In part 1, I described a couple of reasons why there are difficulties in some marriages using my own opinions and intuitions. As an unmarried man, I have yet to experience all those. Even now as I begin to explain it in a biblical context, I hope I give an accurate description of marriages because there is more gravity to it than using my own opinions.
Marriage is not the end goal nor is it the purpose of your life
Since most people believe that marriage is sacred and a tradition of faith in Christianity, then the marriage should be about God and ironically not about the marriage itself.
There’s a possibility that people can be too focused about the marriage and not the other way around wherein the marriage is focused about pleasing God.
There’s a passage in the Bible that I want to focus on and it’s on 1 Corinthians 7 starting from verse 29. Not a lot of Christians use this passage to describe marriage. In fact, some people believe it’s anti marriage as the apostile Paul focuses on being single, but I believe he is trying to say something more.
“But let me say this, dear brothers and sisters: The time that remains is very short. So from now on, those with wives should not focus only on their marriage. Those who weep or who rejoice or who buy things should not be absorbed by their weeping or their joy or their possessions. Those who use the things of the world should not become attached to them. For this world as we know it will soon pass away.”
The whole chapter 7 of first Corinthians basically talks about marriage: fulfilling each other’s sexual needs, a husband must not leave his wife and vice versa, what to do if you marry a non-Christian or an unbeliever, and more. But throughout the chapter, Paul actually is making a case for being single. He gives a lot of commands from the Lord about how marriage should go about but he also stresses to be single if you can. He even says in an earlier verse “I wish everyone were single, just as I am. But God gives to some the gift of marriage, and to others the gift of singleness.”
But what I like about verse 29 onwards is that it puts our lives and marriages into perspective. He starts by saying that time is short. We all know this, but honestly, do we live like it? Life moves too fast for anyone. No matter how much a person tries to savor every moment of his or her life, it could all end at any day. We could be awake today and then gone tomorrow just like that. It doesn’t matter how old you are or how healthy you think you are, nothing’s going to last forever. The apostle Paul writes that whatever you’re into right now, don’t get caught up too much, including marriage. The bible explains it also that people do not stay married when they get to heaven. Marriage is an earthly thing and it will stay that way on earth. To some couples, this can be really sad. This goes against everything we see on movies wherein a woman dies and the husband goes “We’ll be together in heaven.” I guess when they say “Till death do us part,” it really means death is death.
I don’t really care if someone is a Christian or not, but I believe that everyone will one day face God. Whatever view of God in your mind right now, it’s not big enough. We have to understand that one day, when it’s all said and done, we’re going to meet Him and He’ll either say “Well done” about our lives or He won’t. It’s that simple. In light of that, what else matters? Paul is saying with the possibility of facing God at any moment, you should be focused on that and not on anything else, including marriage. Paul continues:
“I want you to be free from the concerns of this life. An unmarried man can spend his time doing the Lord’s work and thinking how to please Him. But a married man has to think about his earthly responsibilities and how to please his wife. His interests are divided. In the same way, a woman who is no longer married or has never been married can be devoted to the Lord and holy in body and in spirit. But a married woman has to think about her earthly responsibilities and how to please her husband.”
Paul is saying that if you’re single, all your focus and attention will be towards God unlike a married person who is too preoccupied in keeping the marriage and other responsibilities.
I’ve heard people say that “I’m going to fix our relationship first before I do this…” or “I believe that God wants me to do something with my life but first I have to keep my kids on the right path.” Instead of using marriage and family as means to do God’s will, people can use it as an excuse not to do it. It may be even a form of idolatry, as we can put our relationships first before God.
Instead of thinking “What does she want?” or “What does he want?” we ought to be thinking, “What does God want?” It’s not about her needs or his needs anymore. I guess there’s a lot of friction between husbands and wives because they’re not sure of God’s love for each of them individually. If they understand His love and His mission for them, they wouldn’t fight so much.
Looking at my own life, seeing that I’ve only spent a couple of years on this earth, I don’t know the plan of God for me. Maybe He wants me to have the gift of singleness just like Paul or maybe not. But married or unmarried, I should seek him first. God is telling all of us to seek His Kingdom first and everything else will follow. It’s easier said than done of course but I know I have to try. This goes for career, family, marriage, and my salvation when I go to Heaven.
In the end, I don’t know everything that is to know about marriages, but I do know that there’s a big picture. We all have a mission here on this earth given to us by God and we have to focus on that no matter what.