(The Single Woman Series)
A typical person looks forward to marriage for the many benefits which include intimacy, care, companionship, support, fun times and children. I have too and for many years.
Indeed, as a hopeless romantic, the very thought of marriage has always gotten me excited and the people who know me know that I am a Wedding fanatic.
I love it all: The dress shopping, the decorations, the invitations, the honoured guests, the colour scheme and the Wedding theme! In fact, I love it so much that some people think I should seriously consider doing it as a business, due to my high level of creativity, ideas for the perfect Wedding flow and the fact that I am always giving recommendations to brides-to-be.
I also love the idea of spending the rest of one’s life with someone that one loves dearly, who loves one back. Oh the joy, the bliss, the adventures!
A ‘YES’ to the one you have courted is a yes to traveling the world together, a yes to experiencing new things with each other, a yes to hopefully raising beautiful children together and being the most important person on planet earth to the other, forever!
Marriage is undoubtedly, one of the best things God ever created because it comes with so many benefits!
In 2015 however, I sensed somewhat of a change in my spirit. I still wanted to experience all that a marriage had to offer one day but I no longer felt that time was running out and that I needed to be wedded, quick!
As I spent more time with Jesus and enjoyed his presence more and more, I felt completely content in him, so much so, that the thought of marrying was placed on the back-burner. Jesus was finally at the forefront of my heart and everything else now faded in comparison.
As strange as it may seem, I felt that I could wait some more before my earthly Prince made his grand appearance. I began finding myself saying strange things, like: “Lord, when you send the man you want me to be with, I am not sure where he will fit. It has been just you and me for so long, that I am not sure I can deal with a third party. I am highly protective of what we have and I don’t want anyone to get in the middle of that.”
Did I really utter those words? What was happening to me?
Slowly but surely, God was working on my heart. I was still a hopeless romantic but somehow, all the joys of marriage seemed pale in comparison to my strengthened relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. To me, my story with HIM was the best love story every written and that would ever be written.
I began to realize that as much as my future husband would love and cherish me, his love for me would never be able to compare to the love Jesus had for me and therefore, he would always have to be satisfied with being second to ONE.
I also knew that I would not need to run around looking for my spouse but that all I needed to do was keep my eyes on Jesus and in his perfect time, he would bring him to my feet. Such is the privilege that comes with being a royal daughter of the heavenly King. So, I continued focusing on my Lord and allowed him to continue to reveal to me things I needed to work on within myself.
For me, the race was no longer how quick could I get married but how quick could I become more and more like Jesus.
Then, in January 2016, something even more weird began to happen. I found myself beginning to desire the benefits of marriage but for the very first time, they were spiritual.
Yes, I said SPIRITUAL.
We spend so much time yearning for the natural benefits of marriage like sex, children, shared adventures in life, financial stability and so on, that we often ignore the real purpose of marriage. I too desire those wonderful earthly things and experiences as any normal human being would. However, in January, I began to find myself longing for the spiritual opportunities contained in a Christ-centred marriage, over and above the earthly benefits.
These were as follows:-
1. THE OPPORTUNITY FOR CONSTANT SELF-EXAMINATION & CHANGE
Having a husband would mean having someone to be a ‘sounding board’ in my life. He would be able to tell me things about my self and my character, that he was of the view I needed to work on.
This is important because I have recognized that we are inclined as human beings to always think the best of ourselves. Even when we rate ourselves highly on self-awareness, there is still some level of blindness or blurry vision which we possess, to our own shortcomings, faults and weaknesses. It is hard and even painful to confront these issues within ourselves but it is so very necessary for our spiritual advancement.
Within a marriage, even if a spouse should tell me something about myself that at the time, I find difficult to hear and even if his opinion is voiced during a disagreement, there is a beautiful opportunity there for me to go to the Lord in humility afterwards, for further insight and the strength to change whatever needs to be changed.
I have learned that, when people accuse you of something, even if the accusation is not accurate, it often highlights the fact that there is something in you that you need to take a second look at and change for the better.
As Winston Churchill once said, “Criticism may not be agreeable but it is necessary. It fulfils the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.”
2. THE OPPORTUNITY FOR CONSTANT FORGIVENESS
Having a husband around would mean many days of glorious sunshine, love, affection, intimacy and devotion, for sure. He will do many things right and will bring many smiles to my face on many an occasion. However, I am well aware that there are going to be the days and moments that he drives me up a wall. He will at some point mess up and repeatedly so because he is human. Whereas being a husband will not give him licence to constantly do wrong, it is clear that he is going to get me upset sometimes and that is a fact. There may be days I would prefer not to see him at all and I may be tempted to hold something he did against him.
The same will hold true for him. As much as he will consider himself highly blessed to have the awesome privilege of calling me his Wife, I will not please him at all times either. There are things that I will do and behaviours that I will have and things that I will say, that at some point, will surely get on his nerves.
That is what happens when you place two imperfect and different human beings in a marriage and say, “Now live together.”
