I would like to touch on a subject that I have never addressed before— for reasons because I haven’t walked that journey myself— yet. But it is interesting that there are times knowledge isn’t always necessarily limited to experience. However, I do acknowledge that experience does bring to reality and to truth most things that knowledge is incapable to explain.
This post therefore, is not written with the intention to give advice or to show people how I would have a better marriage than married couples…or things like that… but just to bring out my understanding of the purpose of marriage as God intended it to be.
And with the subject of marriage, I find it necessary to clarify on it’s definition just to remove any ambiguity. So, marriage as defined in the Bible (not word for word), but holistically, as a sanctified covenant between a man and a woman which is legally binding till death of either one.
I will start with the point that, I personally perceive that marriage to be a beautiful experience. And I mean minus the emotional excitement that comes with it possibly at the beginning.
Like, can you imagine meeting somebody who has been raised totally different from you, with different behavioral patterns from your’s, a different cultural background and upbringing, having a totally different set of character and personality from your’s, then, having that person make a heart, mind, body, and soul commitment to walk with you the rest of your life in good times and in bad?
I mean really? That to me, is just a mystery in itself because I don’t even know how I manage(d) it with my siblings, taking into account that I did not choose to be stuck with them, but rather, found it was already a predetermined matter. (To insist—siblings who I love whole-heartedly despite our differences in personality and in-between things.)
And so, that heart, mind, body, and soul commitment to somebody else for life until seperation by death, is, nothing short of a miracle; an out of the world occurrence. —That somebody would choose to keep up with my personality, sick times, moods, antics, habits and so many of my life’s intricacies — for life!
Perhaps, there are not many who see it this way. There are times when such discussions arise amongst peers, colleagues, or even some wedding shows I view on TV… and I find there is just a casual approach to the whole matter which makes me wonder.
Which brings out another perception… that marriage can also be a rough experience especially when somebody, for instance, marries the wrong person…or somebody whose heart is not totally submitted to Jesus Christ.
According to my understanding and even desire, I believe that marriage is a deep covenantal commitment. It is not a tries and experiment kind of thing; where you get into with the assumption of, “let’s see how it works out, then, we will know how to go from there…” kind of a setup. I perceive it to be a commitment that is intentional, settled, and then forged in eternity until death.
It is firstly,— grounded on a true friendship — knowing that this person is down for you and will always be down for you through thick and thin (excuse my slang). A kind of friend that if, supposing you both don’t have money for dinner, or some disagreements arise, there isn’t a blame-and-shame kind of tension flying around.
And sure, I haven’t been there yes…so, I also do not know how much stretching I can take before I break or bend… but when I think of a friend….I consider this person to be human just like I am, expecting that yes, we shall lack. And that it’s not all the time we shall be wining and dining.
But before we go further into this…
Most primarily, that aspect of a friendship must first be rooted in Jesus Christ. Because in truth, there is nothing worth building in this life that can stand without Jesus.
Can you imagine how totally different these two people probably are? Then you throw in the self nature into this marriage, (which I can tell you for free from a personal standpoint, that my own fleshly nature is extremely selfish, self-seeking and despises to be inconvenienced). Then you throw in emotional baggage from past relationship experiences (whether family, friendship, or even courtship), then you throw in comparisons to other relationships, and even the possibility of several other deadly vices….
I kid you not— that is just a recipe for disaster steaming in the oven.
But to the contrary, if there exists a friendship that is willing to sacrifice for the other, a friendship that is willing to empty out self for the sake of the other, then it lives out a life reflecting Jesus Christ.
Which in its literal meaning means, being ready even to die in the place of your friend if that is what it has to take. And Jesus did not just speak those words for posterity, He actually lived them. He laid down His own life for all humanity’s sake because He loved us.
And that is deeply admirable to find in a friend.
Additionally, a friendship that readily speaks about God from the heart because each one has experienced Him as a friend, walked with Him in his/her different personal journey discovering Him in His most secret place, until, he/she individually came to the cognition and understanding that he/she is in essence nothing without God.
And I believe this, kills the issue of pride. Because if, you are nothing, and your partner/friend is nothing. Then, you are both two nothings. And if you are both two nothings, then, what do you have to boast, or be proud about in your own selves? Beauty? Fame? Money? A Job? Education? Influence? Papers? Connections?
Thus, those aspects that are collected along the way of life are laid at the foot of the cross as a friendship is now built afresh in Christ. And some of those achievements, even though they are significant, they are a secondary addition to the marriage to be brought under Christ’s authority.
They primarily do not matter, because a marriage should never be pegged or founded on them…
Or so I hope that it is never pegged on them because…I would fear for such a foundation.
So, I firmly believe that even before the marriage aspect comes into the picture, a godly friendship must first be established because this is the best foundation for every marriage.
And now, speaking from a personal standpoint, as a person who likes to plan, I understand too, that storms will definitely come. But if they should come and I have no where to look to for strength, grace, love, forgiveness, understanding, patience, and stability, then I shall have tragically built the foundation on land mines.
Secondly, and most importantly… God must always be the center.
This is the greatest commandment of all and a firm pillar of our faith.
This means, the self will seldom find room in the marriage because Jesus will always take the day. I don’t mean to say that it must be a perfect walk with Jesus, but when He is at the center, I believe that even the differences can be bearable and forgivable. Just taking a look at my own life, I believe I need more grace than any man who has ever lived, how much more my friends, my family or even that beloved wife, or beloved husband?
I believe then, living by the principles of love found in 1 Corinthians 13, is a great way to propel the wings of a marriage.
Having a love for God is to have a deep reverential fear of God, which means to even shudder at the prospect of violating the second greatest commandment given to us by Him which is to love our neighbours as ourselves.
Jesus said, in all things whatsoever you would that men should do to you, do also to them: for this is the law and the prophets.
Therefore, if I wouldn’t want somebody to lie to me, to be unfaithful to me, to gossip me, to dishonor me….why, why, would I do the same to another person?
And so, I personally believe that if all marriages would have these two principles established, then I also believe the persons getting into it would then be able to do all other things through Christ who strengthens them. Whether it is managing finances, raising children, setting up a vision for their marriage, intimacy, establishing community with others, and so forth.
Because if God is at the center, and there is a true friendship, then character growth automatically becomes workable in Christ… that is, things like… being your authentic self, (not trying to please the other person by pretending to be somebody you are not), as well as expecting and embracing the changes that happen to you individually and to your partner…. and so forth.
These would be my two go to’s if God ever blesses me with somebody who is willing to keep up with my adventures and high-spirited self….
until death do us part.
I know there is much to be spoken of about marriage, but I do not intend to go further. Maybe I’ll share better insights when I am in that boat one day…but for now, I think that’s that… I’ll share a blog post of a friend of mine who wrote on the topic, and I believe he did a great job on it.
And to conclude, if you have probably read this and thought that there is a high likelihood that you did not start off with God at the center, or, even by establishing a good friendship with your significant other… that does not mean that God has forsaken you to go high and dry to teach you a lesson.
No… I don’t believe that God enjoys our suffering or discomforts… I highly believe (which can be backed by scriptures) that He is ever present with us in them and ever ready to step in whenever we are willing to just surrender our relationships for Him to take control.
That He may set the sails suitably and steer the wheel to the right direction.
God is able to make beauty out of ashes. For with Him, all things are possible.
Love’s understanding way— the link to my friends article on love and marriage.