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Dec 29

“Love” Ends Another Celebrity Marriage

Sinead O’Connor is the latest celebrity to end a marriage just as quickly as it started.  This news seems to have less of a “buzz-effect” as the Kardashian wedding, but both have been shocking to me.  Truthfully, I’m sad about the news.  As I read the letter Sinead wrote on her website, my takeaway was that the couple really didn’t know each other very well, and they really have a broken image of what marriage is really supposed to be; she didn’t want to “trap” him, and ultimately he deserved to be “free” in the name of love.

I’m not doubting that Sinead and Barry didn’t want to be together, and I’m not doubting their intent that their marriage would last more than 16 days.  We were created for community, and we inherently know that being alone is not good (Gen 2:18), and it is obvious they believed in marriage enough to know that they could fulfill their need of companionship and togetherness.

While the circumstances of their problems at the onset of their marriage might have been unique, the fact that there are problems at the beginning (and later on) in marriage is very common.  Here are two people, with different backgrounds, traditions, experiences, and desires uniting together to become one.  If they truly loved each other, and desired to be together, they would need to mutually submit to one another and leave some of the things that bothered the other, and cleave to the hope of what each of them had the potential to become both together and as individuals in their marriage over time.

I’ve been doing more marriage counseling in my ministry lately, and one of the themes that I’m hearing is that real love shouldn’t be hard.  It should be a natural flow, without any challenges, and that true love between each other shouldn’t cause the other to have to change or be unhappy.  Essentially that is what Sinead wrote  when she said she “loved her husband enough to set him free to be happy”.  So, does that mean that she didn’t love him enough to invest into their marriage?  To change the things about herself that bothered him?  To not let someone else break apart their marriage?  All relationships, all marriage and most of all, all love requires mutual submission and sacrifice.  Love is not about getting, it is about giving.  Love is the process in which two people become more like the image of Christ in their marriage.  Love doesn’t end a marriage, love keeps a marriage together.

“Out of respect for Christ, be courteously reverent to one another.  Wives, understand and support your husbands in ways that show your support for Christ. The husband provides leadership to his wife the way Christ does to his church, not by domineering but by cherishing. So just as the church submits to Christ as he exercises such leadership, wives should likewise submit to their husbands.  Husbands, go all out in your love for your wives, exactly as Christ did for the church—a love marked by giving, not getting. Christ’s love makes the church whole. His words evoke her beauty. Everything he does and says is designed to bring the best out of her, dressing her in dazzling white silk, radiant with holiness. And that is how husbands ought to love their wives. They’re really doing themselves a favor—since they’re already “one” in marriage.

No one abuses his own body, does he? No, he feeds and pampers it. That’s how Christ treats us, the church, since we are part of his body. And this is why a man leaves father and mother and cherishes his wife. No longer two, they become “one flesh.” This is a huge mystery, and I don’t pretend to understand it all. What is clearest to me is the way Christ treats the church. And this provides a good picture of how each husband is to treat his wife, loving himself in loving her, and how each wife is to honor her husband…” Ephesians 5:21-33

I’m not writing to judge or condemn here.  I write these words to be honest, encouraging and in support of the institution of marriage.  I hope that there is a change of heart in both parties here, and they are able to get back together.  Most importantly, I hope that we can learn from this scenario about what love and marriage is and could be, rather than going further into a confused and distorted view of marriage.  I celebrated my fourteenth wedding anniversary this week, and I believe that marriage is one of greatest institutions that God has created for us to enjoy.  I’m a better person because of marriage, and I have learned to love because of it.