Worldliness sneaks in: Good things vs. God things: Marriage

I see a lot of folks getting variously worked up about marriage.  Now, a good wife is from the Lord (we can assume that a good husband is too), so saying that a good spouse is a good thing (or a blessing) is a no-brainer.  But into that desire for a good marriage has been attacked and riddled through with the World’s way of thinking about marriage these days.  The world thinks of marriage as GAME OVER – better be “game over, WIN”, but it’s GAME OVER.  Marriage has become materialistic.  It’s both a means to an end and an end in itself in the everlasting struggle for status and stuff.

I’d love to have someone disagree with me and tell me that the World doesn’t say that marriage is 1) game over and 2) supposed to be a “win”, with optional reset button if your happily ever after button isn’t shiny enough… but I don’t see it.  This mindset reveals itself in bridezillas, frivorce, it reveals itself in people getting mad because they don’t get the spouse they deserve (men AND women do this, it’s a human thing).  People get married later and later, hoping to find the best in the bunch, they … well, they act like spoilt brats.

People get married who don’t really want to be married, but they want the status of *being* married.  People try to trade up after they’re married because they don’t find the end-game sufficiently pleasing.  They think sexual pleasure is the most important thing in the world, and the having of it is a major goal in the lives of far too many.  They think that life is about status and things, and not about people.  It’s all pretty sordid.  But we can expect the World to be sordid and dark and all about getting what’s best for yourself at the expense of others.  This isn’t news.  But we are not of this world…

Thoughts for Christians.

1) You don’t have to get married.  Marriage is for those who burn.  Yes, most of us do burn, and most of us desperately want to be married.   But some of us are ticked off about the options – MGTOW, and WGTOW (I’m making that one up)… those are perfectly respectable options.  Devoting your life to serving God directly?  Honorable.   And what is our goal as Christians?  To bring glory to God.  So what if you don’t “win” by the World’s rules?  Who cares?!?

2)  Watch the whole “marriage as idol” thing.  I speak from personal experience here.  If you want marriage, if you want a happy marriage, more than you want anything else, including holiness – you have a problem.   If marriage is your god, then you’ll do anything to acquire and/or appease your spouse.  Love the Lord your God and serve Him with your heart, soul, mind and strength.  Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you.

3)  Your life isn’t over, you don’t hit “win” when you get married.  So it doesn’t really matter if you have the perfect wedding or if you get every material blessing you want within 5 years of your wedding day.  Your life is over the day the Lord takes you home – so your marriage is part of your life, part of your ministry.  It might be the largest part of your ministry, particularly if you’re female – but it’s just a part of your life.  It’s not your end-game.  You’re not dead.

4)  Don’t devalue your contribution to the Kingdom if you’re female and married and having babies.  If humans > things, then making more humans = win.  If humans > things, then spending time teaching, loving, exhorting, blessing humans = win.   Likewise, submission to your husband is a gift – you get lessons in how to submit to God.  Consider it a blessing.

5)  If your spouse is a pain in the rear (or during the seasons when they *are* a pain in the rear) remember that people > status and people > emotion, and strive to bless them anyway.  Ultimately it’s all for God’s glory anyway.   You’re not going to be in this flesh tent forever.  There is no marriage or giving in marriage in heaven.  What do you have, a few decades or so?  Compared with all eternity?  C’mon, people.  Marriage comes with “in sickness and in health” – you signed up to be someone’s emergency back up system.

6) Your spouse isn’t a status symbol.  They’re the other half of a mystical union that represents Christ and the Church.  Your union is sacred.  Act like it.  Show some grace.  People are forever, things are temporary.   Remember that, in every interaction.

7)  Sex is awesome.  But sometimes you’re not going to have sex when you’re married.  Wife will have a risky pregnancy.  Husband will take some weird meds.  You’ll age and desire will wane.  Someone will have a horrible accident.  Sex is WONDERFUL – but don’t make it  your god.  Stuff happens, and you’re married for better or for worse.

I’m tired of hearing about how the other sex isn’t very nice (well, no, they aren’t.  Humans aren’t) and they aren’t worth committing to  and…. and… and…. you know, you’re not *wrong*.  People suck.  This world is getting progressively darker, so its influence is progressively nastier.  And that does attack Christians.  But the answer to that attack isn’t to concentrate on changing the form of the darkness, the way to fight darkness is with light.

Want to make your character better?  Become more godly.  Want to make your marriage better?  Become more godly.  Want to make this world a better place?  Become more godly.

What would happen if all the Christians everywhere lived up to 90% of the Biblical rules about marriage?  Not 100%, the best of us don’t do that.  But 90%.  80%.  If Christians were known for sticking by their wedding vows and acting towards their spouses with grace.   Would that glorify God?

Marriage is a wonderful institution.  But it’s not a sparkly prize at the end of an adventure.  A good marriage isn’t guaranteed to anyone.   If marriage is important in your life, there’s stuff you can do. But that stuff can’t become your god.  God is God, and anything else is idolatry.

I don’t want to hear about how “there are no good men/women”.   I don’t want to hear about how you didn’t get the spouse of your dreams.  I don’t want to hear about how your spouse isn’t doing what you wish they’d do.  I don’t want to hear how it’s unfair that you can’t be married.   This whining reveals your heart – that your will > God’s will.   Your purpose and your goal in your life is not to get married.  Your purpose and goal is to glorify God.

