Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Marriage is a school of virtue

There's a fantastic statement of the theology of marriage in Andrew Peterson's beautiful song "Dancing in the Minefields". First, the video:

Now the text I'm particularly interested in:
"I do" are the most famous last words,
The beginning of the end.
But to lose your life for another, I've heard,
Is a good place to begin.
Cause the only way to find your life
Is to lay your own life down.
And I believe it's an easy price
For the life that we have found.
What I like so much about this is how he takes an old joke about marriage and turns it on its head, drawing out of it Paul's comparison of marriage to the love of Christ. He then alludes to the sayings of Jesus that there is no greater love than to lay down one's life for another, and that whoever loses one's life will find it again.

Marriage is the merging of two lives into one - "and they twain shall be one flesh". It is a school of virtue that teaches each partner to extinguish the need for supremacy by learning to submit to one another. When both learn to lay down their own lives they are given back a new, joint life that far surpasses the previous relationship characterized by striving wills. They learn to find their fulfillment in each other.

It's a risky business. We don't want to hear that we will be required to put aside our own interests, even sacrifice some things we think are necessary for our happiness, so that the relationship may flourish. We want it on our own terms - but it doesn't work like that. But, as Peterson says, "it's an easy price for the life that we have found".

(By the way, I recommend Peterson's entire album, "Counting Stars".)

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About Me

I'm Rachel's husband and Darcy's daddy. I'm a Hoosier, an accountant, and an Episcopalian. Politically, I'm a progressive who believes in the preferential option for the poor. I use the blog as a sort of journal - to interact with my reading and sketch out ideas.