Miles Better than Winning the Lottery
Last night, after the children were all in bed, my wife hit me with a grand slam jackpot. She recounted what my 7 year old son had told her that very day. Out of the clear blue, without provocation or context, he stopped playing with his siblings, approached his mother and said:
“Daddy sure does love you.”
On face value alone, that kind of a statement from an innocent child would make even the most hardened hearts crack a smile. But, as I more thought about and savored that statement, I realized there was profundity there . . . volumes lay just beneath the surface of those simple 5 words. The off-the-cuff statement of a 7 year old was just the apparent tip of a vast and mostly hidden iceberg.
My son’s 5 word statement was a manifestation of what marriage between a man and a woman really is. Unseen beneath the marriage license and the ordinary day to day circumstances of married life is a reality that bridges the natural with the supernatural. In short, marriage between a man and a woman is reflective of the very nature of the Holy Trinity; Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We can say that God is Love precisely because God is Trinity. The Father begets the Son and the love is so pure, so strong, and so unfathomably real, that it is yet another person of the one true God; it is the Holy Spirit. Marriage is meant to be a reflection of that ultimate love of God. It is a sacrament . . . a natural representation of a supernatural reality. Just beneath the veneer of the ordinary is a something quite profound.
To my children, intimacy is a hug. The 7 year old is the oldest of the four and they’ve been protected from the liberal agenda of sexualizing children from an early age. We don’t watch TV. They are homeschooled. All media goes through a parental filter before they are exposed to it. They are children in the true sense of the word. The intimacy that they witness between me and my wife are embraces, mannerly kisses, holding hands, or simply sitting side by side. Sex in the adult sense of the word is not part of their equation when they both witness and live within the institution of marriage.
To be blunt, what people choose to do with their private parts is not primarily what defines marriage . . . not even close. To be sure, it is an integral part of marriage, but it is not the primary purpose of marriage. Wisdom from the mouths of babes drove that point home. “Daddy sure does love you,” nicely captures the real purpose of marriage . . . to love as God loves . . . to elevate human love from the merely natural (Eros) to the supernatural (Agape). In effect, marriage is a preparation and training ground for timeless eternity in the Kingdom of Heaven where we will know firsthand the beatific vision, to see God as He really is.
Although sex is not the prima facie definition of marriage, it does play an integral role. And, it too serves as a sacramental; that is, it’s a manifestation in nature of a supernatural, spiritual reality. The same child who spoke the phrase, “Daddy sure does love you,” serves as a constant reminder of yet another reality of the Trinity and that is, “God is life!” He creates life, and in the marital act of sexual intimacy, man and woman participate in the creation of life. In this way, the sexual union between man and woman in the covenant of marriage is reflective of God. In marriage, we are therefore living, in a natural way, a foretaste of the Kingdom of Heaven. We, through marriage, are graced with a living and experiential knowledge of God as Creator.
In one short, 5 word statement, my 7 year old reminded me that traditional marriage between a man and a woman is an institution worth defending from those who would prefer to see it eroded beyond recognition and/or extinct. Sex is a profound human act embroiled in powerful emotions. It is a thing of sacred beauty. Unfortunately it’s also been weaponized and used with vigor against an institution established by God that was meant to bring us closer to Him. Defining marriage based primarily on sex (and thus, sexual orientation) does just the opposite; it draws us away from Him. To misuse a gift from God (i.e. sex) is the equivalent of shooting ourselves in the foot and then tearing off our own noses to spite our faces. We suffer for it. Any attempted mockery of God always results in humanity donning the dunce cap and suffering the consequences of our own stupidity.
Marriage is love as God loves. It is a glimpse into the Divine Nature as revealed by God. It is a gift from the Divine that already comes perfect. It shouldn’t be tampered with through re-definition . . . and lest I forget, my son’s off-the-cuff statement offered me a poignant reminder of the true purpose and nature of marriage.