Marriage and The Second Law of Thermodynamics (Part I): Something the Universe, Marriages, Campfires and Stars Have in Common – The Need for Fuel

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For lack of wood the fire goes out…

Prov 26:20 (NASB)

Do You Need to Rekindle the Flame?

When we were dating, my wife and I attended a youth retreat together and enjoyed a campfire service.  The fire raged and we all sat around the fire and shared with each other in the group things God was doing in our lives.  I remember looking at her face reflecting the flickering flames and realizing she was my destiny and the woman I was going to marry and devote my life to.  But the flames of that campfire had to be tended; had the fire been allowed to, it would have lasted only a short time.  Keeping the flames going required someone to add wood and stir the coals together igniting the new wood.

As an astronomer, I find it interesting that this principle is found in the birth and death of stars as well as the whole universe.  The Second Law of Thermodynamics basically states that “the universe is constantly losing usable energy and never gaining (”  In other words, if you do not add fuel (energy) to the universe it will eventually lose all its heat and extinguish” just like our camp fire (this is the entropy principle).  Stars also follow this principle; they burn all their fuel and die out (yes, our sun included).

Image: xedos4 /

An interesting astronomical fact is that a star’s lifespan is determined entirely by its mass. The more massive a star is, the hotter it burns, the brighter it is bluer in color), and the shorter its lives. The longest-lived stars are those with less mass, which are also the dimmest. In other words, the more massive (the bigger) a star is, the faster it dies!  Massive stars go supernova and end up as either Neutron Stars or Black Holes and stars like the sun go through phases giving birth to Planetary Nebulae and end up as White to Black Dwarfs.  So what does this have to do with marriage?  Simple, if you do not add fuel to the fire it will go out, no matter how bright or dim it may have once been.

Some marriage ceremonies include the Unity Candle, a part of the ceremony in which a couple take two individual lit candles and combine the flames of these candles into a single flame ; the the two individual candles are then extinguished, leaving the single Unity candle lit as an illustration of their commitment to each other showing that their two lives are now joined into one.

This is a beautiful way to start a marriage…I think that it illustrates an important truth:

For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.

Gen 2:24 (NASB)

The unity candle is also a good illustration of a central fact: if the candle is not tended, it will not stay lit.  I know of no instances where the unity candle remained lit longer than the ceremony, and if they did, keeping it lit without constant attention would be impossible.  The flame, eventually, would be extinguished.  If some breeze or wind didn’t come along and blow it out, the candle would burn all its fuel (the wax as it melts) and the flame would go out.  This is marriage…a marriage needs constant tending and fuel or it will be soon extinguished.

Image Marcus74id

The majority of marriages that occur today will end within 8 years.  The flame goes out and the marriage ends.  They all started with brilliant prospects, but along the way, they ceased to be nurtured and the flame is now gone.  No marriage, campfire, or star can survive after the fuel is gone.  Like stars, some marriages simply, quietly fade away, but others end in brilliant supernova explosions, and when this happens, pity the poor fool who is nearby watching its death.  And any planets in orbit around these stars are destroyed in the process.

What about your marriage?  Is there sufficient fuel to keep the fires burning, or have you allowed the fire to dwindle and only cooling coals remain?  In Part II of this article, we will look at ways to tend your marriage in order to keep the fires burning!


This post was written by

kc5lei – who has written 50 posts on One Flesh Ministries.

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