Someone recently asked me about my take on the famous “Settling” post which I re-blogged here. I haven’t responded to it yet, but I’ll share a few of my thoughts/opinions on marriage right here, right now. I’ll try and keep it relatively short..
I see marriage as a reflection. A reflection of many things:
When God created man, He created him in His own image, and He created them male/female, meaning two in one. He created man as he saw/is Himself. It’s like looking into a mirror. Woman, who was taken out of man, looks just like man (Note: It was Adam who named his reflection Eve, not God; to Him, they were still the same.).
It hence follows: When you choose to marry someone and give that person your name (identity), you are directly attaching yourself to him/her, and you really do become one. My pastor always says you marry the person you deserve, whether he be saint or she be prostitute. It is the reflection of yourself (self-image) that you claim as yours.
Adam knew Himself (Note: The very next thing God did after saying, “It is not good for man to dwell alone, I will..” was to present animals to him, which he was to name. #Random? Absolutely not! He looked at all the animals and realized he was not like them, neither were they reflections of him. It was a test!), so when he saw his reflection (FEmale), he could call her “bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh”. He could boldly confess it, because he saw himself in her.
I want to be a reflection of my husband. It is just as important for man to know who he is, as it is for woman to know who she is. Should one come along who does not reflect you (your inner man), you know he/she is not yours. You cannot know this, without first discovering yourself (identity) in Him.
This should probably have been #1 but I placed it here anyway. The marriage union is a holy one. Holy in its truest and original sense: set apart. It is a beautiful picture of the Church, the Body of Christ, His Bride. It is to be a reflection of the love God (the Head) has for His beloved (the Body). A most beautiful picture of this can be seen in the Book of Songs of Solomon. It is a love relationship, one that involves loving and sacrificial giving. It is one in which our character and integrity is to be formed, built, shaped.. into the image and likeness of Christ’s.
It follows: My partner must be someone who does not just know himself, but knows God. I need the assurance that he is connected to the One who wrote the script, the One who is in charge, the One who does not change. I need to be able to trust him to make decisions based on his relationship to/with the One who knows it all, rather than anything else; and to be able to take a stand, even when I don’t/can’t.
3. Mars and Venus
While duties and responsibilities (especially so in human relationships) have become blurry and many have come to believe that there are no longer such thing as gender-based roles, I still (call me old-fashioned) believe in MAN and WOMAN being (although spiritually equal) different.
Not wanting to drag this issue, I like to see Man as a Martian, a warrior, fighter, defender of all things his; while woman is a Venetian, the perfect picture of love, dedication, commitment, faithfulness, forgiveness and fruitfulness. Give a (real) woman a seed (which can take many forms: idea, vision, plan,..), and she will feed it, nourish it, grow it, birth it. Offend a (true) man, and he will fight with his might and strength, even lay down his life if need be.
It follows: I need a Lion, one who understands what it means to be the head, while I desire to humbly be the Lamb, the one who submits herself to him. (Once again, a reflection of the dual-nature of our Maker: Lion and Lamb, Judge and Defence, Consuming Fire and Sweet Perfume.) As a woman I know I must submit, but I must also carefully choose whom to! It is not everyone I will submit to.
Having said all this, I’d be lying to myself and the entire universe, if the aforementioned was all I desired. There might be a million and one people ticking boxes 1-3, but failing at this one: compatibility. There are a few people you could be very good friends with (see earlier post) but never successfully date. Yes- of course- man can make all relationships work- but why difficult when you can have it easy? Relationships and people are complicated enough, no need to add any more complexities. I strongly believe in having that connection on a deeper than physical level. Physical attraction is important (!!) but not a quarter as it is to understand your partner. And maybe even a bit more important than understanding him/her, is thinking along similar lines. There is nothing as frustrating as always having to explain something, simply because the other doesn’t “get” you. I am not saying you should think exactly the same.. or be the same; I am simply saying: be compatible!
It follows: I definitely want to be with someone who is a rational thinker. I find nothing as frustrating as having to constantly explain and defend myself, because someone chose to interpret things that weren’t said/meant or reading between non-existent lines. As a straight-forward person who speaks her mind (in love) and has a bit too much testosterone in her body, I know that the overly emotional partner would stand unfulfilled, and I a bit impatient and depressed over time. This still boils down to understanding, knowing and accepting who you are. You grow, learn, develop in relationships. They are like going through fire (especially so marriage!), you are bound to come out (not literally, as I do not believe in divorce) different.. it should be purified, rather than shattered.. and not necessarily changed! I like to call it refined.
The last and probably most important point: A woman (whose duties stretch far beyond the commonly known) is a helper. God needed Adam to realize he could not do it all alone. Adam was busy working, when He gave him a help meet (suitable). Many people say they desire partners who are driven, ambitious, hard-working etc.; but I think it goes even further: you need a visionary! One who does not just want to go far/ places, but knows where those places are; a man with (God-given) plans and a vision.
It follows: Having a rough idea of where I want to/will be, it is impossible for me to “settle” for someone who does not. I do not believe in making someone else take up your vision, or in laying it down. I believe in two coming together in agreement, with a common purpose; walking down the same path, supporting and helping each other. My man would be one whose vision I can run with, simply because I know it is where I am (supposed to be) going to.
OK; that’s me pretty much done. In conclusion: If you call the combination of all 5 points “love”, then yes.. that is exactly what I hope to marry for. Should butterflies et al. find their way into my stomach while all this is going on, glory be to God!
Marriage is a too delicate “thing” to jump into without having taken the aforementioned into serious consideration. Whether you are 20 or 40 years old.. there’s no need to rush into it. The family (of which marriage is the foundation) was God’s only real institution. The only reason for its “failure” today is people’s lack of understanding.