Lately, God has been leading me into a deeper understanding of marriage and marital roles. You might be wondering how this applies to a single person. As many of you know, I am unmarried, so how can I speak to marital roles and how can I apply this knowledge to my own life?
Firstly, the Apostle Paul was a single, never married man and yet he wrote the most quoted marital advice in the New Testament. God reveals Himself through people of various walks of life. You don’t have to be married to see the value marriage can provide. Do not discredit someone’s revelation of God’s character based on their marital status, but look instead to their spiritual fruit as Jesus instructed.
“Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.” -Matthew 7:17
Secondly, understanding God’s intention for marriage is extremely important for singles, especially those who plan to one day be married. I want to begin to prepare today for marriage by cultivating my character to become a good wife someday. Often people think they can’t learn how to be a good spouse until they are married, but I have seen in my own spiritual walk that it doesn’t work that way. If we ask God, He will provide opportunities to train for our future. Just as He trained David to be ready to slay Goliath by sending bears and lions for him to kill while shepherding. Just as He strengthened Samson to defeat the Philistines. Just as He prepared Esther’s heart and favor with the king to rescue her people. So also will he prepare a single person’s heart for marriage.
About 9 months ago, I began asking God to show me what it means to be a godly wife and to provide me opportunities to train for that future role. Think of it as dressing for the job you want. The Father has been faithful to respond to that request! He has taught me submission to the Holy Spirit as well as spiritual leadership. He has shown me that being submissive is far different than the warped definition the world has given us. He has trained me how to see others as He sees them. He has enabled me to encourage and call out the king in my man rather than complain about his shortcomings. He has provided opportunities to pursue missional living rather than romantic relationships alone.
One of the most valuable revelations Holy Spirit has shown me is in the purpose of marriage itself. Marital roles are intended to support us in our spiritual mission and sanctification. In short, marriage is not intended for our personal happiness and sexual gratification. It is for the purpose of reflecting Christ’s love to the world. Additionally, it is for marital partners to encourage each other to fulfill their God-given purpose. Finally, it is for growing more Christlike. As with everything else in life, it’s about making Christ greater in our life.
“As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” -Proverbs 27:17
In Timothy Keller’s book “The Meaning of Marriage,” he states the following:
“a lifelong, monogamous relationship between and man and a woman. According to the bible, God devised marriage to reflect the saving love for us in Christ, to refine our character, to create stable human community for the birth and nurture of children, and to accomplish all this by bringing the complementary sexes into an enduring whole life union.”
In the next post, I’ll discuss how this understanding of God’s plan for marriage can be of practical and spiritual use to a single person. In the meantime, whether married or single, I’d like to hear your thoughts on the topic. Why did God invent marriage? If you’re already married, what has he taught you through that relationship?