Marriage: A humbling & beautiful opportunity to share the Gospel

If someone told me when I was 15 that as a 20 year old in my last few months of college, I would be engaged I would have been surprised.  Being here today, I must say it has been quite a journey and I would not change a moment of it.  Not going to lie…at first, I was fearful of what people might say or think about me getting married so young.  Today, finishing college early, getting married, and moving halfway across the country isn’t exactly the “norm.” So as soon as Jared and I started talking about engagement the judgmental looks and comments began (more so for me than him, since he’s 23 and that seems to be a more “acceptable” age for someone to get married).  At first it really bothered me, but as time went on and I continued to pray about it I realized that those reactions didn’t matter.  As I spent more time in the Word and in prayer, my fears about what everyone else thought became nearly non-existent.  Instead I began to focus on the fact that I should fear God over man and be obedient to what He was calling us to do and not let what anyone else thought or said stand in the way of my obedience to the ONE who has ETERNALLY saved me.  

This has been such an important lesson for me.  Not only does this apply to marriage, this applies to every single area of our lives.


//Whether you’re deciding what college to attend this fall, what friends you should surround yourself with, or what job you should take…we shouldn’t let our motives for that decision be driven by the fear of what other people think (Instead we should focus on the fact that we should fear God over man and be obedient to what He is calling us to do and not let what anyone else thinks or says stand in the way of our obedience to the ONE who has ETERNALLY saved us)//


As we have begun this new journey in preparation for marriage we have had the opportunity to learn what marriage is really about from some wise-counsel that God has so lovingly blessed Jared and I with.  In this time we have been learning about the truth of what marriage was initially created for and it has been placed heavy on my heart to share what we’ve been learning.

In a sermon by Tim and Kathy Keller that we listened to in pre-marital counseling , I began to realize why people may have reacted the way they did when we first started the conversation about engagement back in the fall.  Our culture today is riddled with an unreal and distorted picture of marriage.  In the sermon, the couple mentioned some interesting statistics and assumptions that show how our culture views marriage:
  • the divorce rate today is 50%
  • in 1960, 75% of all US adults were married, now less than 50% are married
  • today 1/4 of all unmarried women are living with men, in 1960 the number of unmarried women living with men was almost non-existent
  • today, a lot of people assume most marriages are unhappy
  • today, people assume living together helps to figure our if the other person is “the one” before marriage
  • today, people assume that the key to satisfying marriage is finding the perfectly compatible soulmate

All of these stats and assumptions point to a very real fear of marriage in our culture.

Additionally, they talked about how our culture has changed the meaning of marriage. Marriage has gone from “us” to “me” and it is no longer centered around sacrifice. Instead, it is centered around pleasure and self-fulfillment. I can now see why people responded the way they did when Jared and I first brought up engagement, because “that approach to marriage puts more pressure on marriage than the bible or any traditional culture” (Tim Keller).  Meaning that the “me” approach leaves marriages in failure and our culture afraid.


I say all of this only to be able to share that while living in a culture where marriage is crumbling out of fear and expectation I have had a beautiful and humbling experience walking through scripture and being reminded of the incredible TRUTH of what marriage really is.


 

Marriage was originally designed to be a vehicle to show the two roles of Jesus: headship and submission. Not the typical way one might think of headship and submission though. Headship has been misconstrued in our society. Today, most people think of headship and submission as the husband making all of the decisions and the woman having no voice or carrying little weight. On the contrary, biblical headship is showing Jesus’ servant leadership and willingness to die for his bride and biblical submission is having an attitude of Christ with the nature of a humble servant (Ephesians 5, Philippians 2). Jesus embodies both of these roles and through marriage we are able to use these roles to show Christ, his work, and our salvation.

Ephesians 5:21-33

21 Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. 22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 23 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. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. 25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.29 After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— 30 for we are members of his body. 31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” 32 This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

Philippians 2:1-8

Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death even death on a cross!

These roles (headship and submission) embody the relationship between the Father and the Son. The ontological being of the Father and the Son are EQUAL, but the submission of Jesus to the Father was one he took WILLINGLY for the salvation of all. Therefore, wives submit to husbands for the purpose that it nourishes, enriches, and reveals the Glory of God (Kathy Keller). 

This reminder of God’s original intention for marriage has been so refreshing to hear amidst our modern day definition of marriage.  While our definition today sounds great, it sets us up for failure and leaves us in disappointment.  Today, we are focused on finding the perfect person who doesn’t exist.  We are all told that we should be with someone who won’t hurt us, won’t change us, and won’t make us sacrifice anything.  The problem with that view is that we live in a fallen world with fallen people.  We are now selfishly focusing on what marriage can do for us, instead of viewing marriage as a covenantal relationship and an opportunity to display the Gospel to the world.

So at the end of the day, while I am only 20 years old and some people say I don’t know what I want in life or even what career path I plan to pursue, I DO know that I want to be obedient to God.  He has placed an incredible, yet far from perfect man in my life who points me to Christ and we have been given a humbling and beautiful opportunity to share the Gospel with the world through the repentance, forgiveness, sacrifice, and servanthood of our relationship.
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