Marriages are made in heaven is an English proverb probably derived from a French proverb from the early sixteenth century. This proverb states ‘les mariages se font au ciel’: ‘marriages are made in heaven‘. A more appropriate one would be ‘Marriages are made in heaven but lived on earth’. An even more realistic one would be ‘marriages are made in heaven but lived in hell‘!
The first implies a spiritual element to marriages in that, God is part of this institution and so is love. This aspect elevates the status of marriage as important and the stature of it as preeminent over all other relationships.
The second accepts that, though marriage has a ‘divine element to it’ and that ‘marriage goes beyond human love to include spiritual love as well“, it still needs human involvement, commitment, responsibility, nurture and forbearance to succeed. Marriage is hard work that needs consistency and a continuum more than anything else to make it work. It is prosaic, down-to-earth, practical day-to-day life, of night and day, light and dark, dawn and twilight, and therefore, it surely cannot be the indulgence of the fainthearted but the venture of the truly brave!
The third is relevant to these times and often the truth, for though marriage has divine and earthly elements in it, yet it indeed has a hellish part to it.
Why hellish? Simply because the enemy of souls is out to destroy it. All the forces of evil muster themselves against it, for God instituted it, God honors it as above all else and God upholds it as the essence of His relationship with His people.
Why hellish? Simply because it seems to arouse all of our selfish nature within us. A pastor once said, ‘You want to serve God, be single. You want to be like Jesus, get married’! Marriage, more than any other relationship, seems to arouse and expose the worst in us since it is the closest, most intimate and most vulnerable relationship of all. It needs the help and nature of God to survive!
Why hellish? Simply because marriages are the backbone of society and are its basic social unit. Hence, marriages are fraught with duties and burdens that tax it to the core. It is homeground of training and rearing of next generation, the succour and shelter of the previous generation and the epitome and embodiment of the current generation!
Compounded with all this is the cultural confusion that exists in its definition today, compounded as it were by the tenets of feminism, male chauvinism, patristic domination, individualism, same-sex relationship and selfish ambition. All these have muddied the marriage milieu, muddled already by family, regional practices and traditions. In addition, the current social and work environments seem so unconducive to marriage per se. All in all, marriage scenario seems to be on the rock, needing special protection, provision and preservation.
Marriage is indeed a work of art, a thing of beauty and a joy forever. It has the challenge of mountain tops and the beauty of quiet valleys, the glories of sunrise and the depths of sunset, the exquisite joy of companionship and the tragic sadness of loss. It has its origin not in the heart, mind and plans of man, but of God Himself. He it is Who conceived it, contracted it & consecrated it. As such, inspite of its pitfalls, it still is worth its wait in time!