The Odd Couple
Do you remember the sitcom “The Odd Couple”? Well I have such a couple in my back yard. My two dogs Teva, a German shepherd/Collie mix and Maxwell a Dauchshund mix. Teva is huge and sounds like a horse when she comes running, and Max is small and husky. When Teva barks she shakes the earth, and when Max’s barks it sounds like a little sneeze. Both dogs are so loving, and they both do a great job protecting the property. To see the two of them together is so funny. Teva looks like a tall building next to Max. But they are the best of friends. Teva is so gentle with Max when they play together. Teva will lay on the ground while Max pulls on her ears and legs and jumps all over her. She just stays there quietly letting him play.
You see we got Max as a puppy. He is now 10 months old. When we got Max he was the size of our baby kittens (they were born around the same time), so we kept Max with the kittens. As they grew Max was trying to do the same as the kittens, climb trees, jump off the high wall of the car port, eat cat food. He was confused, not sure what he was. So we decided it was time to put Max with Teva so he could learn to be a dog. We were just a little worried on how Teva would receive Max. At first Teva smelled him and walked around him and then she sat down and just looked at him. Max was frightened at first, but within a few minutes he was jumping and playing with Teva. She shows much patience with him as he jumps and pulls on her. They have been great company for each other. Sometimes Max seems to miss the kittens and I think at one time they missed him. The kittens used to come over to the dog pin and cry for him and him for them. Not too much anymore. I think they are all learning their places.
As I watch Teva and Max play together and spend time together, Teva doesn’t seem to mind that Max is so tiny and she is so big. It doesn’t seem to bother Max either. Why does it seem like animals have better sense than people?
Did you know that God loves odd couples? God really does love odd couples. Our culture constantly promotes the idea of finding your soul mate. That perfect person who is compatible with you on “twenty-three” different levels. You both love long walks on the beach, French poetry, documentaries, and art museums. She is the Yin to your Yang. She is the moon to your sun. She completes you on every level. You share a deep, mystical, soul-mate-ish connection. You look deep into each other’s eyes and instantly know what the other is thinking. You complete each other’s sentences. You have no problems because you both complement each other perfectly.
Now, I’m not dismissing the idea of finding a spouse who is compatible with you at least on some level. If your idea of a perfect life is raising livestock in Tennessee and he wants to live in Korea, you could have a problem. Finding a spouse with common interests is common sense....
He loves couples that have significant differences in communication style. He loves couples that have wildly different hobbies and interests. He loves couples where the husband loves basketball and the wife loves tennis. He loves couples where the wife comes from Venus and the husband comes from an unknown planet in a distant galaxy.
Why does God love odd couple marriages? Because the power of the gospel is put on full display in odd couple marriages.
If you are married, or soon to be married, you are discovering that your marriage is not a romance novel. Marriage is the union of two odd people who arrive toting the luggage of life. And that luggage always contains sin. Often it gets opened right there on the honeymoon, sometimes it waits for the week or years later. But the suitcases are always there, sometimes tripping their owners, sometimes popping open unexpectedly and exposing forgotten contents. We must not ignore our sin, because it is the very context where the gospel shines brightest.
Which leads me to this point. When two odd Sinners Say “I Do” it’s not a depressing thought. It recognizes that to get to the heart of marriage, we must deal with the heart of sin. When sin becomes bitter, marriage will become sweeter. Until we understand the problem, we will not be able to delight in the solution. Grace is truly amazing because of what we were saved from.
I think there’s a powerful application for marriage here: When sin becomes bitter, marriage becomes sweeter. When the sin we bring to marriage becomes real to us, then the gospel becomes vital and marriage becomes sweet.
Sound scary? Sure it does. But the gospel is good news that solves the problem of bad news. The very sin that you fear seeing is the very reason why Christ died in your place. The gospel translates our fear to worship.
My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more;
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!
The next life is taken care of, so why not work on making this one even better? Your marriage can be built or rebuilt upon a solid and enduring foundation. But we must start where the gospel starts; there lies the hope for sinners who say “I do.”
If you are in an odd couple marriage, don’t despair. God is for you, the Holy Spirit is with you, and Jesus is interceding for you. Jesus can give you power to serve and sacrifice. The Holy Spirit can transform your marriage into a piece of divine art. You only need to ask.
Teva and Max have it all worked out. It’s time for us to do the same.