28 Feb Marriage Is Not The Final Goal
If you’re anything like me, you’ve spent your entire life looking forward to the day when you would be blessed with a spouse. As a little girl, I spent countless hours imagining up my dream wedding. It was probably daily that my barbies could be found celebrating some imaginary wedding that I had secretly pretended was mine. I think all little girls can relate to that. Marriage is absolutely beautiful after all. The union of two people who have chosen to spend the rest of their lives devoted to one another is so incredibly special. It’s truly a gift from God and is such a humungous milestone in anyone’s life. It’s a time that should be celebrated and thoroughly enjoyed and for most of my life, this was going to be THE biggest moment. I had lived most of my life expectantly waiting for it. That is when life would truly start, I had decided and that was when I had declared I would begin to walk in my purpose. But was it? I had always thought it was, but God started to make me question that thinking when he hit me with this: what if you never get married? Was all my excitement for my future placed on that one goal? Was all my joy found in that one aspect of my life? Even if I did get married, what if that marriage hit a rocky patch? Would I let all my joy slip away because it was wrapped up in that marriage?
I had to ponder those questions for a while, and I slowly and reluctantly discovered that yes, likely I was placing all my happiness on the excitement of one day being married. If I am really honest, I couldn’t see a future that could be happy if marriage wasn’t a part of that. If God’s plan is that I am called to be single for the rest of my life, I can’t honestly sit here and say that I would accept that decision and find joy in it, and that is a huge problem.
Let me explain… Marriage has clearly become an idol to me. There is no denying that. I can honestly say that right now, I am content being single. But I still have marriage on my radar. Is the reason I am content right now because I know one day these days will end? Or could I remain satisfied if this is God’s will for me? Jesus began to show me that I had placed all my eggs in that marriage basket, and if a marriage doesn’t happen, then my relationship with Jesus would be in trouble. I hate to admit that, I really do. But it’s the truth. I struggle with the idea of possibly remaining single, and I often find myself ignoring the fact that marriage is never promised to all in the bible. Over these past few months, God has begun to reveal the hidden motives of my heart. He has shown me that my love for him has become conditional. It had become unknowingly based on whether he was going to bless me with marriage or not. If I am completely honest with myself, I think I did know that, but it still shocked me when he began to unravel this truth. So why was my love conditional? Why did I base my love on a promise that is never guaranteed? Why was Jesus not enough?
It was in those moments of contemplation that God hit me with the realization that marriage is not the final goal. I had decided it was, but it certainly was not. I had romanticized marriage and for most of my life marriage was THE main goal of my life. But the truth is, my purpose doesn’t magically start when I get married. My life doesn’t instantly get better when I get married, and while I believe that marriage will add another level of happiness to my life, it will also add another level of struggle too. Don’t get me wrong, I think that marriage is truly a sacred gift, one that is to be cherished and one to get excited about. But I also know that I sometimes place too much of an emphasis on it to define my happiness in life, and ultimately my worth. God started to show me that I was living my life based around my future marriage and not fully him.
I thought that my whole heart was pursuing Jesus, but in his gracious mercy, he has shown me that those conditions were still standing. My love for him was transactional. I had allowed my love for Jesus to have strings attached. If you give me “A” Lord, then I’ll give you “B.” But what if these amazing dreams I had for my life never happen? Or what if they happen and they get taken away? Would I be able to stand there and say, “I love you, Jesus, your ways are higher than my own?” Or would I throw in the towel? The prideful part of my heart would love to sit there and say that I would stand in front of Jesus and declare “his will, not mine.” But the honest part of my heart would seriously struggle… I couldn’t truthfully say that I would have had the same type of love in my heart for Jesus if I didn’t get my way, and I hated that. I had to force myself to sit and reassess my heart condition. I don’t want my love for Jesus to be conditional, because his love for us is anything but conditional. While I don’t think that God expects us to be happy with every path and season in our lives; I think that he expects a heart of surrender to his goodness and plan, and mine was not there.
The truth is, my life and your life is no more and no less useable by Jesus based on our relationship status. Either way, the number one goal in life still needs to be the continual pursuit of Jesus and his Kingdom. I was making marriage something I was pursuing just as much as I was pursuing God depending on the day. But marriage isn’t the end goal, the end goal is Jesus. It’s not marriage, it’s not kids, it’s not walking in your purpose, it’s simply Jesus. To know him, and to love him, and to do life with him. I needed to focus on joining him in his plans for me, not him joining me in my plans for him. I needed to come to a place where I was wholeheartedly happy with just Jesus. Full disclosure: I am not there yet, but I want to be. I am learning that Jesus is so amazingly kind, he is beyond gracious and I have faith that he will help me take this marriage idol off its pedestal.
I don’t know if anyone else struggles with this exact problem, but the problem may not necessarily be marriage for you. Maybe it’s children. Maybe it’s that ministry. Maybe it’s that job or that house. The point is, I think on some level we all have conditions on our love for Jesus. I know people who have completely fallen away from Jesus because they didn’t get what they wanted. If I may be completely transparent, I would scoff at them. How could they turn from Jesus because they didn’t get their way? Didn’t they know it’s not about what we want, but what Jesus wants? But when Jesus showed me the true motives of my heart, I was the exact same. I think that I would have a really hard time loving Jesus if I didn’t get what I want… I really hate admitting that, but I hope that through my transparency Jesus can transform that and reveal the motives of all of our hearts. I had to have a major heart check! I am still learning that it’s not about what I want, but what he wants. My whole life has been wrapped around this gigantic, momentous occasion that I have been dreaming about ever since I was a little girl, that I am missing the point of life; it’s all about Jesus.
I truly believe that Jesus puts desires in our hearts for a reason, and while I do think that I will be married one day, that marriage is never going to be perfect. It is never going to fulfill my every desire and be my one source of happiness. I cannot base my happiness on something so unchanging. We live in an imperfect world, with imperfect people and I am going to need Jesus just as much in that marriage as I do in my singleness. I want to chase after Jesus more than I chase after a future marriage. Marriage is not the final goal, Jesus is, and I want to be just as content in a life without marriage as I would be in a life with marriage.
So Jesus, my prayer for my heart and for anyone else who is struggling with this, is that you captivate our hearts, Lord. Help us to see you as the prize. Help us to store our treasures up in heaven, and not in worldly things. Help us to want you above all else, and to trust that your ways are higher than our own. Amen.