Friday, January 25, 2008

MARRIAGE: Separation is not the answer!

"The LORD God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man. The man said, "This is now bone of my bones, And flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man." For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh."
Genesis 2:22-24
John Wesley Powell is a name not well recognized today … he was the one-armed, Civil War hero-explorer of an American national treasure, The Grand Canyon and it's great Colorado River.

Something not well known by many people is a place Powell named “Separation Rapid.” This is where three men separated from the main party and attempted to walk out of the canyon by themselves.

What precipitated this separation? A major dilemma! The Powell party had earlier lost one of its four boats and over half their food to the river. The rapids they now faced were more menacing than anything they had previously encountered.

Normally they “portaged” (i.e., carried) their huge wooden boats around such difficulty, but here it was impossible. Two choices were available to the explorers: 1.) abandon the exploration and walk out, into uncharted and hostile territory; 2.) face their fears and plunge headlong into the rapids, trusting themselves to make it.

Three chose the former, while the seven remaining men chose the latter. To everyone’s surprise the rapids only had the appearance of omnipotence; within minutes they cleared “Separation Rapid,” unscathed and with all their provisions. The three separators were never heard from again.

Many times marriage presents seemingly impenetrable obstacles which in fact have only “the appearance of omnipotence.”

In many cases it is true that the couple cannot “portage” their marriage around the obstacle. However, facing their fears and forging ahead, trusting in the grace of God [Matthew 19:26; 2 Corinthians 12:9], may bring a Grand Canyon-like surprise. Taking the “separation” route in marriage is fraught with danger, many have taken it to their great detriment.

When couples come seeking my counsel I remind them a marriage is similar to a front lawn, right out there in the public’s eye: if it’s nurtured and maintained it will serve them all the days of their lives, even though some must periodically be cut nearly to the roots; if ignored, abused, or trampled on it will die.

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