There are so many different myths, opinions and misconceptions going around about marriage these days, most of which are coming from the world. But marriage is an institution designed and implemented by God, and so I want to try and shed some light on what it is and what it is not. Let’s start by what it isn’t:
1. For the impatient- Living, learning and sharing your life with someone requires a lot patience. A LOT. Insert slow blinks. You will need to exercise patience in many different areas, some of which include but is not limited to: patience (and wisdom) to wait for the proper timing to bring up certain conversations. Patience to pray and wait for your spouse to make changes/improvements in certain areas. Patience when things are not going how you planned. Patience with yourself in learning marriage. There is always an opportunity to be patient. If you’re not yet married, now would be a great time to start practicing the art of patience in your everyday life. Patience is a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5) which means we already have it if we are born again. Sometimes it just needs to be stirred up and exercised in order for it to be fully mature in us.
2. A game- Marriage is serious business. Take a look at the words of Jesus when some of his disciples were questioning Him about the subject of marriage: “Not everyone is mature enough to live a married life. It requires a certain aptitude and grace. Marriage isn’t for everyone. Some, from birth seemingly, never give marriage a thought. Others never get asked—or accepted. And some decide not to get married for kingdom reasons. But if you’re capable of growing into the largeness of marriage, do it.” -Matthew 19: 11-12 (MSG)
I love that word largeness. It encompasses all that marriage is. It is large in responsibility. It is large in love. It is large in beauty, and it is large in its seriousness. God intended for every marriage to have a purpose and each person within the marriage has a purpose as well. Knowing all of this, it should not be entered into lightly.
3. A wedding- It’s a sad thing when I see people spending so much time, energy, finances and focus into a wedding but don’t give nearly as much of those resources to the actual marriage. Don’t get me wrong, there is absolutely nothing wrong with having a nice wedding, but there is something wrong with not giving a thought or ounce of preparation for the lifelong event that comes after that one day event. It always pays to invest in your marriage.
4. Like any other relationship you will experience- There is no other human relationship in your life that will ever compare to the one which you will have with your spouse. Not even the relationship that you have with your mother can compare; can you imagine that? Even if you were in a long term relationship or lived with your significant other before, the marriage union is still a closer bond. I know this because I was with a person for almost 10 years and lived with them for about 4 of those years before coming to Christ, and it can’t even compare to the intimacy and bond that my husband and I share, even though we have only been living together and married to each other for just over 2 years. There is just something about when God binds you together in holy matrimony. It is a very spiritual process in addition to the natural. There is an authority in prayer that you will have over your spouse that no one else will have, a place and status in his life that you will hold that no one else will, a responsibility to him that no one else has, as well as a host of other things. It is truly remarkable and truly unique.
1. A covenant- Marriage is not simply a piece of paper like some people have dumbed it down to be. We often hear about people in long term relationships living together, with some level of commitment, having children together and having the appearance of being a family, but they don’t want to “mess” it up by getting married. “No piece of paper is going to change anything for us,” they often say. That’s really code for I don’t want to put it all on the line and go all in on this; I don’t want to fully commit to you and our family. It gives them an out where at any given moment they can just say they don’t want to do this anymore and they don’t really have to because they were not legally bound (legally in the spirit or legally in the natural sense). A covenant is a legally binding contract and in the Bible it held (holds) serious weight and often times it was blood in, blood out. God is in covenant with His people, and that’s why he takes the covenant of marriage so seriously and hates divorce. It’s because marriage is supposed to be a mirror of the relationship between Him and His church and of course he would never divorce us. Knowing the weightiness of the covenant of marriage, it is important to enter into it not even considering ever breaking apart.
2. Work (duh)- If you haven’t heard by now, marriage takes work. It is two people from two different families and two different backgrounds with two different life experiences coming together and becoming one. It’s really like a business merger. All of a sudden you go from becoming two separate entities and now you’re trying to figure out what to keep and what to get rid of from each business and how to operate as one company. Even though it is work, it doesn’t have to be grievous work. Just because you have a job doesn’t mean you have to hate your job right? Although many people do hate their job, there are some people who love their work because they are doing something they enjoy at a place where they enjoy working. So marry someone who you won’t mind working and merging with.
3. A mirror- Suddenly, you have this person who knows you better than anyone else in the world partly because you develop a deep intimacy that is unlike any other. This person grows to know ALL of you. Even the parts of you that you may not be so proud of, and the parts you’re still working on. They even begin to show you parts of yourself that you may not have realized were there or parts of you that you may have swept under the rug for some time. Now, you can no longer ignore these things. Instead, you’re forced to deal with your issues head on. No longer can you hide those areas. Instead, you have to face the challenge of correcting your issues. Most of the time it’s not even big egregious sins (although sometimes it might be). But many times, it’s those hidden areas of the heart and parts of our character that we never quite worked out. Suddenly you’re staring all of your insecurities, your flaws, and your selfish tendencies in the face, and you just have to deal with it. Your spouse can be very instrumental in helping you to work through your challenging areas.
Hopefully, your husband is a safe place where you can be vulnerable and unashamed. Surely there will be areas of improvement for the both of you. That is why it is so important to always extend grace to one another. Grace is favor shown towards a person even when they do not deserve it. It’s the stuff that God showers us with every single day. It’s what causes Him to treat us as if we never ever missed the mark. You will need a whole lot of grace in marriage-for yourself and to extend to your spouse. When you begin to see yourself in marriage, don’t shrink back or shy away from it. Just know that it is a very natural process that people go through in marriage, and it is one of the tools God uses in the sanctification process.
4. Beautiful- I know we tend to use the word beautiful to describe marriage sort of haphazardly or very cliche’ like, but it really is a beautiful thing.
Here’s a picture from my engagement shoot after being engaged for just a few weeks to my now husband. I came across this photo the other day and it sort of stopped me in my tracks because all I could think of was the word beautiful. Not because of the aesthetics of the photo (although they aren’t too bad either, shout out to @Kiyah ) but mostly because of what has evolved from the time this photo was taken up until now. As you can see we’re walking down a road with seemingly endless possibilities ahead of us, but we don’t necessarily know what’s ahead. That’s exactly how it has been for us these past years. We have walked together through so many things some amazing, some challenging, but through it all I can truly say it’s an amazing experience. We laugh, we cry, we dream, we plan, we pray, we worship, we do life together. To have a partner in life who you can just walk through life with no matter what comes is just plain…..beautiful.
Still Hidden in Him,