The summer before I met my husband, I was sitting on a boat gliding across the lake with a few of my best friends. We were gawking about Scottish boyfriends and watermelon and every other high school-esque thing we could think of to discuss.

My teenage years had been spent chasing boy after boy, running toward the empty promise of a perfect relationship. I wanted it all: the romantic comedy and the Biblical relationship. I wanted it all, and I wanted it at eighteen. So this day, sitting on a boat, gliding across the lake, I said something that no one was expecting. “Maybe I’ll never get married.”

My friends started cackling. I was the boy crazy one. Of course, I would get married. But The Lord was doing something in my heart in that moment. It was like He was asking me, “What if I do not give you your heart’s desire? What if I make myself your heart’s only desire?”

I got off the boat and proceeded to flirt with the boy who would be the next check off the boyfriend list. Yet in the back of my mind, I feared. I feared that God was going to take away my fantasy.

Fast forward five months. Another boy had come and gone. I was immersed into college life, well aware that this is where people become adults. This is where we make decisions that will prompt the trajectory of everything to come.

One night, I made the cross-campus walk to Bible study. Sitting in a dorm room with three new college friends, I had the exact same thought, but it came through the mouth of one of my girlfriends: “What if marriage isn’t for me?” This time it was more specific. It hit harder and heavier.

This moment, along with the moment on the boat, has been the defining factor of my dating relationship with Austin, my engagement, and my current marriage. Though I was not called to be single, I still stand strong in my conviction: My marriage is not for me.

My marriage is for the glory of God.

My marriage is for my husband.

My marriage is for our community.

My marriage is for those I will disciple.

Don’t get me wrong. My marriage has brought me joy beyond anything I can fathom. It has blessed me in ways I never imagined.

But my marriage is not for me.

My marriage is for the glory of God.

The Biblical purpose of marriage, you see, is not man-centered or needs-centered. It’s God-centered. It’s profoundly mysterious and profoundly significant. Your marriage is meant to point to the truth of the crucified and risen Savior who will return for His Bride. 

C.J. Mahaney

Screen Shot 2017-03-23 at 6.32.31 PMI have never seen God so clearly than the way He has shown Himself to me through my marriage. Nothing–not a thing on this earth–have I ever invested so much of myself in. Oh, and the beauty of this! If we are Christians, that is, if the Holy Spirit resides in us, we should embody the desires of the Christ. What greater investment has there ever been than the Savior of the world crossing the lines that divided the heavens and earth that we might have salvation in Him.

“Husbands, love your wife as Christ loves the church and gave Himself up for her.” It is stated so clearly in the marks of His Word. Our marriage is to exemplify Jesus’s relationship with His church, His bride! This marriage should not be a convenient relationship that gives me what I want when I want it. It should be an opportunity to share the Gospel over and over again.

If marriage was for me, I wouldn’t need to worry about anyone else seeing us. I wouldn’t need to vulnerably let the world in on our reasoning for marrying young or for waiting for our wedding night. But, friends, it is not about me. It is about the sharing and glorifying of His name. So let it be known. We are nothing without Him. To Him be the glory.

My marriage is for my husband.

Covenant is the heart of marriage, and sacrifice is the heart of covenant.

-Fred Lowrey

And he would say, my marriage is for my wife.

I am convinced that this is the secret to marriage. It is the secret to joy. It is the secret to all fulfillment. Think about it. If we are in Christ, if we are being made new and more like Him, our desires should mirror His. And what was His most profound desire? To sacrifice Himself for us.

His covenant led to the greatest sacrifice of time. Our covenants should mirror that. If I should be willing to die for my husband, why shouldn’t I be unwilling to lay down my right to be right in an argument? If I should be willing to give all I have that he might have little, why shouldn’t I be willing to lay down my dreams for a while to help him follow his?

If marriage was for me alone, I would expect him to follow my lead and do everything he can to create my way. But it isn’t. It’s about two people willing to sacrifice everything for the good and gladness of the other.

My marriage is for our community.

You can’t do life alone, and you don’t have to. Life is meant to be a partnership, lived in community with family and friends.

-Stan Toler

Whether that community is our children and family friends one day or our discipleship Screen Shot 2017-03-23 at 6.31.54 PM.pnggroups today, God did not create us to huddle down into our little apartment and binge watch Netflix until time for bed. He created us to get out into the world. He created our union to give others something to look to. He created other unions that we might have solid couples to mirror. He gave us voices and giftings and creativity to get out into our world and love on the people around us.

Over and over again in the New Testament, we see the early church living in and amongst one another. We see married couples and single people and children and widows gathering with other married couples and single people and children and widows. We see people of different ethnic groups clinging to one another with the commonality of their Savior.

If my marriage was for me, I would try to hold it in my own apartment. It would be because I am afraid our messiness will spill out of our confined walls and into the world. It would be because I live in fear that I might not have forever to spend with my husband.

Brothers and sisters, discipleship and community is the heartbeat of the church! Austin and I are part of the church, therefore, it should also be a backbone in our marriage.

Marriage is for those who I will disciple.

When Jesus walked among humankind, there was a certain simplicity to being a disciple. Primarily it meant to go with him, in an attitude of study, obedience, and imitation. 

-Dallas Willard

In the months leading to our marriage, and even now, my husband and I were surrounded by couples who desperately wanted to disciple us in marriage.

The best thing about that process was the sweet, sweet conversations with my own discipler. Let me tell you, she did not keep her marriage for herself. She cared so much more about teaching me what God had already taught her than pretending her family always had it together.

It wasn’t about creating charts outlining the do’s and don’t’s of this covenant. It wasn’t Screen Shot 2017-03-23 at 6.35.38 PMabout making it all sound easy. It was about the simplicity. It was about sitting on her couch with a mug of coffee and giggling about the ways husbands tend to think differently than their wives. It was about reaching for a tissue because we had just dug into the hardest part of marriage together. It was, and still is, about letting God use someone else’s experience that we might grow in a degree of glory.

My marriage cannot be for me just like Mrs. Kimmy’s marriage was not only for her. I am confident that God unified her marriage in part that he might one day unify my marriage that we may continue the cycle. He allowed them to go through rocky moments because He knew storms would crash into mine.

Christian, do not keep your marriage to yourself.

Marriage is not for you. It is not for any single one of us. It is the most sacred of covenants in this world. It is the giving of yourself to another. It is hard. It is sweet. It is more that I ever expected or asked for.

It was not until the Lord forced this knowledge into my mind on that evening in Bible study that I was able to trust Him with my future. He sweetly reminded me that whether he gave me a husband or allowed me to glorify Him on my own for the rest of my days, my purpose would stay the same: love Him and love people.

Only He knew that my husband was sitting right across from me.

Only He knew that that sweet lady who said, “maybe marriage isn’t for me,” would stand beside me on my wedding day and teach me so much about loving Jesus.

He is the only one who calls the shots, and let me tell you, His shots are sweet. They are so much better than the romantic comedy or even the ‘God-glorifying’ plan we have made for ourselves.

Marriage is not for me. Engagement was not for me. Dating was not for me. Singleness was not for me. Let it be all for Jesus. Let it be only Jesus.

Originally posted 2017-03-24 00:04:45.

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