I firmly believe marriage is one of the most beautiful journeys we can ever embark on yet it is one that is absolutely among the hardest. Marriage is serious. Marriage is sacred. Unfortunately our culture has done a stellar job of equipping people for lives that are about happiness and not holiness, being self-serving and not self-sacrificing. I believe God created the idea of family by first thinking of marriage. He created us for community and connection with others. He created us for intimacy with our spouse. He created us on purpose to live our lives with purpose, not just make it through life and die at the end of it. When it comes to thinking about living out a life that he has called us to, for the majority of us, it will include marriage. I know some people who read this may not be a Christian and may not agree with me on everything, but know this: I believe marriage is incredibly signifiant. I want to do my best to remember that God has given me that honor. I hope that the things I say in this are things that anyone can do in their marriage, I just think God makes everything far greater. That includes marriage.
What really is the point and purpose of a spouse? We talk of marriage and even in the church I think sometimes we are confused. I wanted to share my thoughts, even though I’m single and have no clue who my hopeful husband might be one day. I think I have a good idea of what God desires for us in a marriage and from us for our spouse.
Before any other thoughts, understand that your spouse cannot be your god (check out another post of mine: Happily never after). Plain and simple, if you put your spouse, your job, your kids, your health, anything over your love for God, you have terribly missed the point. Love God more than you could ever love your spouse. I promise you, even if you are in a dating relationship, that if God is not your number one and he does not have your love first above your significant other, you have an idol in your life. You may have a good relationship, but not a godly one. Let me be clear on this: going to church, being a good person, reading your Bible, not “sinning”….those things don’t make you godly. They make you religious. Loving God is about knowing that he is your God and you believe that Jesus died for you for your sin. Loving God means you want to do your very best to honor him with your life- your every breath, all that you are, everything you do. Loving God truly above anything else in your life.
I understand for some people reading this, it brings some pain. I absolutely believe some things in life are unforeseeable, terrible, painful, and unplanned. I think that is where God’s grace comes in, even including divorce and remarriage. God is restorative, redeeming, and his grace is perfect. I am sorry if you have gone through such pain. Again, I believe God is a redeeming God and he can still work in you. If you find yourself with a struggling or broken marriage, I am sincerely sorry and pray you find peace and wholeness through God; he can bring you healing.
But I do want to hope for marriage to be something that is before God a covenant- lifelong commitment to try to love your spouse as much as Christ has loved you. A spouse is not just someone you marry. This person is someone you commit to love. Not just when you feel like it. Not just when its easy. Not just when you are “happy”. Not just when its convenient. Your spouse should be the most important relationship in your life second only to God. If they are not the most important person, then you need to reevaluate some relationships in your life. Your children, your friends, your parents cannot usurp the relationship of your spouse. Ever. I’m not kidding. Your spouse may be wrong on something and that’s okay. Talk through it. Fight through it if you have to. But your spouse is your partner in life and you need to have your partner’s back. They need to know you will be there and present for them, with them, and on their side. Part of living out godly lives means you learn to love each other as God has called you to love them. You learn to love them how they need to be loved. You learn to love them despite things you may not like. You learn to see them through a lens of grace and eyes of Christ. Why? Because marriage is something that reflects your relationship with God. When two people come together and are good people, they might have a good relationship, but not a godly one. When a man and woman come together and vow to have a gospel-centered marriage, their marriage will not only be a good marriage, it will be a godly marriage, one that can overcome the tests that will inevitably come. It can overcome any struggle, any battle, any difficulty, not because it is perfect, but because Perfect Love lives in them at their core.
A few years ago I wrote a blog, strangely my most read one thus far, that were honest words from a single. I wanted to end this post by sharing more honest words with you (and summarizing as well), whoever you are, whether you are married or hoping to be one day. Marriage is an amazing opportunity for us to love God by living love out toward another person you.
Here’s what I think:
-love God more than you love your spouse
-daily pursue God by reading the Bible, praying, journaling…something!
-don’t neglect time for yourself and God
-pray with your spouse
-pray for your spouse
-talk about Godthings with your spouse
-be committed in church
-God is redeeming and loving…nothing is too broken for him
-your sexual past doesn’t define you, but it will affect your relationships
-if porn is in your life, do WHATEVER it takes it to remove it
-porn will eventually destroy yourself and your marriage, don’t let it get that far
-flirtations with someone not your spouse may not seem like a big deal now, but if you aren’t careful, you’ll end up going down a dark road
-respect your spouse enough to place up boundaries with other people in your life, especially those of the opposite sex, former relationships, and people who you just might need space from because its better that way
-respect your spouse’s concerns and worries
-be patient with your spouse’s insecurities, fears, worries
-work on your own insecurities, fear and worries by seeking God and wise counsel
-be your spouse’s biggest fan and greatest advocate
-be a solid support for them
-listen, don’t just talk
-do things they want to do, even if you don’t
-do things for them, just because
-never make them feel uncomfortable, that includes sexual behaviors
-fight for your spouse, always
-fight with your spouse, not because you want to fight, but fight instead of giving up because they are worth it
-make necessary sacrifices to better love them
-take time out of your schedule for your spouse
-never stop dating them
-remember, everyday the vows you said before them and God
Marriage isn’t always easy. It isn’t always glamorous. But a spouse is someone who God has brought alongside you. Don’t waste the moments you have. Learn everyday to love them more and see them through God’s eyes. Marriages are our way of loving someone for the rest of our life as just a glimpse of God’s love for us. If you are single, pray that you can live in such a way, starting now, that you honor God will all that you do, including your single life. Pursue purity and sexual integrity in your behaviors. I know its a challenge but pursue it as best as you can. If you are dating, it does not get easier the closer you get to marriage. Pray for them to love God more. Pray for God to move in your relationship, and even painfully, if your relationship is not something God desires, that he make it clear. Seek God and wise counsel if you are struggling with things from your past, mistakes, sin, and anything else that might affect your future marriage. And if you are married, know that you have an incredible opportunity to show the world God through your marriage. Start now. And if your marriage is on the brink of falling to pieces or already has, know that God can redeem your marriage but above can redeem you.
Whoever you are, whatever your past, God isn’t done with you yet.