Learning What Marriage Isn’t

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Having a wedding is easy, but 50% of marriages end in divorce.  We must be doing something wrong, right?  There are so many misconceptions about what marriage ‘should be’.  This causes so much pain and disappointment.  I was so blessed to have an amazing pre-marital counselor (who happens to now be my father-in-law, or as I just call him- “dad”) and Jon and I were able to go into it having a more realistic sense of what to expect.  We went into marriage knowing that our relationship was not just about us, the purpose of our covenant relationship was to reflect the relationship that Christ has with the church, His bride.

Marriage isn’t for you.  There is a very popular post going around nowadays called ‘why marriage isn’t for you’.  While it is just a secular post, there is some truth to it.  It is about a man who got married and wasn’t getting what he had hoped to get out of the deal.  He went to his dad who told him “Marriage isn’t for you. You don’t marry to make yourself happy, you marry to make someone else happy. More than that, your marriage isn’t for yourself, you’re marrying for a family. Not just for the in-laws and all of that nonsense, but for your future children. Who do you want to help you raise them? Who do you want to influence them? Marriage isn’t for you. It’s not about you. Marriage is about the person you married.”  Now, while it takes out Christ completely, it could be added that it is first about Christ, and then about the person you married.

Marriage isn’t about sex.  As young Christians, so much pressure is put on us to ‘wait until marriage’.  So we see marriage as the shiny gates.  We race towards that finish line with so much excitement, to either finally have sex (if you succeeded in waiting) or to have sex without conviction (if you hadn’t silenced the Holy Spirit while you were in sin).  Sex is the most intimate and special gift you can give to your spouse.  And, I hate to be a bubble burster, but it usually doesn’t happen as frequently as desired, for either party.  More on sex at a later date, for now, lets just focus on the fact that marriage is NOT about sex.

Marriage isn’t a cure for loneliness.  Simply is not.   When we are lonely, we need to press into Christ, no matter how much it hurts.   It is hard, but we have to trust that He will fill all of our voids.  And, spoiler alert… you can still feel very lonely, even with a husband, and even when they are right next to you in bed.  Lonely single people become lonely married people.  God did not create any person to fulfill another person, except for Jesus.  Humans just were not designed to fill each others needs.

Marriage isn’t a way of escape.  Have an issue with the family or roommate that you just need to get away from?  Marriage is not a means to get away from someone.  Breaking away from an unhealthy relationship and jumping into another relationship for the wrong reasons will cause another unhealthy relationship.  Christ desires for reconciliation.  Because we live in an imperfect world, sometimes this is not as easy as you would hope.  However, running from something into the arms of someone else is not healthy, for anyone involved.  Again, God didn’t design someone else to fill your voids, or to fix your problems.

Marriage isn’t going to bring you closer to Christ.  I have heard of so many people hoping that the relationship with their spouse will make them closer to Christ.  The visions of the prayer meetings with him, the accountability to read the Bible daily, the hopes and dreams that somehow he will help your relationship with the Lord.  This doesn’t happen like that.  If anything, your marriage will be more of a distraction from daily quiet time. Prayer with your spouse will get shorter and shorter, if at all, and nothing will be what you had hoped it was.  Unless, of course if you begin the work prior.  Or, if you are already married, pray for enough grace, maturity and discipline to gain the relationship that Christ desires to have with you, His child.  And pray that your husband will compliment you on this journey.

So, that is that. Marriage can be such a fulfilling thing, as long as it is within the bounderies that God designed it to be within.  Don’t put too much pressure on it. Take joy in the little things.  Be content, and be constant.   I’ll be praying for my marriage, and praying for everyone who reads this post.

~Sarah