Having a husband would mean therefore, that I would need to grow in grace and mercy and constantly live in an atmosphere of forgiveness. I will have to always be guided by the Bible verses that say, “…love covereth all sins” (Proverbs 10:12) and “…charity shall cover the multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8).
Forgiveness will therefore need to become a part of my every day married living because God wants us to love mercy. In Micah 6:8 it states of God: “He hath shown thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee but to do justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with thy God?”
3. THE OPPORTUNITY FOR CONSTANT UNITY
Having a husband would mean that I have someone to pray for me and with me.
During singledom, people pray for you yes but you are pretty much on your own. There isn’t that special someone to take a vested interest in you indefinitely and always be there for you, no matter the circumstance.
Having a husband makes me excited because it would mean that we would be able to pray together and fast together. We will be able to praise God together and be edified by each other as we discuss scripture. We would be able to communicate the experiences that we have had with almighty God daily and in doing so, encourage and fortify the faith of each other.
It is clear in the scriptures, that there is a special blessing in unity. It is in unity that God commanded the blessing, as is evident in Psalm 133:1-3. Prayer and fasting are therefore fortified when done by more than one person and unified in purpose.
Our unity will also mean that we will be able to rejoice with each other on the good days and mountain moments but also support and encourage each other on the trying days and valley experiences.
Of course, for us to remain unified and reap the benefits of us being one and no longer two, we have to acknowledge the third one in the midst of the marriage and that is Jesus. He is the glue to keep everything together. Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 sums it up aptly when it says:
- “Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up. Again, if two lie together, then they have heat: but how can one be warm alone? And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.”
4. THE OPPORTUNITY FOR CONSTANT SELFLESSNESS
Finally, having a husband would mean that I have to deny self and selfishness and take up my cross daily.
For many years during my singledom, I was able to do whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted, provided it did not displease God. However, with a gorgeous husband in the mix, I would now have to consider someone in addition to myself. I will have to consider before I act or speak: “How will this affect him?”
I will also have to put his interests ahead of mine. The Bible states in Philippians 2:3 that we ought to esteem others better than ourselves and a marriage is the perfect environment for this to be practised on a daily basis.
The scripture reads (and this scripture pretty much sums up everything I have said thus far on forgiveness/mercy, unity, selflessness and self-examination):
- “If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, Fulfill ye my joy, that ye be like minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things but every man on the things of others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.”
There are days my husband will shower me with praise I am sure but there are also days I may feel that I am not being as appreciated as I should be. What do I do then? Rebel against him? In those moments, it is well pleasing to God that I continue to serve him lovingly. For to love is to put the other person before yourself, even as Jesus did and to seek his welfare and interest above my own, no matter what. That is what I should do, though I am sure it will not be easy. God however, empowers us through the Holy Spirit to do his will.
For my husband’s heart to safely trust in me as the husband in Proverbs 31:11 did his virtuous wife, I have to be consistent in my love, support and devotion, irrespective of what he does or the times that I feel hurt or betrayed by him. It is in those very moments that I should let the love of Jesus shine through me and demonstrate my love for the man he has provided for me, even more.
Marriage would therefore provide me with the opportunity to serve my husband and to put him before my own needs, wishes, wants and desires.
This does not mean that I must be a doormat. A wife is worthy of honour and respect and a godly man knows that. He knows that if he does not treat his wife as well as he is mandated by God to do, his very prayers will not be answered.
1 Peter 3:7 states:
- “Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.”
God therefore knows how to deal with a husband that does not demonstrate he values his wife. The wife, however, must demonstrate her obedience to God by submitting herself willingly to her husband and attending to him always with a heart of humility, service and selflessness.
In January 2016 therefore, I began to desire the spiritual development that comes with a marriage and I believe that that is how God designed it. Marriage was created to symbolize the relationship of the Lord Jesus Christ (the bridegroom) with the Church (the bride). It is supposed to be a representation or an analogy of the relationship we as Christians have with Christ. It therefore provides the perfect platform for us to display the fruit of the spirit and to become more like Jesus.
I am trusting that God has placed or will also place this desire for spiritual development in my husband to be because we serve the same Lord and God knows how to work on both of our hearts.
Marriage is not just about feeling good and having our needs met and feeling honoured to be called somebody’s wife or husband. That is great and it is indeed honourable. However, marriage is first and foremost about Ministry. It must minister to us daily, to our spouse, our children and to the world in general. It must speak the language of love in its purest definition and it must give off the pleasant fragrance of Jesus Christ.
(Written on 23rd March, 2016)
Dear Reader, if you found the above Article to be informative, edifying, beneficial or interesting, you may also be interested in reading the following:
- Note 71 – ‘Keep The Right One From Me Lord, Until…’
- Note 149 – ‘Spiritual Benefits Of A God Approved Marriage Union‘
Under ‘COURTING OR ENGAGED Daughters of God’ Page:
- Note 30 – ‘What Will Be Your Wedding Day Message?’