Monday, July 16, 2012

Marriage, it's for your happiness, too!


by Cassie P.



Even before I was married I was familiar with the phrase “marriage isn’t for your happiness, it’s for your holiness.” You’ve probably heard that phrase too.  

After three years of marriage I’ve come up with a new phrase: Marriage isn’t just about holiness, but it’s about happiness and healing too. Yes, I said the word happiness! I know at Hope we hear about the realities of marriage (as Steve says “it just re-arranges your problems… it doesn’t make you less lonely”) and while I agree 100% with those things, I also believe the Biblical design for marriage was originally for our happiness. There are other good things about marriage, enough to write an entire book, but I only have 500 words. So stay tuned for two more posts about my thoughts on marriage where I’ll talk about some other realities of marriage: Holiness and Healing.

Like most women, ever since I was a little girl I dreamed about my future husband and children. I had had a very strong desire to get married. After I started to follow Jesus in college I eventually ended up feeling a bit guilty about this desire. For some reason there was a part of me that believed that in order to really be holy in my singleness  I could no longer desire something I didn’t have, specifically marriage.

I think other women have that belief system as well, maybe without even being aware of it. During conversations with friends at times I’ve sensed shame regarding the desire for a husband, but that desire is God given and it’s nothing to feel ashamed about. I too have felt this way about marriage and other desires… and then usually the Spirit reminds me of the lessons I’ve learned in this area. God not only longs to give us good things, but DELIGHTS in it too! Have you ever given a child you love a gift they just love? Does it bring your heart joy? How much more joy does the Lord have when He gives us good things, and Jesus talks about this in Matthew 7:9.

During the time I was dating my husband I came across a sermon from some pastor, who knows what his name was, but Mr. Preacher if you are reading this, thanks for helping me view marriage more correctly.  His point was that marriage was designed for happiness. If you go back to Genesis 2, which is before sin entered the world, you read that God was looking for a helper for Adam and thus created Eve. He didn’t do this because Adam was sinful and needed to become more holy by having a wife, but because he wanted to give Adam a wonderful gift that would add to his happiness. Marriage isn’t solely a plan designed to make us more holy, but it was designed for our happiness. This sermon helped me view the design for marriage differently and not feel bad about my desire for it. It really freed me up to view it as a good thing and pray with a hopeful heart for it. So here’s what I say: go ahead and long for it delightfully! Marriage is a good thing. It is designed to be about enjoyment physically, spiritually and emotionally.

If God has given you the desire to be married, awesome! Pray for your husband fervently and don’t be ashamed of your longings. I think we should be spending a lot more time in the church today upholding the awesome design of marriage. We need to talk more about the fact it IS good and it does bring happiness… (and if it’s not bringing any happiness at all, something is off and God can change that). So I say celebrate marriage, and celebrate your desire to get married. 

Personally, I know it’s hard celebrating a deep desire that’s unmet (marriage, children, a job, etc) yet somehow the Lord uses those unmet longings in our lives to show us more of His love and grace (not necessarily teach us a lesson). It’s like saying “celebrate your sexuality” it’s super important to do, but not easy to do. Celebrate through the tears and don’t beat yourself up for this desire. Trust that God’s heart is good and that He delights in giving you the gift of marriage (see Psalm 84:11). If He hasn’t given you that gift yet, let Him minister to you in the midst of your longings and ask Him to help you keep it from becoming an idol... but by all means, don’t try to will your desire away.

I believe that the majority of women who long to be married will get that gift someday. Sister, the desire has been given to you for a good reason. And believe me, it’s a good gift!

2 comments:

  1. I actually hadn't heard the phrase, “marriage isn’t for your happiness, it’s for your holiness.” It seems like so often in society I see the opposite: people getting married because they think it will make them happy, and putting happiness rather than God at the center of their marriage. It can be easy to react against one thing that society tells us and perhaps take it too far, though, as you point out. Even though happiness is not the priority of marriage, it is a wonderful gift that God blesses us with. Especially for those who are familiar with that opening phrase, I think those biblical reminders of God's original design for marriage are great. Looking forward to reading your next posts.

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  2. Cassie,

    It is wonderful to experience your writing! You have great things to say. Refreshing to hear your wisdom and looking forward to your posts!

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