When I prayed about writing this devotional, I began to think about marriages in this month of June when weddings abound and new husbands and wives begin their lives together.
I’m going to go out on a limb and say that every author on this site, and all of the readers that love this time period, have, at one time or another, wished they lived in the Regency era. (Of course, I know that had I lived then, I would certainly have been a tenant farmer’s wife at best or a scullery maid at worst; never one of the upper ten thousand!)
But, I can still daydream about reforming a handsome rake and having him declare his undying love for me while staring at me adoringly for the rest of my life. Now, however, my husband has gone a little gray, gained a few pounds around the middle, and almost never wears his top boots or carries his riding crop in the way of my dashing Regency husband.
Although almost all of our books end up with the hero falling hopelessly in love with our heroine; the truth is, in Regency times marriages were more likely arranged by the young couples’ parents, negotiated to combine estates and titles, or because one had to fill the empty coffers of the other. Today, the majority of marriages begin with love and are the sole decision of the two parties; no parents in sight.
In the Regency era, divorce rarely occurred; it was social suicide, and wives had to look the other way if their husbands decided to take an opera dancer as a mistress. Today, the divorce rate has skyrocketed and infidelity seems rampant along with workaholics, alcoholics and spendaholics. Keeping up with the Joneses in material possessions almost puts the Prince Regent to shame!
But if we read God’s Word, we realize men and women have gotten marriage wrong since Adam and Eve and the fall. Their union was shared in the Garden of Eden, walking beside God, Himself. Theirs was the perfect example. Yet after the fall, God still gives us direction on what marriage should be.
Genesis 2:24 – “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”
Mark 10:9 – “Therefore what God has joined together, let no man separate.”
Ephesians 5:22-23 – “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church…”
Ephesians 5:25 – “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and
Hebrews 13:4 – “Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled…”
I Peter 3:3-4 – “[Wives] do not let your adornment be merely outward…rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit.”
I Peter 3:7 – “[Husbands] likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife…heirs together of the grace of life.”
God’s marriage made husband and wife one, never to separate. He gave us instructions on how to relate to one another, and where to keep our focus. God’s plan is that we never stray from our spouse, ever. And He asks of wives a gentle and quiet spirit while the husbands give us honor and understanding, heirs together.
But we live in a fallen world, and none of us can keep that blueprint for a perfect union all the time. So we see that while the grass always looks greener on the other side, our Regency counterparts didn’t have it any more together than we do today.
But I am thankful that God gave us that blueprint and His forgiveness when go outside those lines. And I think I will go give my far-from-Regency husband a hug!