We had a brief hiatus for the What Marriage Means to Me series (I'm always looking for new contributors!), but I'm glad to tell you we're adding some great new perspectives to the series, starting with today's post from Sarah of Shades of Shayes. Sarah's another one of my Twitter buddies, and I'm excited to have her contributing to the series. She shares with us a more traditional Christian perspective on marriage, and how she had to learn not to make marriage into an idol.
When you're a little kid, a pretty common question people ask is, "What do you want to be when you grow up?"
Then when you're about to graduate high school everyone asks, "What are you going to major in in college?"
And finally, when you're about to graduate college everyone asks, "What are you going to do after you graduate?"
For a lot of people, this answer changed. The answer from a kid is usually something over the top – a superhero, a princess, whatever. Or my favorite answer, the ever-abstract, "Famous."
Right before college, some people knew the answer definitively. My sister did. They knew what they wanted to do going into college, all through college, and coming out of college. But I wasn't like that. I changed – or as my mom says, "refined" – my major four times within my first year of college. After that it stayed the same, but then I realized halfway through my senior year that I didn't want to have a career in my major. Fail.
But there is one dream that has never changed. One answer about future questions that always remains the same: I want to get married one day.
Now I realize that a lot of little girls say that. A lot of little girls dream of one day getting married. They play dress up with veils and white dresses and pretend to walk down the aisle. They get married in their backyard, the playground, the grocery store. But marriage was always my answer for major future questions.
What did I want to be when I grew up? A wife. What did I want to major in in college? Journalism, yes, but being a wife was more important to me than a career. What was I going to do after I graduated? I didn't know what I wanted to do because I had always assumed that I would meet my husband in college and get married right after or shortly after graduation.
Marriage was an ideal. It was a destination. It was a dream. It was the dream.
And then it dawned on me. What if I didn't get married? I was 22, about to graduate college, and I had never had a boyfriend, never been kissed, never been on a real date. That doesn't exactly sound like the recipe for someone who wants to be a wife, now does it? But that's where I was. And I had to ask myself, "What if I'm one of the women who is called to a life of singleness?" And I flipped out of my skin. And that caused me to reevaluate my ideal of marriage.
I realized that marriage had become an idol. It had become the thing to achieve and I had forgotten what the purpose of marriage was in the first place.
So I did some reevaluating. Why did I want to get married so badly? Why was it such an important thing? Why was the idea of spending my life alone, without a husband or children, so terrifying to me? And after some months of reflection, I finally knew what marriage really meant to me.
People get married for all sorts of reasons. For money, for convenience, for love, whatever. But that's not the purpose of marriage.
Marriage to me is more than an institution. It's more than a legal agreement. It's a binding covenant that should not be broken under any circumstance. When a covenant like that was made in the Old Testament, the breaker of the covenant deserved death. That's a pretty serious thing.
Marriage is a divine institution created by God and God alone and the purpose of marriage is to bring glory and honor to Him and to help your spouse grow closer to God. The fact of the matter is we weren't created to be alone because we cannot fully glorify God when we are alone.
God is not a single God. God is triune, so even He Himself is not alone, and He doesn't want that for us either. (For the record, this doesn't mean that people who are single aren't fully glorifying God, because some people are called to singleness. That's what community is for.)
Marriage is the closest thing we get on earth to representing the relationship that Christ has with the Church and God has with Himself, and that's why it is such a beautiful, beautiful thing.
I want everything I do in life to bring honor and glory to God. I want everything I say, do, think, write, etc. to point back to Him because I believe that is what I was created to do. And I want that for my marriage, too.
I do believe one day I will walk down the aisle, my father will give me away, and I will commit my life to the man created for me. I don't believe God would put such a strong desire to be a wife and a mother in my heart if He didn't plan to fulfill that dream.
And I so look forward to that day. I look forward to the day when I will marry a man and we will commit to a lifetime of honoring and loving each other and continually pointing each other back to Christ. And I pray that our marriage will be a representation to all who see it of sacrificial love, servant leadership, and, above all, people will look at us and say, "Their love for each other is beautiful but their love for Christ is even more beautiful."
Because that's what marriage was created to do: to show the world Christ.
~~~Sarah is an aspiring author, a social media junkie, and the brain behind Shades of Shayes. She blogs about her sitcom-esque life, her faith, her funny stories, the saga with her Office Boy, and anything else that happens to strike her fancy. She loves painted toenails, climbing trees, dancing in the rain, coloring, singing at the top of her lungs, the down comforter on her bed, and a really good book. You can find her on Facebook and Twitter or send her an email.