“A woman was never meant to be an idol to worship, but rather, a partner to help keep a man’s worship fixed on God.”
“You’re not ready to date until you’re content with being single.”
Above are two quotes taken from the last two Biblical Manhood podcast episodes, which are part of a series entitled, “Man & Wife”. In this blog post, I’d like to propound some of the things that I talk about in those two most recent episodes. Before I move on, I’d highly encourage you guys to listen to the two “Man & Wife” episodes that are now live (link at the bottom of this page). You should read this blog post for somewhat of an introduction.
I’ll start with my own personal experience concerning this subject. When I was around 16 years old, I remember taking a walk in the woods near my house and talking to God about dating and marriage. Recently, I had been deeply studying what the Bible had to say about marriage. Being astonished by the way this biblical insight impacted me, I desired to talk about what I had learned with my friends. As is typical, the hot topic in my circle of friends was girls. However, most of the time these conversations were shallow; they never seemed to go beyond the subject of “who likes who,” “which girl is the most attractive” etc. I wanted to go deeper. There was so much more to marriage and dating than I had previously thought, and it disturbed me that my friends didn’t always seem that interested in talking about the things that really mattered concerning marriage. In fact, one time I asked a few of my friends if they knew what the purpose of marriage was, and their reply was a curious, “I’ve never really thought about that before!” This was a big problem in my eyes. I presumed that most young men probably thought marriage was only about satisfying a peculiar desire for a mate, without really seeking to understand why they had such a desire. After all, if you’re only getting married so that you can have a sexual outlet, that’s a pretty selfish motive, and a superficial one at best. I for one wanted to know why God gave me such a strong desire for a mate, simply because the instruction in the Bible seemed to imply that marriage was about much more than romance and reproduction. It was at this point of desperation that I discovered something so stunningly convicting that my whole perception of dating, marriage, and sex was completely overturned. This revelatory discovery filled me with such a godly fear, that I, for the first time in my life, really understood why God was so repulsed by things like divorce, adultery, and pornography. In times past, I knew in my heart that such things were wrong, but I didn’t fully understand why they were wrong.
A subject I like to call, “The Purpose of Marriage”, laid the groundwork for every one of my personal convictions concerning personal purity, boundaries in dating, when to start thinking about marriage, what kind of woman to look for, etc. And also, the subject of relationships, which seemed to be a source of anxiety and insecurity for most young people, became for me a source of excitement and fulfillment, even though I had never had a girlfriend before. I began to look expectantly forward to the day when I would meet the woman I would spend the rest of my life with, but I wasn’t at all anxious or impatient about it. I was perfectly content with being single, and wasn’t at all concerned by the likelihood of all my friends being married before I even had a girlfriend. Even to this day, and still single, I am satisfied with who I am in Christ. My Bible says I’m complete in Christ (Colossians 2:9-10), and that’s enough for me. Now don’t get me wrong, I do want to get married eventually, but I’ve simply come to the conclusion that I’d rather be single my whole life, than get married hastily and end up divorced, because I was too complacent to see the foolishness in pursuing a relationship based only on the intoxicating effects of infatuation.
Overall, this discovery of the purpose of marriage, simply put, made me realize that marriage was not about me and all about Jesus. I mean, the Bible says that all things were created for Him (Colossians 1:16); and since He’s the One who created marriage, obviously, marriage was about pleasing Him and not me. This was freeing. In a community of young people that seemed to be consumed by the fear of the friendzone, rejection, break-ups, not being liked by someone, and so on, I felt for the first time that I could go on with my life knowing that I was accepted, validated, and loved by Someone greater…and I didn’t need a girlfriend to give me a counterfeit sense of validation, or make me addicted to a temporary infatuation. In all honesty, for most young people, relationships are a drug–a temporary high to mask the pain of insecurity, identity crisis, and lack of self-worth.
Here’s the deal: If you want to get married, but don’t want to do marriage God’s way, you should question why you want to get married to begin with. Now, I’m not endorsing premarital sex or living with your girlfriend. I’m simply trying to get a point across. Marriage is not a social construct…it’s a God-given, holy institution of a covenant between two committed people–one man and one woman. But here’s the issue: because marriage was invented by God, it won’t work unless you do it God’s way. This is precisely why so many Christian marriages end in divorce; either one or both parties entered into the covenant of marriage with a contract mindset. Most people see a God-ordained relationship through a lens of a selfish, worldly philosophy, and then wonder why it didn’t work out. Marriages end in divorce when young couples don’t understand the purpose of marriage. Why? Because if you don’t understand the purpose of something, you’ll misuse it, and eventually end up destroying it. Furthermore, building a marriage without knowing its God-given purpose is like trying to build a house without blueprints. In reality, a marriage that’s not done God’s way, isn’t a marriage at all. It’s just a faulty, man-made copy that’s pretentiously labeled–it’s an off-brand product.
On a more positive note, marriage done God’s way is incredibly fulfilling and enthralling. It’s like a treasure chest filled with precious jewels waiting to be unlocked and opened. However, if we imagine marriage as that treasure chest chocked full of goodies, intimacy with God is the key that’s needed to unlock it. A close, personal relationship with Jesus is the key to unlock everything that God created marriage to be. Any marriage that’s not done God’s way, is an embellished treasure chest full of fools gold.
With that being said, don’t hesitate to listen to the two podcast episodes I now have public, and stay tuned for the episodes to be released on Wednesday of the next two weeks! Click here to listen.