Ok - you must hear me out on this and don't get all bent out of shape about the title.
Lately - I've been to weddings and know of weddings coming up (its summer - everyone gets married in the summer. But, I've also been the listening ear to many who are struggling in their marriages (both Christian and non-Christian). I've pretty much decided that it is much easier to be single than married. All I have to worry about is myself - yes, I guess that means I'm selfish.
Going back many years (gosh, almost 9 years), I remember sitting with Chuck - who was engaged to Corrine - in Phyllis and Billy's living room. We were there on a class asssignment. We asked them many questions separately - then brought them back together to answer some. The thing they said was key to making a marriage successful (and their's is) is to love God more than you love your spouse. That is definitely true in their marriage. They said if you are pursuing your relationship with God it would make all the difference in your marriage.
As I've been thinking about the flippancy with which our culture and church (just look at the Christian divorce rate) hold marriage - it is worrisome.
I was talking to a friend recently saying that I didn't want to get married b/c I thought it was hard enough representing Christ to a lost and dying world just being single - "being created in the very image of God". How much harder it would be to represent Christ to a lost and dying world by reflecting the relationship between the Church and Christ? How "awe"ful and frightening is that. That is so much responsibility. Its hard enough to be responsible for myself and my relationship with God - but not someone else, too.
I'm reading the Marriage chapter in Desiring God tonight. The opening verse is Eph 5.28-30
22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.
25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. 28 In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, 30 because we are members of his body. 31 “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. 33 However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.
Ok - so I expanded it a little. Even Paul says this mystery (the relationship) is profound. This is what I want in a marriage - and what I see lacking in so many...
- a husband who will santify me by leading me in the Word each day and loving Jesus more than He loves me
- a husband I can respect
All other is merely accessories. This is how God designed marriage - to be a reflection of the relationship between the church and Christ. Christ came to die - gave up his life - serve - for a church He is continually santifying in His Grace.
Please - a lot of you are probably saying - she isn't married - she has no room to talk. Yes, but I do know marriages are hard - I don't have to be married to experience that. But...as Christians - let's show a lost and dying world what a godly, biblical marriage should look like. Wives...submit to your own husbands. husbands - love your wives as Christ loved the church - sanctify her and present her blameless to Christ (that is a lot of pressure by the way), wives...respect your husbands - don't laugh about them and make fun of them or put them down even for the faults he might have. Let me and the other single people out there have marriages to look at and say "I want mine to look like that".