I know that this may seem like a very unusual thing for a young, wanna-be Biblically faithful person, and some may think of this as a funny, but non-Scriptural way of expressing emotion because I do not yet know if I will have a spouse on this earth someday or not. Or to some of those from the opposite end, it may seem typical for a young evanjellyfish to write eloquent words in hopes of duping an unsuspected ‘christian’ woman into marrying him. I aim to smash the first presupposition, and warn those who hold to the second; I do not hope in the usual dreams of having a spouse simply to fulfill my own needs, I do not worship the idea of being married in this world because in the next one I will joyfully see the beauty of the Bridegroom that is Christ, and shadows in this world (temporary marriage) will fade away from the Light that is the Wedding Feast with Christ. So, bear with me and my amateur writing, as I attempt to honestly put my thoughts into words on this most seemingly odd but truthfully common topic.
Let me start by what I think marriage is not;
1. An endlessly romantic relationship.
Every Godly couple I have talked to will be quick to declare this is not true. Fuzzy subjective feelings only last so long and if your marriage is based off of them, it will end very shortly. Culture has given many an idea that all people are actually really good, and nice, and marriage is about constantly acting sweet to each other by making use of cheesy music and poetry. All I can say is; the Godly couples I know will say otherwise. Romance is great and all, and I know of no man that is faithful to his wife that is not romantic. But nowhere in the Scriptures, or in the words of any Christ-exalting couples I know, will you find the idea that romance is the substance of a marriage. Romance is fleeting, it comes and goes; to trust and build a house on romance is to build a house on sand.
2. The more ‘fun’ version of ‘dating'(whatever that means…)
Because of our culture’s propensity towards the perversion of what courtship/dating truly is, many assume that dating is simply the act of going out to the movies, restaurants, and having fun. Many import this idea into marriage, assuming it will be like their misconception of dating but even better. The fact of the matter is, most mature Godly couples I have talked to will tell you that marriage is not always fun, and some have said that they would never categorize marriage as fun. A good question to ask oneself before getting married would be; what would a normal, non-special evening look like? The Lord is Lord over the special occasions, but also through everyday life, and if you cannot find out how to glorify and exalt Him in anything but the special occasions in your marriage then you will miss the beauty of Christ in everyday life. So here we discover another foundation of sand to build a marriage upon.
3. A way to fulfill sensual and perverted desires.
I am convinced that every little boy, whether he is 10 or 27 years old, thinks that by finding a wife he finds a good thing because he can have sex whenever he wants. This cannot be farther from the idea that a man is to lay his life down for his wife, like Christ laid His life down for the Church. It seems that not many want to admit that little boys do this, so forgive me for my honesty…. actually, I do not care if some are offended by this one. Our society is so influenced by the depravity that is pornography and other forms of sexual immorality that it has been considered ‘normal’ to bring that into a marriage, even marriages of those who trust in the Gospel. Sex is a good thing within the covenant of marriage, but we must seek to eradicate all areas of our thought that would make sex the definition of marriage due to our hardened hearts and desires. There are several Godly couples that will tell you this is one of the most dangerous things one could do, and a couple of friends of mine will tell you that it almost ruined their marriage.
4. Someone to do everything for me.
This idea that a wife is some kind of glorified kitchen-slave is not as explicitly popular anymore, but by looking at many marriages one begins to realize that in the sub-conscious of many, this is true. It is proven by the very fact that many husbands seriously treat their wife as if children, food and household are all his wife’s responsibilities. Due to the explicitness of our culture’s radical feminism it is assumed as if we do not have these problems anymore, but I submit to you that because of radical feminism the sin of male-chauvinism has simply moved away from the public sphere and into the private household for many. To clarify, however, it is pertinent to realize that differing roles do not subtract from the value of man or woman and ironically this cultural feminism has let men slide into not being willing to take on the responsibility that the Lord has called them to. This is something I long to see smashed into bits in modern society, and firstly in my own heart.
