I’ve been pondering the idea of marriage. If you live in the United States then you are or have had to think about what defines the concept of marriage as well. We are all watching the country begin to shift toward a different legal definition of marriage. However, the concept of marriage and the origins can not be redefined.
Marriage, whether a conscience decision or not, is a spiritual one. And therefore to live in marriage IS choosing God. If that concept intrigues you, please continue to read and see how I came to this conclusion over buttermilk pancakes one day.
A friend and I met the other day and among the many things we talked about, we landed on the subject of getting married. We both married our spouses prior to becoming Christians. We discussed the issues that lurked in our hearts and within our relationships prior to dedicating ourselves to live as the Bible has taught us, and how to live it out with those issues still present in marriage. Through the conversation of broken homes, bad habits, and emotional bankruptcy within our childhood & adulthood, we realized that we encountered God in a tangible way the day we married. Both of us had very different circumstances and ceremonies to our wedding day but afterwards, whether we realized it or not, we had stepped into the heavenly realm, even if it had been accidental on our part.
When I was a kid, my friends and I did this crazy thing where we closed ourselves up in a bathroom with all the lights off and tried to say “Candyman” 10 times without freaking out. I’m glad I was in that bathroom because I was about to pee my pants on the 3rd time and by the 5th time we were all running out of the bathroom screaming. Later as a teenager, someone invited me to play a game on the Ouija board. I declined because I was a scaredy cat…still am. Then as as an adult I was invited to go to some sacred land and participate in a chant to the “gods” of that land. Again, something within me, was scared.
What do those examples have to do with the sanctity of marriage? In all three of those situations, I was being tempted to step into the realm of darkness. I was ignorant of it in my mind but my spirit wasn’t. I know people who accidentally stepped into the realm of darkness by shrugging these thing off as just “fun activities”. I have stepped accidentally into the realm of darkness by doing drugs, drinking excessively, viewing pornographic material, all of which have had some effect on me because I thought these would just be fun activities to participate in. But here is the good news, if you can accidentally step into darkness then you can accidentally step into the heavenly.
Now I realize I should define my use of “accidentally”. I mean I was not making a conscience effort to pick any side of spirituality. I was not thinking of God or the devil. I was just living and making choices that benefited me or brought me happiness, no matter how temporary it might have been. I went on the church bus occasionally as a kid when my mom needed some time to herself. It was okay; I got some little treat on the bus and everyone was always nice at the churches. I also use to pray for what was happening in my life i.e. “God please help me look hot so this guy wants me” or “God help my mom to be happy so we can all be happy” or “Oh Jesus, help me get an A on this test.” At 17 years old, I married my husband. There was a part of me that was just trying to escape my home life but mostly I married because he made me see good in myself and I loved him for that. In all these situations, I had stepped into the heavenly realm.
Marriage is a covenant. It is a biblical concept or promise created and maintained by God. He gave it to us to represent three very distinct things: the relationship He wants with each of is most represented in the concept of marriage (bride and groom), to partner in bringing life to this earth through childbirth, and to complement each other (men and women definitely think differently) on this journey of life on earth. When you enter into a marriage, you are stepping into the heavenly realm.
Marriage is not a moral issue, or an institution. Both of those are dependent on how society views morals and a contract by law. Marriage is a biblical concept and it can only be fully enjoyed within the confines of biblical living. How many people have you encountered, or heard, of that were together for a long time or lived together, got married, and then divorced soon after? How many people do you know who married in a church but divorced in a court? Unfortunately, I know quite a few, and let me tell you, I was very close to being one of them. The fact is that most people say “oh I don’t need a sheet of paper to tell me I love someone” or “you get married and everything changes so ‘thanks but no thanks'” They are absolutely right!
You see, marriage is hard (that is not nearly a strong enough word) and when you step into the heavenly realm and the full weight of God’s promise rests within marriage, well, you either turn to the Inventor to see how it works, or you crumble under the weight of it. I am not saying people don’t do their absolute best to make it work, believer or nonbeliever, but I am saying that a biblical concept can only be lived out within the parameters of biblical living.
For those stepping into the institution of marriage as defined by the State, whether believer, nonbeliever, regardless of sexual orientation, you are committing to abide by the law of the land. But if you want to be in a covenant marriage defined by God, one blessed by God, then you have to be dedicated to living within the parameters set forth in the Bible. Like I heard said regarding your marital relationship: “You can be a 100% blessed by the State but 0% blessed by God.” You have to choose whether to follow the law of the land (meaning what has been made ‘legal’ by the country) or the laws of Heaven.
So let’s start cleaning house. Lets rid our marriages of anything not of God – Playboy magazines, strip club visits, (maybe watching True Blood), excessive partying (incl. drug use or excessive alcohol), degrading comments to and about each other, physical abuse, etc…we all know it is a long list and it may seem impossible to do. “But difficult doesn’t mean impossible. Imperfect changes are slow steps of progress wrapped in grace…imperfect progress.”(1)
Phillipians 1:27 (NLT) Above all, you must live as citizens of heaven, conducting yourselves in a manner worthy of the Good News about Christ. Then, whether I come and see you again or only hear about you, I will know that you are standing together with one spirit and one purpose, fighting together for the faith, which is the Good News.
I’d love to know your thoughts on this topic. Leave a comment below!
Additional Readings: Malachi 2:2-14 (AMP), Mat 19:4-6 (MSG) (1) Mrs. Lysa Terkeurst, Unglued: Making Wise Choices In The Midst Of Raw Emotions, pub. 2012, Ch. 1