In one of the most touching moments of perhaps my favorite musical, “Fiddler on the Roof,” Tevye — right on the heels of the thuggish attack on the Jews of his village compounded by the turmoil of his daughter’s engagement — famously asks an incredulous Goldie, his wife of 25 years, “Do you love me?” In an incredibly poignant scene, he coaxes her bit by bit from her mood of preoccupied practicality into one of tender sentiment made all the more glorious by virtue of being blended with self-revelation and relieved by gentle, good-natured humor.
For over 40 years, audiences have rooted for Tevye as he prods Goldie for the declaration his heart yearns for. It is an age-old question that lovers, even those married most of their lives, ask of each other: “Do you love me,” or “Do you still love me?” And not just “do you,” but “Why do you love me?” Why indeed?
The audience identifies with Tevye’s quest because it is an inherent part of us all — and they cheer for his success and Goldie’s.
Some things are simply inherent.
Scripture tells us that after God created all things, He did not merely look at the products of His efforts from a great distance and pronounce them to be good, but He sought the company of the human couple He had created.
Contrary to the stern, aloof, harsh, and dictatorial image that many unbelievers hold of the God of Scripture, Biblical scholar Dennis Kinlaw tells us, “The reality is that the God of Scripture seems to like us” — not just love us in some remote, theoretical, abstract fashion, but “like us” in the manner of an affectionate father or lover.
Over and over in Scripture we find the relationship of God to His people being likened to that of marriage.
Thus in marriage we experience first-hand the sort of intimate, affectionate relationship that God desires to have with us; this — along with the fact that the conjugal relationship is the means by which humans share in the awesome enterprise of creating new life — is what stamps marriage as being sacred.
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