So my mind started asking all of those deep, philosophical questions like, “What is the point of getting married? Why do we get married in the first place? What is GOD’S plan for two people being married?” Because, honestly, that last question is really what counts. He instituted marriage. It is His idea – so then, it’s not really even about my thoughts or feelings. (I’m not saying feelings aren’t part of the picture, but we all know they come and go. So I knew that it had to be about more than just feeling ‘in love’ 24/7).
I came across an article (really a Q and A), but there was a section that just sort of clicked for me:
“We can’t answer your question until we understand something critical about marriage as God intends. For all of its “practical” benefits — sexual pleasure, happiness and health, etc. — marriage, and intercourse, is not first about that.
“I cannot emphasize this enough. If marriage is ultimately and primarily for me and my needs, or her and her needs, if it is primarily about us, about self, then I will always struggle with disappointment, because there is never enough for me. Never.
“I use the words primarily and ultimately purposely here. Clearly, biblical marriage benefits me, and as such it is a great gift to me, but it is not first and foremost about me (or my spouse).
“Paul teaches in Ephesians that the mystery of marriage is this: It is primarily and ultimately about Christ and the Church; it is a living, breathing human parable on display to the whole world about the relationship between Jesus and His Bride.
“Christ gave everything of Himself for the Church. We are to give ourselves completely to Him. “Greater love has no one than this,” He said, “that someone lay down his life for his friends.” The throbbing heartbeat of the cross of Christ is a complete emptying of one for another, the complete giving of oneself for the good of the other. It is in losing our lives that we find life…
“A final thought. To give oneself away to another person in such a way as I’ve described here requires great trust in the One who brought you together with this other person. Does He know what He is doing? Do we trust that He can heal when we stick our heart out there to another human and get hurt (because even in a growing Christian marriage, both husband and wife will experience hurt)?
“Do I believe that God is big enough to catch me when the other person doesn’t? Only in completely abandoning ourselves to Him first can we give ourselves in this way to another. And giving ourselves away to another, especially in sexual intimacy, is a beautiful way for us to express our trust in Him.”
I’ve come back to that thought several times – a living, breathing human parable about the relationship between Jesus and His bride…complete emptying of one for another…complete giving of oneself for the good of the other…
That is hard. And scary. And like the article said, even in a Christian marriage, it’s about putting yourself out there to love and knowing that hurt is unavoidable. But trusting God to catch you even when your spouse doesn’t. That’s heavy. Love and pain. Two sides of the same coin. Impossible to love without the potential of pain. Try to think of an exception to that. I haven’t found one yet. So in loving, there’s risk, there’s pain. It’s not all pain, but it’s part of the deal. But somehow it helps me to know ahead of time that’s what I’m signing up for. And you know what? Even knowing that, I’m still in.
The purpose of marriage – the choice to love someone else in the same way Jesus has loved me. I gotta let that sink in for a while…