Royal wedding or Real wedding?

Just last weekend, the event the world had been waiting for -I know I overstate it some but indulge me :-), the royal wedding and the surrounding fever (whether for or against it), finally happened. I’m not big on weddings generally but I’m a self professed sucker for a good love story (whatever that means ) so I watched it. I was enthralled by the fairytale elements; the real life Cinderella story  it depicted, the romance, the pomp and pageantry et al. It also got me thinking about marriage and the criteria for selecting ‘the one’ (besides the one in a million chance of him being heir to a multi million pound dynasty).

 

I have had my fair share of relationships, not too many, honest :-).  My primary criteria were love and romance; the butterflies in my tummy, the ‘can’t wait for him to call’, and ‘don’t wanna hang up the phone when we talked’, stuff like that. There was the important but ancillary stuff like we had to get along, have similar interests; he had to be cute, smart, have a job, not a criminal (lol), and other such peripheral yardsticks, but that was as far as it went. If there was a form, they would have had to tick the Christian box but I wasn’t really investigating their commitment to Christ and I was willing to forgive them for some shortcomings if I got the aforesaid butterflies.

 

But years, tears (from the joys, drama and heartache of relationships) and countless boundless podcasts later (curious? see postscript); I start to ponder the reasons for dating and marriage. I write from the perspective of a single female, but I hope my ramblings are relatable and helpful to both genders.

 

 

My perspective on dating and relationships was mainly garnered through movies and music.Hollywood got me bad; I was a clichéd ‘hopeless romantic’. With the benefit of biblical knowledge, I now take exception to that phrase because I am by no means and in no way hopeless, as a Christian I have a ‘living hope’ in Christ, my hope of glory (1 Peter 1:3, Colossians 1:27).

 

I thought the point of marriage was to be happy, to find my soul mate, one who completes me. I thought I’d recognize my spouse when on the first date when he’d complete my sentences, know my thoughts and needs before I voiced them and generally read my mind, lol(tall order yeah?). I realize that was wishful, unrealistic thinking; but a lot of us think about marriage in similar terms by way of finding ‘the one’, riding off into the sunset and living happily forever after without considering the perspective of the Author of marriage. On a side note, I once heard a preacher joke that If there was any one person who could complete another, God would do His best to keep them apart as He only wants us to find completion in Him 🙂 (Colossians 2:10).

 

I’m learning that since the primary purpose of man is to serve and enjoy God, all the facets of human life must reflect this over arching purpose. A popular saying about marriage from the biblical viewpoint is that God’s primary purpose with it, is not to make us happy, but holy. This is not to suggest that God doesn’t want us happy, Jesus in declaring His mission statement said He came that we would have and enjoy life (John 10:10). However the primary way for a believer to live to the fullest is by doing God’s will and seeking first His kingdom and righteousness (Matthew 6:33). Also, since without holiness no one will see God,(Hebrews 12:14) and our lives span 150 years at the most, it is only fitting that life and marriage prepare us for spending infinite eternity with God (I use the tautology deliberately, to emphasise the length of eternity).

 

My thinking is evolving and now I see that through marriage, we are mandated to establish God’s purposes on the earth and expand His kingdom (not just by pro creating, but by preaching the gospel, see the great commission in Mark 16:15). After God performed the first marriage ceremony in history, He pronounced a blessing on Adam and Eve and commanded them to ‘be fruitful, multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it [using all its vast resources in the service of God and man]; and have dominion over every living creature that moves upon the earth (Genesis 1:28 Amp.).

 

In that scripture, it was like God gave them a vision and told them how to execute it. All of nature and creation has been groaning in birth pains and waiting with eager longing for the sons of God to be revealed (Romans 8:19-22), so just like Adam and Eve, through marriage we can redeem, and exercise dominion over creation.

 

The knowledge of God’s plan and desire is refining my thoughts of what marriage should be and what to look for in a mate. I’m learning that rather than seeking out a hunk who’s only value might be as eye candy, I should be looking for someone with a heart for God and His kingdom, a mate who loves me not just for anything physical like looks or chemistry (though they are important) but most importantly to have a connection predicated on our desire to honour God and be used by Him to affect the lost and dying world.

 

Don’t get me wrong, I am still very romantic, albeit hopefully now , and pray for a happy marriage with a fantastic, articulate dude who is crazier about Jesus than he is about me! That’s because it’s that love for Jesus that will teach and equip him to love me as Christ loved the church (Ephesians 5:25-28). Only Jesus can ask a man to love his wife to the point of dying for her, and equip him so to do (Philippians 2:13). As Lecrae raps in ‘Wait’ a man can’t love u like he should if he’s not engaged to Christ; he continues ‘…real leaders follow God, and if the man isn’t following Christ, trust me, he can’t lead u.(more info in the postscript).

 

Only one who has learnt from Christ’s commitment to love to the fullest and to the end, will love when times are tough, when the honeymoon is over and passion wanes, when the ‘7 year itch’ presents itself, when it feels he loves you but is no longer ‘in love’ with you (another Hollywood invention, I think), knowing that marriage is about covenant, not just feelings (John 13:1, Hebrews 7:25).

 

 

I’ve written this from a female perspective but I hope that any readers, male and female alike, are encouraged by it. To my fellow ‘singletons’, I pray for God’s grace for us all, to wait for God’s best and do marriage right; not to hook up with the wrong people as though God who created and foreknew us didn’t have plans for us. He made us for good works which He had prepared in advance and that includes marriage (Ephesians 2:10).

 

 If you are married, I pray for God’s continued grace and blessing on your marriage, and encourage you that even if you did not start right, our God is in the habit of turning our messes into messages, so it’s never too late.

 

 The mandates here are not limited to marriage, a single person can be just as effective or even more so, great examples are our Lord and Saviour Jesus, and the great apostle and writer of over half of the new testament, Paul. Let this be an encouragement for you if you are called to be single or find yourself in that season. I do not wish to diminish it in any way, it can be one of joyous freedom and unclutteredness, Paul actually wished everyone would be single like him, because of the opportunity to be wholly committed to expanding Gods kingdom. ( I Corinthians 7:7).I write this as someone who is enjoying and trying to make the most of my singleness, who desires marriage in the fullness of God’s time, and who most importantly wants to honour, serve and enjoy God in every facet of life including marriage.

 

 

Shalom fam 🙂

 

Postscript

The Boundless show is a website of focus of the family targeted at singles, and related issues, they have a plethora of great resources and a podcast. For more information, go to http://www.boundlessline.org.

 

I wholly recommend listening to Lecrae’s ‘wait’. It’s like a mini sermon on marriage and delves into a lot of the common excuses or misconceptions. I have attached a link to the song and lyrics on YouTube. Pay particular attention to the lyrics even if you don’t like the song, I think the message is sound and biblical. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kI1lrmMWwq0

 

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Emeka
    May 08, 2011 @ 05:54:46

    The inspiration behind this is the INSPIRATION!!!…

    Reply

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