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What’s Your View of Marriage?
My old view and sentiment about marriage
Growing up, I was not enamoured with the thought of my own wedding day. For some odd reasons, I wasn’t consumed looking at wedding magazines nor dreamt about the venue or gown I should have at my future wedding.
I can also admit that in my thirties, I wrestled with the thought of whether I should get married or remain single. Due to various painful experiences, as well as fruitful seasons with God, I went from looking for a spouse to not looking at all; to being disappointed and wondering “what’s the point in finding a spouse and be married?”; to being content in my singleness and purpose with Jesus and not being desperate to get married.
By my late thirties, I was fully satisfied with Christ and my calling, but also very aware how difficult marriage could be by just looking at the alarming low rate of marriages (see footnote) and high-rate divorce. Both reasons somewhat persuaded me away from the desire of marriage.
My view was challenged
While discipling a particular group of young interns (students in our church) who were asking about how to date well in the future, the Holy Spirit began to put this thought in my heart: “If our end goal in a dating relationship is ultimately a godly marriage, why are we, singles, consumed with the thought of figuring out how to date before we even understand the vision God has for marriage? We must take time to understand and study about God’s purpose for marriage so we can prepare and work towards it.” A godly marriage should be our vision and not dating. As we understand marriage, it will inform the way we should grow, pray, and be prepared for it spiritually, emotionally, and physically for it. Through this revelation, I began to encourage interns to join me in the journey of going deeper into understanding marriage in God’s eyes.
My view about marriage and my faith for it began to shift once the Lord led me to discover how He truly sees marriage and the purpose He established through this binding covenant with another person. This also changed my expectations and debunk myths or the ideal view of marriage.
Discovering – Why Marriage?
- God’s plan for marriage is to reflect His image – We took our interns to the Love and Respect Marriage Conference and through Dr. Eggerich we understood this truth. Genesis 1:27 says that “God created man in His own image…male and female he created them”. Dr. Eggrich suggests that women sees, hears, and says things through a set of “pink glasses, hearing aid and megaphones”, while men perceive life through blue glasses. Though a wife and a husband are opposites in many ways, when they become one, to honor God and love each other, they are combining pink and blue together to form purple. Purple is the color of royalty which represents our King Jesus. This combination of husband and wife truly reflects God’s image. Marriage is not for our own glory but for His.
- God’s plan for marriage is to give us a picture and model of His love for us. Ephesians 5:25-27 outlines that the husband should love their wives, as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her. The type of love relationship between a man and a woman in marriage is a perfect picture of the kind of union and love God Himself wants us to have with Him. Marriage is not only for us to feel loved, but rather to practice the same sacrificial love Jesus had for us with our spouse.
- God’s plan for marriage is to make a difference in society and build His Kingdom. Candace Watters’ discussion with her professor described in her book Get Married challenged me as much as it did to her. During a “Biblical Principles of Government” lecture, Candace posed the question “what’s the solution?” to a country whose constitutional foundations are slipping away from its roots. Her professor’s reply was simple but spiritually profound. “Get married, make babies, and do government, that’s how we win”… “Do the math. The people who form families, who raise children [in God’s way], and send them into the next generation, are the ones who will influence where our government and culture go into the future”. With this statement, Professor Morgen was pointing at the truth that this is God’s design for marriage. He ordained marriages so they are fruitful in raising a godly generation that will bring God’s influence in society, leading people towards God. Marriages can leave a great spiritual legacy that will change the future culture and society we will live in. As a single person you can make a difference in your own generation, but through godly marriages we can make a difference through generations.
- God’s plan for marriage is for our sanctification (and NOT for our happiness).
When I was single, I often got asked… “Have you found anyone yet? Are you dating? are you married?”, etc. To which questions, I proudly said “I am content being single, satisfied with Jesus, and I am fine”. One day, a friend’s mom whom I was meeting for the first time, asked me, “so would you like to get married?” I gave my usual reply … I am content being single. Her response to me challenged my view of marriage. “Karen, one thing I have always prayed for my daughters is to find a spouse and be married. Being single is great, but there are certain processes (growth) that God takes you through only in marriage”. What?! I never thought of it that way – there are certain types of growth that God can only work in me while being married. Now that I have been married for 2 years, I can attest to that. Marriage has a sanctifying mission. Our flaws are easily covered in our singleness, but in marriage they are easily discovered by the person you live with 24/7, who will challenge you to grow and become better. Tim Keller argues in his book The Meaning of Marriage that marriage is for helping each other to grow into the person God wants you to be (p.122). Proverbs 27:17 says “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” Marriage refines our character, and it is not just for companionship or a state of happiness. No wonder why Dr. Eggrich says, “Marriage is 90% work, 10% Bliss.”
These are some of the truth I discovered about marriage in God’s eyes but there are more of course. I highly encourage you, whether single or married, to gain understanding of the purpose God intended between a husband and wife. In this manner, you can walk in the intended purpose of being in covenant with your (future) spouse.
With this revelation, I certainly began to pray in faith for marriage and my husband with the right motivation and view. Marriage is not to simply to bring companionship, but there is a great eternal plan God has through it. As I surrendered once more the idea of being married (or not), asking God to be “His will and not mine”, the Lord set it up for me to meet now my husband who also understood the eternal weightiness of being a covenant relationship. We entered holy matrimony, soberly, intentionally, in reverent fear before God – with full understanding that as we put God first and allow Him to sanctify us through love, service, and acceptance of each other, we can reflect His Glory.
Statistics Canada reports that the Marriage Rate by the beginning of 1990’s dipped below the levels recorded during the Great Depression. During the 60’s more people married and this high rate was maintained until early 70’s when we see a steady decline of number of marriages. 2020 marked the lowest number of marriages in Canada with 2.6 marriages per 1,000 population.