“Are we even meant for monogamy?”
“I’ll tell you this…you better live together before deciding to get married!”
“I love my wife, but I’m in love with another person.”
Those are phrases I’ve heard people say over the past few days.
For some reason, I feel like I’ve been bombarded with relationship/marriage info lately.
The cynical side of me tends to drift toward the “what’s the point of all this relationship stuff?” extreme whenever I hear of relationships failing, people getting hurt or hurting others, silly drama, or whatever other crazy things happen.
But yesterday, God stepped into my cynicism and hit me with this thought:
“The world desperately needs more godly marriages.”
How cowardly would it be to back away from relationships instead of standing my ground and defending marriage/relationships as God intended them to be?
Yes, we were meant for monogamy.
No, we shouldn’t live together before deciding to get married.
Choosing to take someone as your wife means you’re vowing to love her and be in love with only her even when you don’t “feel” like doing so.
So, the next few posts are going to be about marriage/relationships.
A bit fitting, since my previous post was on 1 Cor. 13 (AKA the “Love Chapter).
To start off this “series” (let’s make it sound official, yes?), I’m copying and pasting a note I wrote on Wednesday, August 25, 2010 at 12:17pm (thanks for the details, Facebook). I threw in a couple side notes, and I’ll end with the key point for today.
here we go
A Picture of the Gospel
“Dude, Rosh! I really want to get married now because marriage is a picture of the Gospel!” One of my good friends said that to me not too long ago. (Side note…she’s now engaged and I’m a bridesmaid for her wedding next summer :)) At the time I just cracked up at her burst of enthusiasm. Recently, however, the Lord has been showing me the truth in that statement. In reality, everything is about the Gospel of Christ. Without Him, we are nothing. With Him, we have everything.
Many people, especially females, dream about their wedding day. The flowers, the dress, the colors, the wedding party, the food, the ceremony, the reception, and the list goes on and on. (And now Pinterest has taken this to a whole new level since every girl has a wedding board! Guilty as charged.) Everyone seems to be asking that big question: “Could this person be THE ONE?” People are consumed with finding that perfect person for themselves. It’s so very easy to get caught up in all this craziness!
I remember how surprised I was a few months ago to walk out of a movie theater and see kids shorter (which is saying a lot if you know me!) and much younger than I am with a boyfriend/girlfriend. When I was a little kid watching Full House, I used to think that only adults dated because they’re the only ones old enough to get married. The minute I walked into high school, I was proved very wrong! It seems like dating has shifted from a courtship period used to get to know a person with the intention of marriage to a race to discover the perfect person. News flash: there is no one perfect except for Jesus Christ. And once again, we are back to the Gospel.
Our view of marriage has become so selfish. It’s all about finding someone who will please ME and make ME happy. By nature, we are all selfish people. This is just another example of how we’ve taken something that God created to glorify Him and used it to please ourselves. While we think of dating/marriage as a way to find “the one” who will make us happy, God sent His one and only Son to die a gruesome death on the cross. Marriage is a picture of the Gospel. (And the world certainly needs to see more of the Gospel.) The groom, Jesus, laid down His life for His bride, the Church. The Groom did not give up His life because the bride loved Him so much. No–He loved the bride before she returned His love. He loved the bride while she openly hated Him. He loved the bride with a deep and selfless agape love. Romans 5:8 says, “God shows His love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
If we truly understand the gospel, it will change every aspect of our lives–including our view on dating/marriage. (and our desire to display the Gospel through marriage if that’s what God has in store, rather than becoming cynical towards relationships and running like there’s a fire…Can I get an “amen!”? No? Ok, so maybe it’s just me who reacts that way…) Instead of selfishly seeking to find a perfect spouse, we will realize that our true joy is found in the everlasting arms of the Perfect One–Jesus Christ. He is the only one who will never fail us and will always satisfy our every need. If we don’t realize that, we are putting unrealistic expectations on sinful humans to fill the spot of a perfect God.
Dating is not about finding someone who “makes you happy” so you can get married and expect them to constantly meet your every demand. Marriage is about living out the Gospel. (All of life is about living out the Gospel). Husbands are called to love their wives like Christ loved the church (Eph. 5:25-27) and wives are called to submit to their husbands as to the Lord (Eph. 5:22-24). In Ephesians 5:1-2, everyone is called to “be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”
Applying this practically means to love others sacrificially. Christ gave Himself up for us. Instead of seeking people to please me, I need to seek people to serve. And in serving others, I am becoming more like Christ, the ultimate Servant of all. So while it’s fun to dream about a big wedding (and convenient to avoid the realities of relationships/marriage), let’s remember what marriage is actually portraying: Christ’s love for the church. EVERYTHING starts and ends with the Gospel.
words of wisdom
Key Point for today:
Don’t use other people’s unsuccessful relationships as an excuse to stay “perfectly lonely.” (Gotta throw a little John Mayer in here ;)). Genesis 2:18 says, “The Lord God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.‘” You guys, marriage is good. It’s a beautiful gift from God. We ought to desire this gift, not idolize or scorn it. Marriage is one of the best pictures of the gospel we can give to the world: a man and woman who love God first and vow to love each other through thick and thin.
In the words of Elisabeth Elliot:
“It is not surprising in today’s ‘go with your feelings’ atmosphere that some couples write what they suppose to be wedding vows…A vow is a solemn promise made to God, an act by which one consecrates or devotes himself to some act, service, or condition. It is a promise of fidelity and a pledge of love. Seminars on marriage proliferate. Few offer a clear understanding of the hard biblical principles of day-by-day sacrifice and obedience, which will enable a couple to fulfil their wedding vows. The vow is meant to create the couple, not the couple the vow.
At a wedding reception my husband and I were asked to give a few words to the bride and groom. To the young man, a dear friend of ours, I said ‘You married her because you love her. But from tomorrow on you must love her because you married her.’ Twenty-four hours or so later he may have reason to review that second sentence. The morning after can bring surprising revelations.
Love is a choice. I think C.S. Lewis said it is not the victim of my emotions but the servant of my will.“
I was initially going to write more key points, but I think that it would do me (and maybe you) some good to mull over those thoughts before rushing forward.
For the record, I needed to hear those words and I’m so encouraged once again by Elisabeth’s advice. If you’re interested, take a look at the pdf where I pulled those paragraphs from:
God’s grace in my life today:
I’m thankful that He steps into my cynicism and gives me hope.