It seems like in the past year, marriage has been on my mind more than ever before. Perhaps it’s the further transition into adulthood that has sparked the interest, or maybe it’s just not wanting to be “alone” for the rest of my life. Biblically-speaking,I know the Lord is with me (Psalm 4:4), I know that only in Christ I find completion (Col. 2:10), but there is still this innate desire to want to raise children that know Jesus and to love a wife that loves Him more than anyone else. There’s this need for a relationship that God has put into my heart. This isn’t to be avoided, but certainly not to be seen as my only need. My ultimate need is Christ. But, the question is, if my life is devoted to Christ, then how does this relate to me finding a spouse?
I used to see marriage as only a need- that it wasn’t good for man to be alone (Gen. 2), that if he burned with passion he should marry (1 Cor. 7). Really, I had this perspective that marriage was all about me, I just didn’t know it. i failed to realize that marriage was a gift, not a reward (James 1:17). I didn’t pay attention to the back half of those passages. That, God would provide a female “helper” who would compliment my own strengths and weaknesses, and that serving her was to be a big priority that would be a key focus of the ministry that is my life.
Initially, as a teenager, I was looking for the ecstasy of an attractive girl admiring me and being my whole world. Even in my 20’s I find that people still live with this vague notion that somehow an electric rush of hormones determines whether being with someone is “fate” or not. But, over the course of this year, the Lord has been reshaping the way I see relationships with the opposite sex. He’s changed my goals and desires and given me a view of marriage that is far healthier than the sugar-coated hollow-heartedneess that a life of emotional surges fails to supply. In other words, God is teaching me how to be a true husband (someday), and there is no better spouse than Christ Himself to learn from.
So here are seven things I’ve been learning about the husband I want to be one day.
1) I want to be a loyal friend.
This is my beloved and this is my friend,
O daughters of Jerusalem (Song of Solomon 5:16b)
I don’t care about butterflies. I want a genuine friendship, one that will last. One where we have a mutual understanding of one another that goes beyond how one makes the other feel. Love isn’t all about feelings. It’s often self-sacrificing.
2) I want to cherish Christ and have a clear view of His grace at work in my life and hers. This is what will give me hope that not just the marriage, but ultimately our salvation, is firmly secure in God’s hands not my own (Phil. 2)
3) I want to have a rich prayer life, one that can carry over into our prayers together (1 Thess. 5:18-20). They shouldn’t always be these long expositions to the Lord about our day. Sometimes a simple prayer before leaving the house, praying before a meal, or before bed will be enough. I want our dependency to be on Christ together.
4) I want to be repentant and open to correction. I’ll mess up. She’ll be hurt and I will need to ask for forgiveness. But, God is faithful, and by His Spirit we can be faithful to each other. That means humbling myself under the mighty hand of God (1 Pet. 5).
5) I want to listen to her, not assume what she’s going to say. Letting her feel the freedom to talk about anything. According to James, listening is something to be quick to do, not speaking.
6) I want to lead by example. This means giving up my own wants and desires and putting the family’s interests above my own at times, as Philippians chapter two explains.
7) I want God to be glorified in us. Whether that’s doing the laundry when she’s not there, taking out the trash, or whatever we are doing, I want God to be glorified (1 Cor. 10:31). Even if she never sees it, God does, and that gives Him glory (Matt. 6).
Ultimately, all of this means little unless the Lord builds the house. Because the Lord is building the house, I don’t need to be anxious about how to make all of this work (Phil. 4:8ff). At the same time, I need to work out my salvation and not expect marriage to be the answer, but an extension of this Christian life (Phil. 2:12-13). There is still so much to learn and grow in and experience. But, without Christ it will all fall to pieces (Matt. 7:24-27).
For now, my eyes are full-steam ahead focused on Him.
Unless the Lord builds the house,
those who build it labor in vain.
Unless the Lord watches over the city,
the watchman stays awake in vain.
It is in vain that you rise up early
and go late to rest,
eating the bread of anxious toil;
for he gives to his beloved sleep.
Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord,
the fruit of the womb a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior
are the children of one’s youth.
Blessed is the man
who fills his quiver with them!
He shall not be put to shame
when he speaks with his enemies in the gate. (Psalm 127 ESV)
Until next time,
Until next time,