4 Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.Hebrews 13:4
Now I am going to open with a very shady line, but I want you to follow where I am going…
I must have been out but I remember saying to a friend of mine that there are some people who are so
desperate thirsty hungry eager to get married, that you can smell it on them.
Wow. Really Steph?
OK Lemme explain.
I go to a very large church.
I attend quite a few weddings.
My social life is busy small small, and I go to events. A lot of events.
I see people, but more than that I read – expressions, body language, tone. Mate, when I found out that 70% of our communication is non-verbal, I just started observing everythanggggg. And I have the Spirit. I feel like when you listen to the Spirit, you pick things up – it may not be in what a person says, but their heart comes out in other ways.
If you listen – to the spoken and unspoken – you will find that there is a very tangible desire to marry and be in relationship in our culture and within Christian circles. And for the most part, that is perfectly fine, perfectly normal.
But sometimes, church culture doesn’t help either.
We are force-fed messages on being the wife that Christ has called us to be. Now don’t get me wrong, that is a legit message…..when you are a wife. But many of us are not Wives, we’re Brides – and there is a big difference. Sorry, you know I love a good preaching but can we stop with the indiscriminate messages from the pulpit? We are not all in the same boat. Sighs. I will get off my soapbox in 5, 4, 3, 2…
And don’t for a minute think that I am talking about women – I
smell see it across the board.
And it’s not age-specific either – I’ve
smelt seen it on a 50 year old man and a 24 year old me – yes me – and it wasn’t cute on either, trust me.
So tonight I wanna discuss marriage, because I feel like some of us still need to revisit our presumptions regarding marriage.
For instance, when you imagine marriage, what do you see?
Is it the wedding?
Is it the handsome man or beautiful woman?
Is it the kid(s)?
Maybe it’s the two cars and white picket fence?
Can I be honest? Some us don’t even see ourselves when we think about getting married – we see someone completely different, like we see the most prestige, all together correct version of ourselves who has every little duck in a row.
But lemme be real – Marriage cannot save you from you.
If you don’t like washing plates today, marriage won’t change that.
If you find it hard to wake up and pray, marriage won’t change that.
If you and portion control are not good friends, marriage will not change that.
If you are a latecomer by birth, marriage will not change that.
If your bedroom is
mashed up towed up is looking like one bombsite, marriage will not change that it will only move location.
If the only scripture you can memorise since you first became a Christian is still John 3:16, marriage will not change that o.
The list goes on and on but the bottom line is, I don’t think marriage is meant to save you from you. Nah boo, marriage does not negate the work you are meant to do on yourself e.g. the work God has been trying to do on you. Just saying.
This post is not saying you won’t grow in marriage – by the grace of God you must and you will – but why wait until you marry before you start. There’s work to be done today, this week, this month – listen, some of us can start tonight even. Why wait?
Because the question a lot of us ladies dream of hearing contains only two words: MARRY ME.
And the response that a lot of the guys dream of receiving contains only one: YES.
But I wanna ask you something – would you marry you?
Like, for real. I’m not announcing a new Government policy here
but the way things might go ayyyyyy watch this space, end times and that but I’m curious, would you marry yourself if you were not you?
If so, why?
If not, why not?
For the people that would, ah ah, Pastor Mrs, I’d love to know why. Because I asked myself this, and I don’t think I would marry me. I don’t think I am a good enough friend.
Oh Stephanieeeeeee don’t say that
No. Please don’t. I’m actually not being self-depricating. I hate self-deprication, it gives me twitchy eyes. I’m just being real. I pride myself in knowing my strengths and my weakness, and friendship-wise, I gots works to dooooooos.
When I imagine marriage, I see friendship. I won’t lie, it wasn’t always that way, but over the course of the last few weeks, I have asked myself, “Stephanie, why is it you have gotten it so wrong in the past? What mistake do I keep making?“.
It definitely was not an easy question to answer, but I think it begins with this: I rushed. I always rush into relationship and I miss friendship.
I’ve never actually given myself time to just be. To be, in that relationship, just enjoying that other person and their friendship.
A guy would just ask me that oh-so familiar question (you know, the I-want-us-to-start-a-relationship-what-do-you-think? question) and I would rush.
Rush to think about it.
Rush to pray.
Rush to respond.
Why? Because the first and last time I was “spiri” about dating I ended up in a whole other situation. You can read about it here.
So I chose not to be too spiri about these things. I mean, why be too spiri at all.
Then came constant Baeness.
Men who did whatever I asked, whenever I wanted.
Men who showered me with gifts, affection, words and time.
Men who resembled me so much, it was borderline narcissistic.
Oh yes, no holds barred. You see, I am really passionate about people calling out their conditions before they become full blown illnesses, and I was quite conceited in some of my past dating habits. Oh yes, a few of us are out here suffering with Princess Syndrome and we don’t know how to behave.
Listen, Princess Syndrome is a real thing, go and Google it.
I had trained myself to see marriage as a means of escapism; a chance to build a home that suited my taste, my style and my agenda. And I think that my choice of
men would-be marriage mates Baes reflected that.
I never realised how important friendship was, or how necessary it would be to an enjoyable marriage. Obviously, you were going to be friends with your husband, but call me naive, but I overlooked the depth of the friendship.
And that made dating a problem. Because it came back to the fact that I used to have a problem seeing men as friends. Yup. Call it a consequence of having three brothers, or going to an all-girls school, or just immaturity on my part, but men never used to fit into my friendship box.
They were either romantic interests, brothers or my friend’s hubbys. Full stop.
But that’s changed, literally this year.
So in the run up to this week’s blog, I’ve been feeling mighty encouraged, so I wanted to encourage someone else tonight, because I was reflecting on some crazy examples from the Bible.
Jacob, waiting 14 years for Rachel. Listen, that no be small ting. 14 years? After his own Uncle hustled him. What, do you think he was talking to the sheep all that time? Nah, he was conversing with the babes. That’s that covenant love there.
Boaz and Ruth, and what I can only describe as relationship-building friendship. These times Boaz knew Ruth, her history and her credentials but he didn’t rush. He followed procedure, even to the removal of his shoe. That’s that redemptive love there.
Lol let me not go on, just check your Bible notes.
Check yourself really in every area: before you dream of engagement and marriage, would you marry yourself?
And when you do find yourself with feelings stirring or growing, or just generally, do a heart check. Check your motives with that brother/sister.
Enjoy the friendship.
Don’t rush into a relationship.
Have an honest conversation with yourself via the Holy Sprit.
And maybe, just maybe, allow yourself to be friends with someone without the expectation of it becoming something more. If it doesn’t go anywhere, cool. If it does lead on to more, that’s great, organic things are always the most beautiful…
The journey continues…