Now that I think I have gone through (I think) the biggest misconceptions I have seen in the minds of my peers about marriage, let me see if I may simply show what I believe marriage to be;
1. The point of marriage is primarily a covenantal God-glorifying picture of Christ and His bride; the Church.
Per Eph. 5, marriage is a temporary picture of Christ Jesus and His bride, the Church that will pass away when we are face to face with Christ. The covenant is center to the picture of marriage; just as Christ is the Surety of the Covenant of Grace, in which He, in love, pursued us until death to redeem us and caused us to be in union with Him. O’ the depths of this wonder, that we would be given such a beautiful (but clearly messy) reminder and picture of Jesus’ pursuit of us until death! Marriage, by its nature, has a temporal purpose; therefore marriage is a picture of something greater and must be centered on the glorifying of Christ to last.
2. Marriage is an intense form of sanctification.
Those who are married are not better or holier than those single, and vice versa. However, it would seem that two sinners saved by grace being around one another constantly in such a relationship causes sanctification on such a deep level that it is on one hand terrifying, and on the other to be sought after. Everyone resists the idea of their sin being thrown out of the closet somewhat, but believers, though sometimes reluctant, glorify Christ immensely by continual repentance which marriage in many cases is a cause of.
3. Marriage is for men to worship Christ by pointing to Him in laying his life down for his bride.
Men are commanded to lay down their lives for their wives as Christ laid His life down for the Church. This means that the man is held accountable and responsible for everything. This may sound terrifying to any man, to be accountable for everything. It may also sound offensive to those proponents of evangelical feminism, but the truth is this; for any Christian man that truly desires marriage, there is a strong desire to love and serve a woman in every way, even until death. We desire this innately because of the imprint of Christ’s nature on our regenerate heart. Women are to worship Christ by respecting their husbands and helping them, but men need to be willing to give their last breath to provide for their wives.
4. Marriage is to show the beauty of God and His Fatherhood of us by the gift of children.
Marriage brings an opportunity to go through the interesting struggle of raising children. The struggle of disciplining, loving, and teaching children is an amazing way to demonstrate to one’s self and others the amazing beauty of God the Father’s love for us, in that we were orphans and He adopted us, we hated Him and disobeyed (and continue to) and He still loves us and disciplines us, and all of this points to the awesome truth that we are adopted Sons and Daughters by grace because of the person and work of God the Son, Christ.
5. Marriage is a struggle filled union that brings joy in Christ.
I know that singleness can bring joy in Christ as well, but marriage does it in a different way. I cannot explain this because I have not experienced it, and those who have tried to explain it to me have not done it in a way that I necessarily understand. But from what it seems to me is that the Godly couples I know seem to paint a picture of the idea that, though they are constantly assailed by sin and complications, they more fully rest in the truth that all will be made right.
I am sure that I missed many points that could be added to it, but I am sure this gets the point across. I tried many times to convince myself that I do not desire these things, and that I am called to singleness. But I cannot lie to myself; I desire to lay my life down for a Godly woman in this way to point to Jesus through a marriage, and through parenting. This may sound farfetched, but I understand how glorified marriage can be. I know that it is truly messy for two sinners to come together as one, but I still desire to marry a Godly woman, adopt children, preach the Gospel in other countries and worship Christ with her in all of this. This all may seem like I am assuming too much, but let me assure any reader that I am not; I have been given this desire, but if the Lord purposes me to die before I can marry or does not allow me to, I am content… This is also very possible because in order to get married I must somehow convince a Godly woman, not only to marry me, but go to another country with me. I do not know what will happen, but I know that through the Spirit, I aim to always ultimately find joy in Christ alone. If none of these things that I desire happen; glory be to God alone! These are simply a few of my thoughts on the subject, and they have been heavily on my mind as of recently.
For more thoughts from a much smarter man than I;
Soli Deo Gloria
-Wesley T. Robinson