So say the P/QF, Christian homeschooling cult people, and the very religious/religious addicts in general about marriage. It was actually said to me, exactly as the title phrases it above, by just about every religious jackass in my ex's world. It's another of those stupid, Christianese lines that now make me want to jump neck deep into a bed of raging fire ants (or do something equally as inhumane to myself) in principled protest. I can only stand so much extra stupidity when I have enough of my own to deal with.
Let's just take a few minutes and look at just how stupid the idea is...
For starters, in the Christian homeschooling movement world, what's the primary change that happens after marriage? The "forbidden fruits" of sex, of course. So I have to ask right up front - when we get to heaven, are we gonna have sex with Jesus? Maybe it's just me, but I doubt it. So the "very picture" is already starting to look like a cheap chalk drawing or a 4th hand velvet Elvis, what with so much of marriage in the Christian homeschooling movement world based on the physical (sex for procreation, then more sex for more procreation - and love being almost exclusively a verb, with those mean ole emotions being so bad and all), and marriage with Jesus being spiritual and love-based (the FULL use of the word/ 75 parts noun or emotion/25 parts verb). Big difference.
Then, let's turn to the bible for a better view of this "picture". Especially since Jesus and the bible are more or less the same, right? Jesus being the "Living Word" and the bible being the "Written Word", right? I mean, ALL of it is God's Word, perfect, Holy, inspired, right? Ok then. Here are some biblical examples of "the very picture"...
Deuteronomy 21:11-13 if you notice among the captives a beautiful woman and are attracted to her, you may take her as your wife. Bring her into your home and have her shave her head, trim her nails and put aside the clothes she was wearing when captured. After she has lived in your house and mourned her father and mother for a full month, then you may go to her and be her husband and she shall be your wife.
So, take a prisoner of war, basically de-louse her, give her ample time to grieve her mother and father (that you quite possibly killed) - which apparently should take no more than a month, then have sex with her, and Presto! She's yours. Hmmm. Picture's getting a little fuzzy. But, on the plus side, this strategy does remove ALL emotional aspects, except her deep, stabbing grief for her parents that you probably killed or that she'll never see again, and it does give you someone to have sex with without society frowning on it.
1st Samuel 18:27 David took his men with him and went out and killed two hundred Philistines and brought back their foreskins. They counted out the full number to the king so that David might become the king’s son-in-law. Then Saul gave him his daughter Michal in marriage.
Wow. Women as property to be purchased with elements of enemy genitalia. Maybe if I'd delivered MFFFIL the foreskins of 200 godless liberal public schoolers things would've gone a lot smoother for me. I mean, if we'd have gone about things biblically and all. To think, the guy who went after these foreskins like a tornado of knives and claws was a "man after God's own heart" - according to the Word of God.
And from the same "man after God's own heart"...2nd Samuel 11 (too much to copy and paste/David and Bathsheba). See a woman you want, then when you find out she's married start an affair anyway, see to it her husband gets killed, then she's yours! Simple as that - except for all the people who ended up dead as a result. This is basically the theme of every other episode of 48 Hours and Dateline NBC - so people are still doing this today! Hallelujah! Right? Thank God we're getting back to the bible here in the USA!!!
And I don't wanna leave out David's boy Solomon, the wisest man to walk the earth prior to Christ, who liked this "picture" so much he posed for it 1,000 times. If he had ANY sex life, at all, with a significant number of these women, he probably needed to be hooked up to a Red Bull IV.
Judges 21:20-23 So they instructed the Benjamites, saying, “Go and hide in the vineyards and watch. When the young women of Shiloh come out to join in the dancing, rush from the vineyards and each of you seize one of them to be your wife. Then return to the land of Benjamin. When their fathers or brothers complain to us, we will say to them, ‘Do us the favor of helping them, because we did not get wives for them during the war. You will not be guilty of breaking your oath because you did not give your daughters to them.’” So that is what the Benjamites did. While the young women were dancing, each man caught one and carried her off to be his wife. Then they returned to their inheritance and rebuilt the towns and settled in them.
Kidnapping and human trafficking! Yes! Duh. So simple, yet so few religious people think to do it. Then, I guess you can just get rid of the lice and stuff like in Deuteronomy 21 and you'll be all set and she'll be the luckiest gal on the planet.
But Lewis! You're taking it all out of context!
Not all that much, really. A little, sure, but not much. Nonetheless, if the "very picture of Christ and the church" is on display in the Old Testament, I think I'll just remain a confirmed bachelor - not that I'd need a lot of cajoling at this point, anyway. That picture would be like "American Gothic"...if the models were toothless meth-heads and were going at each other with their pitchforks.
It's different in the NT you say? Let's take a look at what Paul says, since most Christians are more devoted to his teaching than Christ's...
1st Corinthians 7:32-35 I would like you to be free from concern. An unmarried man is concerned about the Lord’s affairs—how he can please the Lord. But a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world—how he can please his wife— and his interests are divided. An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord’s affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world—how she can please her husband. I am saying this for your own good, not to restrict you, but that you may live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord.
Yowza. For a culture that sees "godly" as something akin to the Congressional Medal of Honor for religion, this puts "godly" under a bright light that renders it "fugly". According to our boy Paul, marriage makes you "worldly" rather than "godly". He's saying don't get married. Geez, Paul, dude, ever heard of "taking dominion"? We MUST outbreed the cultural opposition and all that, so dude, seriously, throw us a bone here.
So, I think I'm gonna just have to go ahead and call bullshit on this "the very picture of Christ and the church" notion of marriage. Truth be told, if you want to go about it biblically, I don't really think you need to go any further than "Love your neighbor as you love yourself" as for something applicable to a marriage, or your "yes be a yes" as far as commitment, because a genuine marriage requires both unconditional love (noun - especially) and commitment (the "verb" part of love comes into play here), and the rest are just by-products of those - sorta like the two greatest commandments.
It's sad when the "institution of marriage" becomes a larger achievement than the emotional attachment, fulfillment, and betterment of the people involved, when emotions become something that can only get in the way of the larger goal, and are only allowed when the larger goal is accomplished - if you're lucky enough to "noun" them and not have to exclusively "verb" them (which is a sucky way to have to live). It's sad when a whole segment of Christianity worships a culture and all that comes with it (the cultural war and its requirements: quiverfull conscriptioning, its bootcamp: Christian homeschooling, its institutions: "godly" marriage and female submission). Not only do the people involved end up screwing the pooch, but so does Jesus. He just gets left with a tab for a party he never attended.
And to think, all I ever wanted to do where my ex was concerned was love her. Imagine that picture. Fancy enough for my living room wall.