So I’ve been thinking a lot lately about marriage. Now, before I dig into this topic, let me state something that most people who’ve been around me for more than five seconds can tell. I’m not an emotional person. I’m pretty straightforward and unassuming when it comes to relationships. I haven’t dated a lot of people, and only felt that I really loved one person so far. I don’t like public affection, or pet names, most of the time other people’s’ relationships make me gag a little, and I’ve always been the girl who wanted to see the world before settling down in a marriage. But the truth is, a little over three years ago, God introduced an amazing man into my life.
It was completely unexpected, and not the best possible time for either of us. I was just realizing that I was nowhere near the woman God needed me to be, and he was nowhere near the man that God needed, or that I needed. Still, God taught me patience. Three years later, we’ve both grown and changed quite a bit, and we’re still growing and developing in our spiritual lives. We are also growing ever closer to each other, and are pretty much inseparable, even though he’s 100 miles away. I honestly cannot imagine that God has anyone planned for me who could possibly be a better fit. We’ve talked very seriously about marriage, but came to the mutual conclusion that it’s not the right time. I just graduated from college and still want to have adventures as a single woman, and he’s finishing up his master’s degree. I also think that at twenty years old (yes I graduated at 20… I know I’m jumping the gun on adulthood) I’m just not ready to make that very important decision of who I’m to spend the rest of my life with. We’re still dating, but trying to take it easy and give ourselves the time we deserve to grow.
We’ve both recognized that we’re not ready to make a covenant to each other. Because that’s what marriage is; a covenant. We’re both mature enough to see that we might not be mature enough.
The reason I’ve said all this is because I want the reader to know where I’m coming from when I start talking about marriage. Here’s the main point >>>
At Texas A&M, my alma mater, it’s common for devout Christian students to marry immediately following, if not before graduation. I think marriage post grad is a horrible choice, even for very spiritually mature people. The reason is because I see a lot of Christian couples going into marriages young thinking that because they share the same beliefs, that everything is going to be one big happily ever after. It’s not. Do I need to say any more?
I think the facts behind this trend relate to the differences between the Christian and the secular world. In the secular world, the average age of both the bride and groom is getting higher, and the divorce rates are getting steep (nearly 50%). There’s also the issue of couples living together. Hopefully, if you’re a believer who is interested in God’s plan, premarital cohabitation or divorce shouldn’t be viable options. (Obviously there are cases that call for divorce, but that’s a whole ‘nother blog post, and my main statement is that no one should go into a marriage thinking, ‘Well if this doesn’t work out…’ etc, etc.)
This being said, Christian couples sometimes forget that simply being mature in your walk with God does not make you mature enough for a marriage. A lot of Christian couples feel that they will have good, healthy marriages simply because they have made other good choices, such as premarital chastity, and choosing a partner with the same beliefs. That’s not always true. Case and point, my parents who made these good choices still have had a hell of a time. They’ve gone from being fine and dandy to the breaking point and back. I would say that marriage is not always easy, but the truth is, it’s never easy. Many young people, especially women, (and yes I can say that, because I am one, and don’t deny that you’ve been dreaming about your wedding for years, ladies…) forget that marriage isn’t something where you sign the papers and your happiness is locked down for eternity. I often see couples that gingerly skip to the altar with stars in their eyes. Marriage isn’t something you have, it’s something you do. It’s something you work at every day, because your partner in life is not always going to be attractive, or nice, or considerate, or even likable. Sometimes they will fail you, sometimes they will fail God. And you will often fail them. There will be days when you hate each other and wonder why the hell you ever chose to bind yourself to this person.
Ultimately, being a believer and following God’s guidelines such as chastity do not make you 100% ready for marriage. Marriage is not solely about being happy and having a partner in your walk with God. In the Bible, marriage is described as a reflection of Christ’s love for the church. His love is completely incomprehensible in its power and expansiveness. He can love greater than any faulted human being can ever love another faulted and imperfect human being. The real question to ask yourself before getting married is, can I reflect that kind of love? Will my love for my chosen spouse be a good testimony to the love that Christ has? I know that I have a hard time showing grace to even my closest family members. Love is not something solely to be enjoyed. Love, marriage, is a job. It’s a duty that you must fulfill for the Lord just as everything else. If you fail in your marriage, you have failed Him as well.
I think so often young Christians forget that marriage is not just a human promise, it’s a covenant. A covenant; that’s the same type of promise that almighty God made to His people. It has the same magnitude, the same binding power. Are you really ready to make that kind of promise to someone? Don’t take it lightly.