“All I want in life is to get married.” Her eyes welled up with tears as she told me about her one and only desire in life.
I’ve been having A LOT of conversations about marriage.
Marriage. Marriage. And more marriage.
That’s been my life lately. And not just because I’m married, but because I’ve been having a lot of conversations about the subject as I’m in writing mode for my new book coming out in 2018. It’s a book for both singles and couples, so it’s been a necessary part of the process to “pick the brains” of both crowds as I tackle this important topic.
But something that has caused me take a step back is the realization that we live in a culture that idolizes marriage. We don’t necessarily respect it, but we sure do idolize it. We put it on this pedestal expecting it to things for us that it just. can’t. do. And then we end up disappointed. Devastated. Disillusioned. And even divorced.
It’s not that I didn’t recognize this before. Growing up in Christian culture and then topping it off by going to Christian college, dreaming about marriage was commonplace. It was the “ultimate goal” of a Christian single. It’s what you lived for. One day….you would get married, and then life would finally begin.
And from my latest research, I’ve found that people are still holding on to that way of thinking. Fast forward a decade or so later, reaching the “ultimate goal of marriage” is a concept infused in our entertainment, our church messages, our christian colleges. To live is to pursue marriage.
There’s nothing wrong with desiring marriage. In fact, it’s a desire placed in us by God himself. I, for one, have been known to encourage men and women to be honest about their desire for marriage and then follow that desire to the best of their ability.
No, what scares me the most is not our desire for marriage, it’s our expectations of marriage.
We have a generation of people who are entering marriage with high expectations coupled with low understanding. And when the rubber meets the road and reality hits, that very thing that we put on such a high pedestal comes crashing down.
Think about it. We spend so much time glorifying marriage, yet such little time preparing for it. Such little time getting to know ourselves. Such little time healing from our past. Such little time understanding what we need in a relationship. Such little time determining the kind of people who are a good match, and the kind that aren’t. Such little time setting goals, accomplishing dreams. Such little time living life abundantly.
But here’s the thing: Jesus doesn’t say that “life abundantly” starts when we get married….he says it starts when we enter relationship with Him. For the believer in Christ, life abundantly is happening right here, right now, in this very moment – no matter what your relationship status.
It’s so important to get this right: marriage might be a beautiful part of your journey, but it’s not your final destination. Not even close. For those of you who are living to find purpose in a relationship, I’m here to tell you that that’s not going to happen. Because that’s not what relationships are intended to do.
Marriage can’t give you purpose.
Marriage can’t bring you healing.
Marriage can’t offer you security.
If you can’t find those things standing alone, you certainly won’t find them in marriage either. But for those of you who can grasp these things BEFORE marriage, you’ll enter marriage more fulfilled than you could imagine. And two fulfilled people in a marriage makes for the best kind of marriage.
Don’t live just to get married. Live to live. Live to heal. Live to grow. Live to learn. Live to serve Jesus. Right here, right now, where God has placed you. Because life abundantly doesn’t start once you get married. Life abundantly is happening now.
Debra Fileta is a Professional Counselor, national speaker, relationship expert, and author of True Love Dates: Your Indispensable Guide to Finding the Love of Your Life, where she writes candidly about dating, relationships, and how to find true love. Her newest relationship book is set to be released in the Summer of 2018! You may also recognize her voice from her 200+ articles at Relevant Magazine, Crosswalk.com, and all over the web! She’s the creator of this True Love Dates Blog, reaching over 4 million people with the message that healthy people make healthy relationships! Connect with her on Facebook or Twitter or book a session with her today!