When Marriage Isn’t The Ultimate Relationship
There’s that vulnerable moment when you are just a girl standing in front of a boy asking him to love you (I’m looking at you, Julia Roberts). You’ve found that person who completes you (thank you, Jerry Maguire). You hold her hand, and it’s just magic (which can cause some sleepless nights, especially in Seattle). So, you run through the streets of New York because when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible (says Harry to Sally). It’s when you know that what you really want to do with your life, what you want to do for a living, is to be with this person (John Cusack holding up that boom box, need I say more?).
Marriage. The ultimate relationship.
Ok, wait one Hollywood minute. Isn’t the ultimate relationship supposed to be with God?
Oh yeah, right, right. But look at our movies, even the guy movies, and many have the seeking of someone to be married to, the protection of a marriage, the loss of a marriage. The world revolves around this union it seems.
But let’s not just take easy potshots at “the world.” (Besides, I love me some chick flicks if you couldn’t already tell. They aren’t necessarily the problem.)
Christians are just as busy making marriage (and children) the ultimate goal of adulthood.
The thing is, the Bible kind of disagrees. Yeah, it talks about marriage as something sacred, as a beautiful picture of Christ and his church.
Then Paul talks about how marriage distracts from serving God. He recommends choosing singleness. He gets all sorts of opposite from us and what we like to promote. Check out 1 Corinthians 7 if you don’t believe me.
So, let’s just dismiss those passages right? Well, no.
Maybe we can look at what marriage really is.
Francis and Lisa Chan talk about marriage in their book, You and Me Forever: Marriage in Light of Eternity, as a way to grow each other towards God, to spur one another on to good deeds, but not to root into each other and forget the world.
“We are putting up better windows in our house to block out the noise of the war that is going on outside.” Francis Chan
I love being married. But I am realizing I need to love being God’s child more. Honestly, that is not always the case. Sometimes a person with skin on seems easier to relate to than the God of the universe.
What is the consequence of this elevation of marriage?
We take our eyes off of God and focus on someone else entirely. We seek wholeness in someone that can’t give it to us. Then, we get frustrated with that person God brought into our lives to team up with and serve Him. Our spouse isn’t filling us, so we end up divorced because “we just stopped loving each other” and divorce was more convenient than working on it. Our Christian divorce rate mirrors the world’s, and I think some of that is that we are mirroring their purpose for marriage as well. Our spouse doesn’t complete us. God does.
(Grace Note: please know that I know not all divorce is based on this, not all spouses have a choice, and that it is a much more complicated than this one little illustration.)
We need marriages. We need to band together and encourage one another and have children and raise them up to do God’s work as well.
Living authentically means putting God in the right place and all relationships coming into focus because of Him.
Marriage is an important relationship that should be a picture of how others can draw near to God, but it is not ultimate. He is.