Lately I’ve been seeing a huge problem in the church when it comes to dating and relationships… I am the type of person who sits back quietly and watches, listens, and evaluates what’s going on around me, and this is something that I think is really important.
First off, let me just make this statement: The purpose of dating is marriage. Some disagree with me, saying that dating is something to use to get to know yourself and what you like in a person, and that it can be done just for fun. Personally, I think that is damaging. You’re setting yourself up for heartache and it is unwise. Dating, or courting as I prefer to call it, is for investigating the possibility of marriage with someone who you already think would be a good match. But I’m not going to talk much about that for now.
I’m seeing a lot of really awesome, Godly men who are in dating relationships, and seem to me to be trying to balance that relationship with their ministry and their work for God. Hear me when I say this: Investing time, energy and love into a person you think you would like to marry is a ministry. You are ministering to their heart and showing them Christlike love, as well as showing the people around you what Christlike love looks like. God created marriage as a symbol of His love for us.
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.
The man who finds a wife finds a treasure, and he receives favor from the LORD.
A wife of noble character is her husband’s crown, but a disgraceful wife is like decay in his bones.
“Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.
A Godly, pure relationship that matures into marriage is a great and powerful ministry to everyone who sees it. Marriage was created to be an image of Christ’s love for the Church, and it should be celebrated! Taken seriously! Men, time spent with your significant other is not time wasted that you could have spent with God or doing something for God. If you go about your relationship in a loving and God honoring way, it IS doing something for God! If God has given you the desire to be married, being proactive in your search for a spouse is not something to be ashamed of! Taking that relationship seriously and spending quality time investing in that person is not a waste of time. You can grow in Christ together and as a unit be a powerful tool for Christ. One of my close friends said something to me the other day that really hit home:
“I feel like the purpose of a relationship is to be a community in Christ–to have faith when the other has none, to love when the other cannot, to extend grace when the other is the farthest from graceful.”
That is quite true. God created man and woman for one another. So many times when expressing my desire for a husband I’ve been told, “Until you are perfectly content being single, you shouldn’t be in a relationship.” Show me where it says that in the Bible. Give me chapter and verse. Because I don’t know about you, but here’s what I see in my Bible.
I see Adam, in perfect unity with God, and God saying “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” [Genesis 2:18]. If anyone who has existed should have been content without a spouse, it would have been the guy who was in perfection with God. [See Genesis 2:19-24]
I see, as in the verses mentioned above, that marriage is something to be desired and that a man who finds a wife finds favor with the Lord.
Now, we do have that chapter in 1 Corinthians where Paul says that it is better to remain single. He says “I say this as a concession, not as a command. I wish that all of you were as I am. But each of you has your own gift from God; one has this gift, another has that.” [1 Cor. 7:6-7] God has gifted certain people in such a way that they do not desire to be married, or that the desire they have to be married isn’t terribly strong and they don’t feel the need to pursue it. That does not mean that we all should aspire to be free of the desire to marry! Just as He has gifted some with contentment in being single, He has gifted others with the desire to serve Him through marriage. Yes, being married is serving God. As you serve, love and support your spouse, you are honoring God. Marriage is the greatest symbol of God’s union with us. We were created with the desire to be united with someone in marriage, and it is the few and far between who were as Paul, called to be celibate. It is unwise for someone who was not created for celibacy to try and remain celibate, they risk “burning with lust” as Paul says.
God created sex, it is not a dirty thing. Sexual intimacy in the context of marriage is an act of worship, the uniting of two souls in the presence of God in purity; “And the two shall become one flesh”. Not only that, being a parent is such a huge blessing to God’s kingdom! You are raising up precious children that will one day impact the world for His glory, if they so chose to love the Lord. That is an overwhelming honor.
What we need to understand is that it is not a choice between Ministry or Marriage. It is the holy union of the two. You and your spouse, united in Christ, are powerful in God’s kingdom. When one of you is down, the other is there to lift you up, encourage you along in Christ and get you back on your feet. Marriage is like a pyramid, as you and your partner grow closer to Christ, you grow closer to one another.
Marriage is not there to make you happy. It is to make you holy. In sacrificing your own desires to serve your spouse, learning to love someone who is not perfect and stay with them through the good times and bad, you are learning what Christ’s love is really like. You are becoming like Jesus, loving the unloveable.
Marriage is a gift. Do not treat it as anything less. If you desire to be united with someone in marriage, pursue that, and do so in such a way that honors God and is a light to all those who are pursuing hollow and empty pleasure through sexual immorality.
- The Sacred Search by Gary Thomas
- Wild At Heart by John Eldridge
- Captivating by John & Stasi Eldridge
- What Are You Waiting For? by Dannah Gresh