I am single but lately observing marriage from the outside is like seeing life through a magnifying glass. You get to view people and relationships for what they truly are. This is not to say that this cannot be the case when a person is single, but with marriage or intimate relationships in general, all of the cracks and crevasses are seen in the raw and unprocessed state. We are exposed to the dirt that can sometimes leave us dusty and unclean; spots, blemishes, crust and more. I know I may be taking it a bit far in my description, but it is real. I am definitely not taking away from the beauty of marriage but we can sometimes get wrapped up in what we want and forget that marriage is for the purpose of glorifying God.
Witnessing this level of vulnerability in marriage can sometimes be a bit scary, but this is just my opinion; and I have even had some married people tell me, "Girl, enjoy the single life while you can." I cannot lie, some of the people that I know that are married, particularly some of the Christian couples, make marriage sound like a death sentence, so why would I want to take part in that? People need to think about what they say, even in "keeping it real."
From what I have seen and know through scripture, marriage seems to be a tangible example of what our (the church/body) relationships genuinely look like with God. I see within the church/body of Christ, imperfections, lack of power, selfishness, and a need to be in control. We need Jesus badly. This is so evident in my singleness so I can only imagine it in marriage; learning to love and see beyond your own wants and needs.
"For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. “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. However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband," (Ephesians 5:29-33 English Standard Version).
I have always wanted to be married and it is something I have been talking to God about in prayer since I was in the eighth grade. Throughout the years this has changed; it has been on for a period of time and then off. Recently with all I have seen, I said "Lord, I am not sure this is for me."
Many of my friends believe otherwise but the examples I have seen throughout my lifetime have not all been the greatest. It has been difficult for me to accept that everything will not be perfect because I have lived my life as a perfectionist until some recent years; and I still slip in and out of that state at times. The thought of me being in a marriage and it not being perfect frightens me, because it would give me a daily reminder that I need Jesus.
Sometimes we do not like to be reminded that we are powerless and that we need the Lord in every way. I am also called to love my neighbor as I love myself. Thinking about this makes me wonder about the way I love myself and more importantly how I have been loving others.
"And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these," (Mark 12:28-31 English Standard Version).
Marriage, relationships, friendships, and connecting with others show us that our lives are not solely about us. You cannot put into practice, all that you have learned through the word of God, by secluding and isolating yourself. You have to learn amongst the people.
It is not easy, but God is building me up daily through His word, prayer, praise, worship, and people. As I desire to be closer to Him, He gives me the grace to handle all that comes my way.
So if marriage is a path that God wants me to take, He will surely equip me. It will not be in my own strength but in and through Him.
"For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast," (Ephesians 2:8-9 English Standard Version).
Now I understand more and more why God is the third strand in marriage. It comes from Him, so He is the one who holds it together in the life of the believer.