Sitting across from my father during our pre-marital counseling, I felt nervous and anxious. I had no idea what to expect. My whole life, I'd heard his stories about John-Doe and Jane-Doe- couples he'd counseled over the years. We shared early coffee mornings, sitting on our couch and I'd listen to his instruction, advice and opinions on how I could prepare for marriage and what I should be looking for in a husband.
I had the ring and, clearly, the approval of my parents. Jarrett held my hand and I shook my leg, nervously, as I often do. Why did I feel so anxious? Well, because it marked that we were really getting married!!! Finally, it was happening. It was official and all my excitement, hopes and dreams hung thick in the air. Finally, I'd be with someone who would love me forever! I'd be happy always and have someone to call my own. I'd never be lonely anymore. I'd be someone's one-and-only focus and we'd be free to do whatever we wanted to do, without restrictions.
If you notice, most of my hopes and dreams were focused on "I". Problem #1.
The goal for most of us in dating is to secure a special someone with whom we can spend the rest of our lives with and make gorgeous babies with. I don’t know anyone who vows to commit their life to someone they think will make them feel miserable or unloved.
Everyone has good intentions when it comes to marriage. We make our promises, spend the money, make the plans and throw the parties. But, I think the issues that arise for so many after marriage is often due to the fault in not knowing the actual purpose of marriage.
Too many of us are dating for selfish reasons, so we marry for selfish reasons:
I'm lonely. He's cute. He's accomplished. I'm bored. I want to find someone who will appreciate me. I deserve to be happy. I'm getting older and I need to settle down. I...I...I...me...me...me.
We all feel like we are relationship experts, but how many of us are really in preparation? What are we really doing, outside of our selfies and statuses, to secure a lasting marriage? Although our culture tries to generalize romance, there is a difference between a relationship and a marriage.
According to scripture, marriage is:
A) A life-long covenant between the husband, the wife and God (Genesis 2:24; Matthew 19:6).
-It's not just a relationship between two consenting people for a period of time, based on the couple's convenience. It's a vow and an oath before God..."till death do us part".
B) Not a contract or social convention. Its purpose is not meant to serve two individuals advantageously, as our culture suggests. Instead, Scripture teaches that marriage was God's original idea and that it is a divine institution that no one has the right to alter or change, not even the two people involved! (Matthew 19:6).
C) Ultimately, marriage is a reflection in the physical of what God has done in the spiritual (Ephesians 5). It is a physical display of spiritual selflessness, sacrifice, forgiveness and unconditional love. Does that sound familiar? It should. It should sound like Jesus.
But, let's be honest. How many of us are truly considering marriage because we hope to pattern our love after Christ's marriage to His Church? Yet this is the Bible's teaching. If we lose sight of the truth that our marriages are purposed to reflect Christ's love, our understanding and ultimately, our behavior and attitude, in marriage will be misguided and result in broken hearts, hopes and homes.
Let’s look at a few myths we've been taught to believe about marriage and use scripture to correct our error:
1. When I am Married, I will be Fulfilled
In every happily-ever-after movie, we learn that it is the prince’s job to make the princess happy.
It's cliche, but true happiness must first be found in yourself. You cannot put another person in God's position. Your husband will not be able to provide you with the long lasting joy of the Lord, because he is flawed, just like you. He cannot read your mind. He cannot know and meet your every need. He cannot peer into the intentions of your heart. He cannot translate your feelings or memorize your spirit. Jesus is the only One who can satisfy your soul. Experienc