God declares, “It is not good for man to be alone,” Genesis 1:18. Jay E. Adams, reformed theologian and Christian author, comments on this verse in his book entitled Marriage, Divorce & Remarriage in the Bible. He writes, “The reason for marriage is to solve the problem of loneliness…a marriage lacking companionship is headed for misery or divorce. All that jeopardizes companionship must be avoided; whatever promotes it must be cultivated.”
This is the central truth about marriage. While the home is the institution ordained by God for the birthing and nurturing of children, and sexual relations are blessed by God in the marital relationship, neither of these is the primary purpose of marriage. A couple can be childless and still have companionship. Children grow up and move away, but companionship remains. The ability to have sexual relations may be compromised by injury, disease, or old age, but companionship survives. A husband and wife may become too old to make love, but they will never grow too old to love.
Remember when Al and Tipper Gore, his wife of forty years, announced they were separating? Seismic shock waves rippled through society. Newspapers and talk shows were rife with speculation. What happened?
Their marriage seemed to be a picture book example of a good home. They were high school sweethearts. Al and Tipper were twenty-one and twenty, respectively, when they married. Their union had survived four decades of the everyday stresses that attend every household and more. Al served a tour of duty in Vietnam. They almost lost their son Albert when he was six, struck by a car. They seemed to rise above the schizophrenic life of Al’s political ups-and-downs, and Tipper’s bouts of depression to portray an image of wedded bliss.
Al and Tipper’s seemingly idyllic union stood in stark contrast to that of Bill and Hillary Clinton. A relationship that seemed cold and distant in comparison. Whatever passion Bill and Hillary had it was sapped by the infidelity that plagued Bill.
This is why the announcement of their separation, two weeks after their 40th anniversary, stunned so many. Friends close to the couple said they had “grown apart.” Some suggested Al’s frequent traveling championing the cause of global warming might have been the culprit. He won a Pulitzer Prize for his documentary film An Inconvenient Truth.
Marriages may be made in heaven, but on earth they have to be maintained. Al may have championed the cause of global warming, but failed to cultivate the companionship of Tipper. While the planet warmed, his marriage cooled. He may have won the Pulitzer, but lost his wife.
Bill and Hillary’s marriage still seems cold and distant, but they are still married. Al and Tipper in a “mutually supportive decision” (whatever that is) separated. It would seem that even a bad marriage can survive infidelity, but a good one cannot survive the loss of companionship. That is another inconvenient truth.