Has not the one God made you? You belong to him in body and spirit. And what does the one God seek? Godly offspring. So be on your guard, and do not be unfaithful to the wife of your youth. “The man who hates and divorces his wife,” says the Lord, the God of Israel, “does violence to the one he should protect,” says the Lord Almighty. So be on your guard, and do not be unfaithful.
Coming to Christ in early adulthood meant that I would spend a number of years seeing my fellow young adult friends pair off and get married. One summer I had six weddings to attend in the span of about two months. I can remember sitting in those ceremonies and thinking of how perfectly matched some of those couples were. In my mind, there was no question that they were godly unions designed by one with wisdom. Yet, a decade or so since that summer, we have witnessed the dissolution of a number of those marriages. What seemed to be orchestrated by the Lord all of a sudden was ended by several strokes of a pen. As one covenant after another was broken, I began to wonder whether I even understood what God desires from us in our relationships.
Some people will say that they have learned everything they know about how to have a good marriage by watching their parents have one. Others will simply think about what they would desire in a mate and then try to emulate that themselves. As I watched relationships crumble around me, conversations often steered to the topic of divorce and remarriage. In all that discussion and all that questioning, I have arrived at one place for my answer. The union between Christ and his Church, his bride, is my example of a godly relationship. This is an eternal relationship with a covenant designed to be fulfilled faithfully. I never would expect Christ to leave his bride for another love, to rescind his covenant with her. If that eternal relationship is the most holy picture of marriage we have, then that must be how it was designed for us to walk it out.
This prophecy given to Malachi indicates that God wants us to form and grow our families to be godly. Beyond the picture of the faithful spouse who will not break that covenant, God desires us to be equally yoked so that our children will be born of a holy union. The design is clear when we view it from the perspective of the advancement of God’s kingdom. He never would want his children to raise ungodly children. He never would want his children to be spiritually united with those who do not love and follow him. He never would want his children who have been spiritually united to then allow division to destroy those unions. He wants the godly to unite with the godly, to honor and respect their covenants, and in that way they will produce families which are godly. Father, clarify and solidify for us the picture of marriage and faithfulness that is true and reflective of the way You have designed the most holy of marriages.