Word From Pastor Christopher Brock
The concept of a long-lasting marriage is one that I have had ingrained into my life or as long as I can remember. I began to develop an understanding of what a long-lasting marriage should look like as I grew up and I later used that understanding as my goal for marriage. I believed that a long-lasting marriage was one that should start early. I believed that the true long-lasting marriages, and the one that I wanted to have, happened when a man and a woman met young, knew that they were meant for each other, and quickly got marriage. Afterwards, they proceeded to live happily ever after.
I believed that a marriage like this was one in which the husband and wife did not fight and always helped each other no matter what. I truly had an idealistic view of what long-lasting marriage should be and what it should look like to others around it. I also believed that if I did not have that kind of marriage then I would have in some way failed. I believed that without that kind of marriage and that fairytale type of scenario then I would have fallen short of true success. When I met someone who seemed to share similar goals in life we made the move to marry. That decision, which went against the advice of all of those around us, began a long and difficult journey which eventually resulted in a failed marriage fourteen years later. I realized that from the very beginning I did not have a true and genuine understanding of what marriage was much less of what it took to make sure that a marriage endured.
Though there were many things I had did not fully understand, there were three fundamental ways in which I had an improper understanding of what Biblical marriage was, and without that true Biblical perspective, it was impossible to have a long-lasting, Biblical marriage. The first, and likely the most important, misunderstand that I had was what the role of the husband and the wife was. I believed that the purpose of the husband in marriage was to make the wife happy and the purpose of the wife was to make the husband happy. With this in mind I believed that if I was a “good husband” and did things that a wife would want done and bought things that a wife would like, then that should surely result in a happy wife. Likewise, my expectation was that my wife would do things for me and buy things for me that would make a husband happy. But, regardless of how much I bought or how much I did, or vice versa, we never had joy.
I can now see that the role of a husband and a wife is not to make their partner happy. The truth is that joy, true joy, comes from the Lord and it comes from Him alone. My role as a husband should never be to try to make my wife happy but instead, my role and my desire should be to help my wife grow closer to Jesus. I should desire to see my wife grow in her faith in the Lord and mature spiritually in her relationship with the Holy Spirit. I also realize that the best and truly only way that I can do that as a husband is to first grow in those areas myself. So, what does that then mean? It means that my focus should not actually be on my wife first, but upon the Lord first! It is when I put the Lord first in my life and I pursue Him over all other things, including my wife, that I learn to love like Him and I begin to have His love living inside of me. That is the love that a wife should feel from their husband and a husband should feel from his wife, the love of Christ reflected through them.
The second, and equally important, misconception that I believed about marriage was regarding the fundamental purpose of marriage. I believed that marriage was about the classic fairytale love story and it was also a fundamental part of the American dream. I believed that marriage was when a man and a woman met each other and immediately fell in love, had everything in common, built a family together, and retired at fifty-five to live out a long and exciting life. The marriage was all about the husband and wife and what they were able to accomplish together. The success they had, the vacations they took, the home they lived in, and the image they projected. No where in my understanding of marriage was their room for the Lord.
After having experienced a marriage in which those were my foundational beliefs, I can no say that I was fundamentally wrong. Marriage is not about a man and woman. Marriage not about happiness and success. Marriage is about honoring the Father and about becoming a living example of the way that Jesus Christ loves His church and the way that His church loves Him in return. Without Christ as the foundation of the marriage there is nothing for the marriage to truly be built upon.
The final misconception that I had was regarding the reason why a man and a woman should get married. Building upon my first two errors I believed that when a man and a woman found that they had a lot in common, they shared the same background, they shared the same goals, and they seemed to make each other happy, then that meant it was ok for them to be married. I believed that it was a matter of finding a person that you were compatible with and once you found a person that you were compatible with, you should get married. I never really thought that there was that one person out there who I was destined to be with, I just thought it was about finding someone with whom I got along with and could be happy with.
The truth however is that, we should not be the ones to decide who to marry or when to marry. We should not go out looking to find someone to marry by dating people. We should seek God first and we should marry the person that He tells us to marry, when He tells us to marry them. If we proceed to try to force anything to happen, to find a person that makes us happy, to get married based on our own plan and our own desire, we will eventually experience the consequences of that action.
However, when we wait patiently upon the Lord and He plan. When we seek first His Kingdom and His Righteousness, He will bring the right person, the person that He has created us to be with, into our lives at the right time and the right way. I believe that God has created man and woman to be together and that, if it is God’s will for a person to be married, there is a specific single person that we are designed to be one with. I consider it like this, when Eve was created, she was created from the rib of Adam. She was bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh. If Adam had tried to take a different woman, or Eve had gone to be with a different man, they would not had been from one flesh together. They would have experienced rejection and the symptoms of rejection in the relationship. I believe that this serves as an image of the way that God designed husband and wife.
In closing, I believe that long lasting marriage requires a firm foundation. That foundation must be built upon the Lord and His truth. That truth must include the truth about marriage, that marriage is designed to bring glory to the Lord and demonstrate His love to this world and that marriage is determined by the Lord and just as in all things, we should seek His will and His direction in it. I believe that if you were to ask a young couple why they desire to get married, the only true and right answer should be, because God told us we are to be husband and wife.