Marriage Advice, part 2

Just after I wrote the blog entry “Marriage Advice, part 1”, Dave (my husband) left for Germany for two weeks. For some reason, it felt odd to write about marriage while my spouse was gone (plus, I run nearly every blog entry by him before I post it), so I decided to wait.

Well, he’s back (has been for almost two weeks), and here is the Second Most Important Piece of Marriage Advice I would give to young women about to be married:

Understand the true purpose of your marriage.

This sounds un-romantic.

But the truth is that romance is a horrible purpose for a marriage. So are children, companionship, sex, fulfillment, even “love.”

Those all fall abysmally short of the true purpose: to honor God and make Him known.

If that seems a little too “spiritual” or dry, hang on. My contention is that when we make romance or “love” the ultimate goal for our marriage, we are aiming far, far too low.

To honor God and make Him known: that is a purpose that is sacred, amazing, practical, mystical, adventurous, and, yes, incredibly romantic.

Every marriage, including yours, is meant to build a love that is like the love Christ has for His own bride, the church. This has two major implications:

First, this means that you are focused on meeting the needs (emotional, physical, social, and spiritual) of the other person, not on the needs of self. To do this consistently and well requires the power of the Holy Spirit and the blood of Christ; there is no other way to accomplish this. (Marriage was the first major tool God used to expose and combat selfishness in my life.) This results in true romance, a marriage that has others saying, “There’s something about that couple. They love each other differently.”

Second, God has good works planned for the two of you together. He has adventures mapped out for you as a couple. He did not create your marriage only to impact you and your spouse. This is a really, really cool thing. You get to be a team. You get to do ministry together. You get to develop and then share God passions. When Dave and I look back on our marriage, we don’t point to weekend getaways or candlelight dinners as times of growth; no, it was moving together to Okinawa—and the difficult decision to move back. It’s been having children together. It’s been feeling the nudges of the Holy Spirit separately and then realizing He’s guiding us in the same direction (like to take in international students or make one of our many moves or adopt or simply befriend a particular neighbor).

Your marriage has a big, BIG purpose. It’s part of a big, BIG plan! That’s exciting! And when the two of you are more focused on this—on your marriage being an agent for the Gospel—your love and romance will deepen in ways that make movie romance appear shallow.

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