Consumers are protected by corporate trademarks. Trademarks ensure customer satisfaction for goods or services that are purchased, no matter which state or country he or she resides. However, trademark infringement is commonplace, threatening the reputations of legitimate companies as customers purchase goods or services that are inferior or unsafe. Trademark infringements are successful because customers are typically unaware of rogue companies that intentionally mislead people who have come to trust company logos, names or color schemes of their favorite products. Customers expecting to drink a bottle of coke or eat Kit Kat candy bars may be disappointed with these products that resemble the trademark of Coca Cola or Kit Kat trademarks (see graphic 1 & 2). Customers who are tricked by these trademark infringements not only suffer in quality but may also ingest dangerous chemicals or inferior ingredients.
Graphic 1 (Google images)
Graphic 2 (Google images)
Marriage is a product that generates goodness and hope in men and women who enter a covenant of faith, fidelity, and love. Many people would struggle to look at marriage as a product; however, it has a specific design that reflects the values and character of its innovator. God is the innovator or marriage and for thousands of years it remained unchallenged in most cultures and societies. However, over the last decade many competitors have burst onto the market promoting products that in some ways resemble the original. Currently, marriage would greatly benefit from being given a trademark by its creator. I believe that Christian marriage can be represented by either Christ-centered or one-flesh trademarks. The one-flesh ™ marriage relationship represents holy matrimony as a “sacred shelter.” The One-flesh or Christ-centered marriage has been infringed upon by competitors using inferior qualities leading to low customer satisfaction. Unfortunately, many Christians have modeled their relationships after poor copies of the original. Some of these copies include:
- Civil contract – couples agree to share everything, income, debt, and parental responsibilities. Civil contract is a nonreligious ceremony that can be broken for any infraction of the contract no matter how small or inconsequential. In these marriages a spouse may have fulfilled all agreements but his or her spouse may end the relationship at any time.
- Capstone marriage describes cohabiting couples who use marriage as symbols of successful relationships. Cohabiting couples choose marriage following the purchase of homes, establishing careers and parenting children (The Marriage-Go-Round).
- Arranged marriages occur when parents or guardians introduce his or her children to a potential spouse of their choosing (Wikipedia).
- Same-sex marriage includes two men or women in a wedding ceremony.
At first glance these relationships appear to be reasonable expressions of marriage because people assume marriage is by definition all the same. Many cultures attempt to normalize marriage rites rather than distinguish between original (sacred) and secular. Formerly, secular marriage was easily adopted into sacred marriage because the overarching principles were compatible such as life-long commitments to each and family life. Currently, rogue companies have flooded the market with trademark infringements that are largely incompatible with the original.
One-flesh marriage includes life-long commitments between men and women, a common faith in Christ Jesus (Rom. 10), marital fidelity (Matt.19), conjugal love (Ex. 21), financial responsibility (Ex. 21), emotional support (Ex. 21), and living together (Matt. 19). A one-flesh trademark will ensure that couples receive the full benefits and understand all responsibilities of marriage. The trademark would also identify churches that stand in agreement with the Scriptural view of one-flesh marriage.
The following Scriptures reveal the mystery of one-flesh marriage. Ephesians 5:30-33, For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. 31 “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. 33 Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.
One-flesh marriage requires couples to love their spouse as Christ loves his church which means a radical commitment to loving each other. Another characteristic of one-flesh marriage is forming a shared identity that involves each person’s willingness to confess his or her sins or wrongs and to repentance (turning away from self-centered behaviors), making amends which means restoring what has been taken away or withheld such as respect or financial responsibility (2 Pet. 3:9), and forgiveness (2 Cor. 2:10-11).
· Are you willing admit when you are wrong to your spouse?
· Are you willing to demonstrate trustworthiness (accountability) to your spouse when you break agreements?
· Are you willing to be forgiving? The enemy of our soul wants to starve each marriage of forgiveness.
Repentance is a gift from God allowing each person to experience freedom from his or her sins or from being sinned against.