Over the years, there have been a group of women that I found myself working with primarily. It's the ones that are tired of being single, and they're ready to get married. Like, yesterday. They profess to have dealt with their limiting self issues, understanding what marriage is all about, and they know/believe they'll make a great wife. I'll say this: God is very intentional. In all things, in all ways. I say that because it's only right that I'd find myself working with such women, because they are me. I am them. I was in the same boat a few years ago. I just knew I was ready for marriage because I simply knew one thing: divorce wasn't an option. I had already determined that I wasn't going to be submit, be controlled, or be told what to do. Actually, I desired a man that would have a healthy dose of fear when it came to me, knowing his wife "wasn't one to play with." Girl. A hot mess, I was. And this way of thinking is why I was single for a while. God made it clear to me that until I realized what marriage His way was about and agreed to it, I would remain single. Mind you, there are others out there doing what they want in marriage, yet God chose to call me out. The Holy audacity! (Just kidding, Abba)
I'm glad God blocked it. When I thought I was ready for marriage, He blocked it. And I'm thankful. I hadn't a clue. But once I found myself in the season of preparation, it all began to make sense. He showed me what marriage truly entailed. He placed around me those that were having marital issues so I could get a glimpse. He allowed me to see that it was beyond trips, guilt-free sex, and social media posts. It was more than me cooking for a handsome man, keeping the house clean, and be a smiling warm welcome after a long day he had at work. Can I ask, what is marriage to you? Does it sound similar to what I described? Add a little or take some away?
Some are losing their minds because they're ready to meet their husbands now. Some are fine where they are because marriage just isn't that big of a deal. Some are in marriages now and they're in love with the idea of being in one. Then there are those that want out, realizing it's not all that it's cracked up to be.
What is the purpose of marriage, exactly?
When I released Debunking the Fairy-tale of Boaz last year, there was feedback that came from a few women that were bold enough to be honest: they were not ready for marriage, and my book taught them that (though that wasn't the goal). Let's explore some of the true purposes of marriage. Then you can make up your mind if marriage is all that it's cracked up to be.
For His glory. All that we do must point back to God. It must honor Him. Ephesians 4:2-3 says, “With all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace." Maintaining the unity of the Holy Spirit is key in all aspects of our lives, including marriage. So I find it interesting when women are OK if a man doesn't share their same religious beliefs. Especially if the man doesn't even believe in God. Walking by faith, shining our lights, and becoming all things to all men doesn't include marrying and (willingly) going into covenant with someone that doesn't believe in God. How do you, as a woman, submit to a man that isn't submitted to God? Marriage must be for the glory of God. It must be a man and a woman, equally yoked, aimed at pleasing and glorifying Him. You can't sex your way into marriage. You can't trick or deceive one into marriage, either. Sin doesn't glorify our Father.
For accountability. So if we're bringing glory to God through marriage, then it can only be said that marriage is for accountability. In Matthew 22, Jesus speaks of how at the resurrection, no one is married. That lets us know that marriage is for covenant here on earth. It's for a husband and wife to hold each other accountable to a righteous way of living. As women, we hear "submit" and think it equates to being controlled. Not at all! Even Galatians 6 speaks of gently and humbly restoring another believer who is overcome by sin. This doesn't exclude wives. I mention this because we tend to think submission means being silenced by our husbands. However it's understanding that we are the weaker vessel. And that's OK! There are things women are called to do that men aren't. In today's time, many women are too busy trying to prove that they can do what men can do. They're losing their uniqueness. We're not created to do everything a man can do. We're created to do the things they can't.
For completeness. Oh my goodness! I said what many disagree with. Because women are to be whole and complete while single, right? Well, that's true.
But in Genesis 2:18, God said it is NOT good for man to be alone. He said He'd create a helper suitable for him (Adam). Therefore, Adam wasn't complete without Eve. He needed her help. Husbands and wives have vital roles, and their job is to complete each other. An issue is that there are single parents due to fornication, divorce, etc. And many women have been left to raise children and run households alone. This has led to the independent mentality where women feel as if they don't need a man for any reason at all. Handle your business now, knowing that God is making a way and will provide for you. But it's OK to admit you need help, realizing you were never meant to do it alone.
For fruitfulness. So here's the thing. Many assume that the command in Genesis 1:28 to be fruitful and multiply applies to having children. This presents a problem for anyone struggling with infertility. This would also pose a problem as we look at Jesus and the apostle Paul in the New Testament. While children are a part of this, it's not just children. There are many ways to be fruitful. We're called for a purpose. Glorifying God, sharing the gospel, working hard, etc are some of those purposes. So there are many ways to produce fruit. Matthew 28:19 instructs us to go and make disciples. So we can be spiritually fruitful in our marriages also.
Protection and provision. There's constantly the debate and argument on the husband being the sole financial provider in a household, or the one to pay the majority of all expenses. Well, let's examine a few things. Nowhere in the Bible does it state the man is to cover all expenses to run a house, by himself. What it does state in 1 Timothy 5:8 is that those who won't take care of their households have denied the true faith and these people are worse than those that don't believe. Proverbs 31:16 also says she inspects a field and buys, planting a vineyard with her earnings. 1 Peter 3:7 instructs husbands to treat their wives with respect as they are the weaker vessels. Proverbs 31:11 says a wife greatly enriches her husband's life. Titus 2 says the woman is to be busy at home. Both spouses are to provide, albeit in different ways. A wife is to be the helpmate, the ezer kenegdo, and her job is to cover and protect her husband. This is mutually beneficial covenant.
Companionship. It's OK to acknowledge that marriage is for companionship, but that should never be the sole reason a couple gets married. The key is to be equally yoked, agreeing on the direction in which you are walking (Amos 3:3).
Mirror Christ and the church. Let's examine Ephesians 5:21-24. It states, "Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything." We're to submit out of reverence for Christ. It says husbands are the head as Christ is the head. It also instructs that wives should submit to their husbands as does the church to Christ. But we can't exclude verse 25: Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her. So it's not all based on what we, as wives, are to do.
Pleasure and enjoyment. The Bible speaks about laughter being good medicine. It talks about peace and joy. John 10:10 speaks of us having an abundant life. Marriage is having someone to do life with, and to enjoy it. So this eliminates the thought that husbands are to control their wives, leaving them fearful and unhappy almost. But let's be clear: Proverbs has 4 different scriptures on a nagging wife being almost one of the worst things in the world to a husband. It's hard to enjoy marriage if one or both spouses are unpleasant.
Prayerfully these things put marriage in perspective for you. As you have a better understanding of marriage, I hope that you decide on this day that your marriage will be prosperous. It will be God-honoring. It will be a light to those around you, married or single. It will replicate Christ and His love for the church. I pray it glorifies God in all ways, on all levels. God bless you.