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For the guy with the "smokin' hot wife"

I've been reading Richard Baxter's The Godly Home. In the first chapter, he talks about the reasons for and against getting married. Clearly, the Puritans thought a lot about the pros and cons of marriage. Today, I wonder if some of us don't assume we'll get married, and so don't think a lot about the up side and down side. Either that, or our reasons for marriage have more to do with serving ourselves, and again, we don't think of the down side.

Baxter devotes a lot of words to why one should not get married. He's not trying to be a killjoy; he was, after all, married himself at some point. However, he cautions people to be prepared for the very difficult work ahead. My mother used to say that the issue wasn't the ease of divorce; it was the ease with which people make the commitment to marry in the first place.

Baxter comments about not making outward appearance, and what he calls "fancy and lust" a reason for marriage. In finding a spouse, men are cautioned to think about their future spouse. I liked this part:

... do not overvalue vanity, or think highly of a silken coat, the great names of ancestors, money, lands or painted or spotted face or that natural comeliness called "beauty." Do not judge of things as children but as men, and do not be fools in magnifying trifles and overlooking inward, real worth. Would you thus fall in love with a flower or a picture? Bear in mind what work the pox or any other withering sickness will make with that silly beauty you so admire. Think of what a spectacle death will make it and how many thousands once beautiful are turned now to common earth!

I don't think Baxter was against beauty, but he was pretty clear that young men ought to look beyond beauty. No, we don't have "the pox" today, but we do have other illnesses that are no respecter of persons. Just because a woman is a beautiful 25 year old doesn't mean she won't have cancer, a chronic disease, or an accident that leaves permanent damage. Have you ever seen the physical toll treatment for cancer takes on a person? I have. 

No, it's not wrong to have our attention gained by someone's pretty face, but if we make that the basis of our marriage, then we may be in trouble some day.

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Reader Comments (4)

After reading the lengthy Biblical charge that Rosaria Butterfield quotes from her wedding, I've realized how selfish our (my) motives in marriage often are. Biblical marriage is to look astonishingly different from the world; therefore, worldly standards of beauty and benefit shouldn't factor into the equation at all.

July 16, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMelissa

Yes, I remember that passage from Rosaria. I'm pretty sure my own reasons for marriage were more about myself than about God.

July 16, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKim Shay

Physical attraction is a factor, but couples need to be prepared to love and commit to the whole person for the long haul under all circumstances, which could include double mastectomies with no possibility of reconstruction, prostate cancer, or dementia.

July 16, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPersis

I'll have to look for that book. I would love to read the pro/con list for marraige. So many assume that marriage is the be all and end all of life. My husband and I have said that we wish someone made a plaque with part of 1 Corinthians 7:28 on it that we could give as marriage presents. ("But those who marry will face many troubles in this life"). I know that would be a downer of a present, but it was encouraging early in our marriage to read that and be reminded that marriage is not a cure all or super sanctified state if bliss.

July 16, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAngela

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