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?