIV
For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.
It’s in the context of a certain future that the marital relationship provides the fertile soil for three critical dynamics:
- Aligning expectations—because we both are playing our parts from the same composition, we know the score, and we are in perfect harmony.
- Mutual understanding—because we both have supporting roles to fulfill.
- Sacrificial love—because the music will never move anyone if it is played without the dynamics and passion observed one when lays down their life for their closest companion.
Co-Author of The Music of Marriage