No Space Between
By: Greg Mohr
For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.Matthew 19:5–6, New King James Version
The context for this declaration by Jesus about the purpose and abiding state of marriage was the Pharisees asking permission to divorce their wives for any reason. The institution of marriage is on the same thin ice today in our culture as it was then. Every weekday, in courthouses all across our nation, divorces are being granted for no other stated reason than “irreconcilable differences.” In most cases, it is nothing more than a legal, but lame, excuse to justify rebellion, selfishness, and pride.
The Pharisees tried to use the law to justify their carnal and sinful plans for divorce too. “They said to Him, ‘Why then did Moses command to give a certificate of divorce, and to put her away?” (Matt. 19:7, NKJV). In reality they were attempting to use the law to get permission to divorce their wives and trade them in for new models. Jesus responded to them by identifying the root problem.
“Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, permitted you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so.”Matt. 19:8, (NKJV)
According to Jesus hardness of heart is the number one cause of divorce.
I have observed this hundreds of times in counseling sessions with troubled couples. Each spouse can share their heart, their pain, and their perspective with me openly. Yet when they begin to relate to each other, there is an invisible wall set up between them that hinders them from hearing or caring for one another. Hardness of heart has set in and requires a work of the Holy Spirit to soften and break down. The husband many times is oblivious there is a problem until the wall is so high he cannot see over it. And the wife is usually furious that her husband did not see any of the warning signs leading up to this problem.
Instead of waiting for the need to have spiritual open-heart surgery, I encourage couples to be proactive in their marriage by heeding Jesus’ instruction: Leave father and mother and be joined to your wife. And what God has joined together let no man separate. Make your marriage relationship the highest priority in your life, after God. The real thought behind “let no man separate” is to “allow no space between.”Hardness of heart begins when we allow space between the relationship with our spouse. Be careful not to allow your children, parents, friends, jobs, career, or hobbies to create space between you and your spouse.
Two important questions to ask yourself:
- Who or what are you cleaving to? Whatever you cleave to most has the greatest opportunity to cause separation or place room between you and your spouse.
- Who or what is making the greatest deposits in your emotional bank? Husbands and wives are responsible to feed each other spiritually, emotionally, and physically. Be very careful about emotional connections with the opposite sex. Treasure your spouse. Treat them with kindness, mercy, and the highest value and respect. Allow no space between your relationship and your marriage will bring glory to the Father.