How To Follow God’s True Desire for Marriage
Marriage is a sacred bond between two people. A relationship desired by God and meant to be held as infinitely important. As God desires us to be in an intimate relationship with Him, our personal relationships also need to adhere to certain standards. When the high standards of the most holy are not met, we are faced with a challenging question – Is it God’s desire for me to stay or to leave?
God Desires Us to Be in Relationship
In God’s infinite wisdom, He knew we needed community and interpersonal relationships to live whole and rewarding lives. The need for relationships goes back to the Book of Genesis:
“The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a suitable partner for him.” (Genesis 2:18 NAB)
Your partner is meant to bring wholeness to your life. A marriage relationship should bring with it a sounding board to figure out life’s trials. The relationship is intended to encourage happiness, unity, and peace. It is the first level of community; the intimate community formed in our home and is sacred.
God Desires Wholeness
As children of God, we are all one body, a community of spirits living as one. In 1 Corinthians, it is written:
“so that there may be no division in the body, but that the parts may have the same concern for one another. If [one] part suffers, all the parts suffer with it; if one part is honored, all the parts share its joy.” (1 Corinthians 12:25-26 NAB)
We are to honor each other, respect each person’s talents, and care for one another as we would care for ourselves. If this is the prescribed way to care for the community at large, should it not be 100 times stronger within a marriage relationship? Marriage must hold true to a commitment of wholeness to honor our commitment to the body of Christ.
Love As Christ Loved
The most difficult order laid on marriage is to love each other as Christ loved the church. The enormity of this order should not be overlooked. In Ephesians Chapter 6, it states:
“So [also] husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one hates his own flesh rather nourishes and cherishes it, even as Christ does the church because we are members of his body.” (Ephesians 6:28-30 NAB)
While the text speaks of the husband, I think it is safe to say this call to love as Christ loved is a two-sided street. We are meant to love and encourage each other in full communion. Our relationship with our spouse needs to make us stronger and give us the safety and security of a love that is beyond the day-to-day imperfections of human life. It is not a call to be perfect. It is a call to love in our imperfections.
Marriage is Hard
How often do we hear people say, “Marriage is hard.” Is it? Should it be? Every relationship has challenges. No person walking this earth is perfect; we all make our share of mistakes and indiscretions. Life is hard. Marriage, as prescribed by God, should not be hard. It will not be perfect. Nothing is. But if we are adhering to God’s call to be in a relationship, to encourage each other’s wholeness, to love fully as we love ourselves and as Christ loved us, then marriage should be the antidote to the ills that make life hard. Marriage becomes the vessel that allows us to travel through the storm. Our marriage is not meant to make the winds more violent.
Until Death Do Us Part
When we speak the words “until death do us part,” are they speaking of literal human death? I have an outside-the-box idea I would like to lay at your feet. Could the death of the relationship hold as much weight as the actual loss of life? As a faith-filled person, you walk into marriage expecting the intimacy prescribed by God. If after all your best efforts are exhausted, the marriage no longer meets God’s expectations; is it still alive? This is a challenging question to answer. It is not a question that can be answered on a whim. But after careful consideration and prayer, if it is discovered that your marriage is no longer breathing life as prescribed by God – I do not believe He desires you to stay.
More Than a Contract
Marriage is more than a business contract. God does not call us to contracts. He calls us to relationships; He desires us to live in the wholeness of relationship with Him and each other. Wholeness is important to God. To shrink yourself to fulfill a marriage contract is not the will of God. Either the marriage lives up to the holy standards God set forth, or it is dead. With death comes an ending so that we can move into the possibility of new life.
Death Is Not the End
By His own power, God became a man, walked our humble earth, and died. Death was not the end of the story. Instead, the story ends with infinite new life with a loving, omnipresent creator. Let us follow God’s lead and look upon the death of a marriage as an opportunity to grow. Will there be pain? Yes, absolutely. But through the pain and loss, there is the chance to follow a new path, write a new story, move into a closer relationship with God and forge new, deeper relationships with the people around us. This is the desire of God’s heart. This is the path to follow.