Dale Partridge claims that in a marriage where both parties love God, love is overflowing. For couples who do not know God, their marriages are hopeless.
The Bible declares that without a love for God you cannot love others (1 John 4: 7-8). That is, you cannot give what you do not have. You cannot produce that which you have no source. A husband’s love for his wife is simply Christ overflowing to her. Like a waterfall of cascading pools he is filled and she is filled by the only One who can fill. But for those couples attempting marriage without God they are like a riverbed on the suffering side of a leaky damn [sic]. Their marriage is dry, weak, malnourished, and vulnerable. Their hope rests in scrounging for the loose drops of water slipped through by God’s grace in our world. But let us stop sitting with empty cups in front of the river. Dive in, experience the depths, and allow His love to take over.
While I’m sure Dale has good intentions, he is flat out wrong. Just because a husband loves God does not mean he will pass on that love to his wife. And, if a couple does not believe in God, that does not mean they will have a loveless marriage. Dale’s statement is narrow and limited to his point of view – that a Christian marriage is full of love because of God’s love for us.
When I read this I reached out to a friend I know in an emotionally abusive marriage and asked if her husband claims to love God. She said that her husband states to love God emphatically and love her. But her marriage is sinking. His actions don’t reflect his claim that he loves God. And she feels no love from him. So when Dale says if a husband loves God that love will overflow onto his wife, what does my friend do with that?
I know what I would do with that; it would lead me to despair. Both partners state that they love God, but one is incapable of showing love that is supposed to naturally come with the Christian life. I would wonder why God isn’t helping my marriage. Why isn’t God showing my husband how to love? The cop-out easy answer of, “Then he really doesn’t love God,” is not helpful.
Meanwhile, I’ve known several couples who are not Christians that have the most loving relationships. There’s nothing dry or weak about their love and commitment toward each other. Am I supposed to believe that these couples truly don’t love each other because they don’t have God in their lives?
The reason why Dale’s cornerstone answer to a happy- and love-filled marriage doesn’t work; he fails to account for human experience. His statement is crazy-making to an abused wife, and brings false hope. People are capable of showing love, whether they believe in God or not. And, there are people who say they love God, but make the choice to not love those closest in their lives.