Exhortation: The Incompatibility of Marriage

In the 1930’s Chesterton observed that Americans had loosened their divorce laws, so that divorce for “reasons of incompatibility” was now legal. Chesterton quipped: “If Americans can be divorced for “incompatibility of temper” I cannot conceive why they are not all divorced. I have known many happy marriages, but never a compatible one.”

There will always be moments of incompatibility in marriage, but what we do when our incompatibility bump against each other? This is where Chesterton is brilliant:

The differences between a man and a woman are at best so obstinate and exasperating that they practically cannot be got over unless there is an atmosphere of exaggerated tenderness and mutual interest…every woman has to find out that her husband is a selfish beast, because every man is a selfish beast by the standard of a woman. But let her find out the best while they are both still in the story of “Beauty and the Beast.” Every man has to find out that his wife is cross—that is to say, sensitive to the point of madness; for every woman is mad by the masculine standard. But let him find out that she is mad while her madness is more worth considering than anyone else’s sanity.”

Our Lord Jesus did not seek His Bride, the Church, in marriage because they were compatible. The Church had nothing in common with our Lord. In fact, Deuteronomy says it was not because there was anything more lovely about her, but Christ poured his affection on her precisely because of her incompatibility. At the resurrection, Christ and the Bride will be perfectly compatible, but at this stage Christ is still purifying his Bride. And this is why worship can be so difficult, because as a people we do not love Christ as we ought. Our Lord provides this time so we may love him more, praise him more, and be sanctified by His abundant grace. So, let us love our Lord now in worship, even as He loves us.

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About Uri Brito

I am the Pastor of Providence Church (CREC) in Pensacola, Fl.
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