After months of anticipation and preparation, two friends finally married. For the record, they're not the people on this magazine cover. I just thought this image would be a cool addition to this post.
At any rate, whenever I watch people marry (especially if I'm involved in the ceremony) certain questions always seem to raise in my head. For instance, I often ask myself "When is right for me to marry?".
As I see ads in the phone book for divorce, it's clear to me that society doesn't view marriage as God does (see I Corinthians 3:18). People don't always realize that a successful marriage first starts with personal communion with God. This intimate relationship with Him allows us to answer questions about things that go into marriage (not just "love").
Successful marriages in Christ are the product of numerous things. If I have your attention, I'd like to share them. This should be fun:
(1) Being equally yoked: The Bible teaches us not to be bound together with unbelievers. Harmony in Christ can't exist when half of the relationship doesn't even follow Him. Take Tauheedah, my last official girlfriend: I mean, this girl was DOPE! Pretty, intelligent, socially conscious. Just an all-around girl. Except...she was Muslim. Not to hate on Muslims (we're all free to worship as we please); but there was no way that I, as a Christian, could expect to connect with someone who viewed Jesus as "just a prophet". You either follow Jesus or you don't. Having one of both types in a marriage is destined for failure, no matter how open-minded they are.
(2) Familiarity: Christian couples, I believe, must be able to recognize the levels of familiarity that they have with one another. Where are they spiritually? What are their views on child-rearing? On the roles of men and women in a marriage? On finances? On their dedication to Christ? As we find mates, familiarity and commitment to one another must be proven, not just offered as lip service.
(3) Recognizing marriage as a covenant: Not only is marriage a commitment to one another, but it's also a covenant (or agreement) with God. It's a promise to remain faithful to your mate until the end of your life--or theirs; whether you're rich or poor, healthy or sick, attractive or...well...not-so-attractive, exciting or boring. Christian marriages should be able to endure the worst of circumstances from anger to depression to sexual dissatisfaction. The Bible teaches us that all things are possible through Christ. This certainly holds true for marriage.
(4) Avoiding emotional reaction: We all want to have the desires of our heart. In fact, God wants that for us. But I've learned that our desires must match His plan and His will. Furthermore, I don't want to commit to someone just because it "feels right". Sure, she gives me butterflies when she calls. Sure, I love doing romantic things with her. But, these feelings won't last forever. Instead, these feelings should give way to a much deeper love, a much stronger commitment, a more solid foundation, an unbreakable security, and a closer walk with God. With patience, faith, and hard work, God will do great things with me...
...and my mate!