Yes.  Marriage is important.  And there is a lot of wisdom out there about how to have a good marriage.  Use that wisdom.  I’m *not* saying that striving for a good marriage isn’t a tremendously important thing – but I am saying that if it doesn’t happen, you aren’t *losing*.  Your existence is eternal.  This world is not your home.  This life is not all there is.  Please remember that.

Trust me.  TRUST ME.  I have lived this, and getting it straight hurt more than anything I’ve ever been through.  If you make marriage your god,  no matter what happens, your tears will be an ocean.  Make God the center of your life, trust Him.  Does He not love you more than any human ever could, no matter what?  He does.  He even loves you more than you love yourself.  Trust Him.   Get right, do right, pray, and leave the rest to Him.  Trust God.  You’ve entrusted eternity to Him, can’t you give him a decade or three?

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9 thoughts on “Worldliness sneaks in: Good things vs. God things: Marriage

  1. Elspeth

    I was considering linking to this in the current thread on my blog. But I think I’ll wait and link it in my next marriage post.

    So much meat to chew on here, Hearth. Well done.

    Reply
  2. donalgraeme

    I do not think it your intention with this post, but one could read it as saying that those upset with the current state of marriage shouldn’t complain about that fact. Might I suggest a clarification?

    Reply
    1. hearthie Post author

      Okay. Yes, of course it’s good to say when something is broken. When important things are broken, we should look at that and try to fix it. What I have a problem with is the game of fingerpointing that discussions tend to devolve into – and the fatalistic, might as well jump off the dock attitude. If God wants you to have a good spouse, you’ll get a good spouse. And you might be the only people on your block who have a solid marriage. God does miracles.

      But when we sit around and let bitterness speak out of our mouths, are we bringing glory to God? I’m not saying I’m free of guilt. I’m saying it’s something to look at, very seriously. We are not reliant on the World’s toolbox. We have God. The God of creation, the God who heals lepers, the God who saves sinners. If we obey Him with all of our hearts – and even if we NEVER saw the inside of the World’s toolbox – we’d be okay. Because God tells us to love one another sacrificially and totally. He addresses marital intimacy, both frankly and lovingly.

      If it’s your mission to stand up and fix marriage and help that go forward, may you be blessed in that important ministry. But even so. Marriage isn’t the end-all, be-all. It’s not a prerequisite for having a godly life. It’s not even a prerequisite for having a good life. It’s one of many very good things. God made a lot of good things for us to turn our hands to, to spend our lives doing.

      I’m saying that the World creeps in and sabotages our dependence on intense, radical, uncompromising faith. You’re going to hear more about this. 🙂 We change our aim from pleasing God, no matter what the consequences – to doing something else. There *is* a difference between good things and God.

      We MUST concentrate on God first, above all else.

      Reply
      1. donalgraeme

        What I have a problem with is the game of fingerpointing that discussions tend to devolve into – and the fatalistic, might as well jump off the dock attitude.

        I agree. Blame games are rarely helpful. And whining helps no one. But there is something in your response I must disagree with:

        If God wants you to have a good spouse, you’ll get a good spouse.

        You complain about fatalism, and then offer this? It sounds biblical at first (Proverbs, right?). But its not. Because it ignores human agency. There are a lot of things that happen in life that God wants, but there are a lot of things that happen that God doesn’t want. God has given us Free Will, or Agency, or whichever term you prefer. Either way, we can choose to follow Him, or choose not to. And oftentimes when we choose not to, others, especially the innocent, suffer.

        The idea that if God wants people to marry well, then they will marry well is based not on any solid theology, but on wanting to feel better. This notion allows the proponent to feel better about themselves, because it tells them that if someone who otherwise seems worthy doesn’t marry (or marry well), then it must have been what God wanted all along. And if God wanted it, then it can’t be bad, right? It is founded on a refusal to acknowledge that there are those who should marry, whom God would want to marry, but don’t because of the actions of others. It is a refusal to acknowledge the oft-times cruel nature of life.

        Marriage isn’t the end-all, be-all. It’s not a prerequisite for having a godly life. It’s not even a prerequisite for having a good life. It’s one of many very good things. God made a lot of good things for us to turn our hands to, to spend our lives doing.

        If you don’t feel called to fix marriage, I understand. But you seem to downplay it here Hearthie. Very few Christians have the so called “Gift of Singleness.” Most should marry, and downplaying marriage and its importance helps no one. A visiting priest once explained to me that marriage is an institution created to help men and women alike get into heaven. It provides a means a man and woman to aid each other, to compliment each other, and to help each other avoid sins and to walk the difficult path we as Christians are called to walk. Stated simply, marriage, when done right, helps us get to heaven. And when the institution is in such a state as it is today, then the souls of many are in jeopardy.

        We shouldn’t idolize marriage, as is often the case in this culture. But we need to acknowledge its importance and centrality to our lives as Christians. Calling it just one good thing among many is a terrible mistake.

      2. hearthie Post author

        I am going to think on your words and give you a good response in the morning – which is a mark of respect. 🙂 You have a few good points. Remember that my gift is that of exhortation …

  3. Sis

    Make God the center of your life, trust Him. Sometimes I feel I could make every blog post about this single idea, it’s so important. Great post Hearthie!

    Reply

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