For as long as I can remember, I have always been a hopeless romantic -wearing my heart on my sleeve and waiting optimistically for my Cinderella ending.
Most of us grew up watching Disney channel and are familiar with the barrage of Disney fairy tales. Like a sponge, I soaked in the whole fairytale scene.
I have never been in a relationship before but I have always loved the idea of being in love, and so for a long time, I was so deeply entranced by the kind of ‘romantic intensity’ I found in novels, music, movies that I got so lost in the emotions of it all, making it difficult for me to escape the fiction world and come back to reality..
Twilight was (and embarrasingly still is) one of my favourite movie series. So much that in my early teenage years, when the movie first came out – I became obsessed with the idea of being in a relationship with a mystical creature such as Edward.
(This just goes to show the sort of impact that mass media has on our worldviews.)
Looking back, I realise just how messed up my view of marriage and relationships was as a result of my lack of biblical knowledge on the topic. Everything I knew about relationships of a romantic nature, I learnt from the secular media.
It was only until I began to take a deeper look into biblical relationships that I came across materials on the topic by preachers such as Voddie Bachaum, Paul Washer and John Piper, that I was brought to the knowledge of the error of my thinking.
I see that some of the things that excited me most about being in a relationship and some of the qualities I looked for in a man were vain and would not at all uphold a marriage.
So what should marraige look like?
God designed that through well-ordered families, righteousness would be passed from one generation to the next.
God has a very specific design and purpose for marraige. A marraige should model the relationship that Christ has with the church and is meant to reflect Christ’s self giving. Therefore;
Marraige is selfless
Unlike what we see on the screen, marraige is not selfish.
We have regrettably fallen into the trap of believing that marraige is about self-gratification. I too had fallen prey to this ideal. Marraige to me was about all the ways in which my husband would serve me, how he would meet my needs, ease my burdens and make me happy. That is the reality of the society we live in -self centeredness is at the core. We all falsely believe that our main goal in life is to achieve personal happiness. We are constantly taught the idolatry that love is about doing what makes us happy, and that couldn’t be further away from the truth.
So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy,2 complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. 3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.
Romans 12:10 challenges us to outdo one another in showing honour. My Pastor put it in this way; “we must be eager to show honour to one another -as though competing to take the lead in being last.” (He has been doing a series on the lethal poison of hypocrisy and recently touched on this. You can download the sermon here. To view whole series, click here.) What more then, to our spouses?
Love one another with brotherly affection.Outdo one another in showing honor.
Marraige is not about you pursuing your own happiness. It is sacrificial, forgiving, serving and giving, and will cost you yourself.
Marraige is about putting someone else’s needs before your own and going out of your way to show love and honour. It is you laying down your life for the life of another (John 15:13)
1 John 3:16
This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.
Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.
At the same time, it is important to note that marriage is not entirely about your spouse either. “We can lose ourselves in trying to please our spouses that we lose sight of our devotion to God.”
Marraige should increase the ability of those inside the marraige to have a greater impact for the kingdom on the outside world than they could ever have by themselves -Craig Miller, Marraige isn’t about you (or your spouse)
Ultimately, a marraige should be most concerned with serving and honouring God. It should be a ‘platform’ through which the gospel should be demonstrated to the world.
Marraiges should strive to bring glory unto God, by submitting to Him as a couple and putting Him at the centre.
So, if it is God’s will that I one day be clad in that symbolic white dress, saying “I do” to the love of my life, it will be to vow to give myself wholly, to love selflessly and sacrificially, but most importantly, to honour God in our union…for the rest of our life.
Soli Deo Gloria.
[This article on the purpose of marraige might be of help to you]