I recently finished a course offered at my church about marriage. This class is open to everyone but required for those who would like to marry inside of the church by one of the pastors. What is a single gal, such as myself, doing in a class like this? Simple. Upon entering the class, I had no clue what marriage is really all about and I wanted to get some wisdom on how to approach dating from a healthier perspective. You see, I had a very broken and distorted view of what marriage was, because I have seen too much. I have witnessed unhealthy marriage after unhealthy marriage, and I am, myself, a product of a broken home (divorce). So, I wanted to finally begin uncovering what God really had in mind when he designed the institution of marriage.
The course was mind-blowing for me. The pastor and his wife talked about very spiritual concepts but made them real and practical. It was so refreshing to witness an example of what God meant by watching them discuss the battles they have had to overcome within their own union.
I also learned a lot about what marriage is NOT.
Marriage is NOT perfection. Although your spouse will probably be someone you have a lot in common with, you will not always agree with them. Marriage does not mean you will not argue. It does not mean you will like everything your spouse does or says. Marriage does not mean they will understand you like no one else. You will not always see eye to eye with them, and that is okay. It’s about seeking God with how to grow in the midst of conflict.
But….what does marriage mean? What is the purpose? It is all about being a representative of Christ. Many people are involved in or lead various ministries that glorify God, but marriage and the family unit is our first ministry (if or when God calls us to marry someone). It is a very important way of giving Him glory and witnessing to people. Before there was Paul, before there was David, before there was Abraham, there was Adam and Eve chilling inside of the presence of God and freely experiencing Him through their union with one another. But there was also brokenness. When they both allowed sin to seep inside their marriage by disobeying God, brokenness and sin entered the world. That’s powerful. Satan used what was supposed to be a gift to bring about the destruction of God’s children. Therefore, marriage is something sacred and should be protected, because it can be a great tool used by God or by the enemy.
How I forgive my future husband, how I interact with my husband, how we work together to glorify God is my first ministry and is the very reason for the existence of marriage. So, why do people make such a big deal of it? Because it is a big deal!
Having this fresh perspective has transformed how I view and approach dating. If dating is preparation for marriage, I don’t want to waste time with someone I know I can’t live fully in my calling with. This even goes to the men who are a part of the church. If God is leading us in two different directions and we are unequally yoked, someone is going to have to compromise and even walk away from what God is calling them into. Your union should strengthen you in your calling not pull you away from it.
I don’t want to rant or pull out my soap box this Sunday, but I really wanted to share how God has been growing me in the area of dating and relationships. It is an ironic paradox that I have a dating blog and no dating life, but God had to force me to take a step back. He had to deal with some very real issues in my heart and my perspective in order to go forward in a healthy relationship one day. So, I would encourage everyone who reads this blog and finds themselves in a dry spell when it comes to their love life. God does care. And the more you seek Him, the more He will restore you, but you must be patient with His process.