I've had cause lately to think about marriage. Not because of our anniversary nor because I'm pondering the Mr. I've been thinking of marriage because I have some very dear friends who are thinking about marriage. Friends who are going through divorces, friends who wonder if their marriage will ever be happy, friends who have been through divorces and become powerful testimonies of God's anointing, friends who wish to be married but haven't yet met "the one."
I used to think I understood marriage based upon our history. I understood how love could turn into something ugly and I understood how to dig in and pray my way through it. And most of the time, I understand how to nurture and protect my marriage. Well, I understand that pretty much all of the time, sometimes I just don't do a good job of it.
But now these women are stretching my understanding. I want to stand beside them in their journeys but I've no road map to share. And the testimony of my marriage doesn't shed light on their path. So I've been thinking about and praying for my friends and asking God, that if there is some wisdom I can offer, reveal it to me. I have found myself thinking not about men who I could match up or ideas to make relationships work but I've been thinking about marriage itself. The Institution of Marriage you might say.
I've always found marriage fascinating. I remember praying for the husband I would some day marry when I was a very small child, praying for our lives that were so far distant I couldn't really think of much to pray about so it was often a prayer wrapped in a day dream about living in homes that were a cross between The Farm and the houses from the old movies I watched on Saturday mornings. Well, I am not exactly living the daydreams but I believe that the Holy Spirit was laying a foundation for my heart. When I finally met "The One" at the ripe old age of 15 (well, it seemed like I'd been praying forever!), I added our future children and their wives and the spouses of my grandchildren and on and on and on to my prayers and daydreams. Maybe that's why now, with grown up sons, I have very little anxiety about their future marriages. It's old business between God and me, long taken care of.
Now I'm back to thoughts and daydreams about marriage. And I still love the very idea of it. It's the most powerful image in the Bible. Adam and Eve created precisely for one another. Eve taken from her husband's side to share the very essence of his life. God building their home and placing them in it where he came in the evenings to enjoy the life he fashioned for them. The Song of Solomon breathes the power of the calling between a man and a woman. All of this to build into our souls the miracle of love that compels Christ to call us his Bride.
There is a purpose to marriage. The relationship between a man and a woman is a gift beyond comprehension because it is God's provision of joy in purpose. Together, in marriage, we build the world. The impact of a husband and his wife has no limits. Without man and woman drawn together to build the world, everything literally disappears. And yet God, with a love for us that cannot be grasped in mortality, added marriage to his will so that we could fulfill his plan compelled by this supernatural desire toward one another. Animals procreate by chance, create a temporary home and walk away when another generation is born.
But we, the apple of God's eye, the favored of his creation, are knit together. We desire one another's hearts the way that God desires our hearts. It isn't any wonder that satan would attack marriage and devalue it in the minds of those not pursuing the mind of God. This is why these women, desiring marriage and longing for the husbands God has created for them, bless me. The spark of divinity is in their eyes.