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Ask A Pastor

Q: What is the importance and purpose of marriage?
A: One of the best summaries around is this one from our Book of Church Order:

“Marriage was instituted by God himself in the time of man’s innocency and uprightness…as [God] created woman of man’s own substance and brought her to the man. Our Lord Jesus Christ honored marriage by his presence at the wedding in Cana of Galilee. And He confirmed it as a divine ordinance and a union not to be severed when he declared, ‘Therefore, what God has joined together, let not man separate’ (Matthew 19:6). Moreover, the apostle Paul set forth the sacred and exalted nature of marriage when he likened it to the mystical union that subsists between Christ and His Church.

The purpose of marriage is the enrichment of the lives of those who enter into this estate, the propagation of the race, and the extension of Christ’s Church to the glory of the covenant of God.”1

To summarize, it is important that we as the church work to redeem and sanctify the union of marriage for these reasons: 1. Because God thought it was important—anything he values, we should value. 2. It is likely the most vivid illustration of our union to Jesus—marriage helps us better understand God’s relationship with us and our relationship with him. 3. It is a vital part of God’s plan of redemption—the Book of Church Order explains that, among other things, marriage makes our lives better, properly expands the race of man and ultimately displays God’s glory through the work he does in covenant relationships.
1 PCA Book of Church Order, Appendix B, Pg. 80

Q:What is the difference between love and infatuation?
A:To better answer this question, let us first clarify what the similarities are. Love and infatuation both involve emotions and feelings. They both involve intimacy and often romance and both involve affectionate regard. Also, love and infatuation both lead us to want to express our care for the other person through means of affection (i.e. physical affection, gift giving, quality time). However, as one determines the difference, it is vital to understand that love is primarily concerned about something that infatuation is not—the other person. The truest way to narrow down and figure out whether a relationship is based on infatuation or love, is to ask heart questions about one’s motivation and drive in a relationship. Why do I care for this person? Is this relationship more about me and my needs than it is about my partner’s needs? What is my goal in this relationship? What kinds of sacrifices am I truly willing to make for the other person in this relationship?

To think about it biblically, the distinction between love and infatuation is drawn from the principles of a loving relationship that Paul details in 1 Corinthians 13 and also in Jesus’ command, that there is no greater love than to lay one’s life down for their brother. According to Paul and Jesus, true love (not infatuation) is active and moving, and is deeply concerned about the good and the praise of the other person. Love is verbal and meaningful and it always works itself out through the service of the other and dying more and more to self.