For those who know me personally, you may be shocked by the picture above, thinking: "Bianca is single? What happened? I thought she was engaged to James!" Yes, we are still happily engaged. But according to God, since I'm not married yet, I'm am single.
In the Bible, there isn't much talk about anything other than being single or married. (Yes, Matthew 1:18 speaks about Mary being engaged to Joseph, but Biblical engagements are not the same as what we have today.) My point is, there is no in-between. Either you're single or you're married. So forget all that nonsense about being dedicated to one another during dating and engagement... Compared to marriage, your "dedication" is nothing more than a pinky promise to stay together. Marriage is a much deeper commitment than you can ever fathom. Think about it! If you're dating someone and things go awry, you can walk away from the relationship without any real consequences. But if you're married, it's an entirely different story. The connection that you have with the person that you marry is the strongest bond of any human relationship--even more so than your relationships with your parents, best friend, siblings, etc. It's the highest level of commitment possible.
[God First. Then your spouse. Then you.]
Recently, James and I finished up the pre-marital class at our church. It was a whirlwind of information, but every tidbit was so beneficial. In one session, we learned that God's equation for marriage is 1+1=1. Two individuals join together to become one flesh. To build that oneness, each person must RECEIVE their spouse, LEAVE the care/responsibility of their parents, CLEAVE to their spouse and WEAVE their lives together. (Genesis 2: 23-25) In other words, marriage is not about love. It requires you to put your spouse ahead of yourself.
As Christians, we always need to consult God first with the things in our lives. Feeling grateful that He woke you up this morning? Praise Him. Feeling anxious about that big customer meeting at work? Pray to Him. Seeking God should be the first thing on your mind (Job 5: 8-9). You need to consult with God first. But when you get married, the hierarchy changes.
See, in a Biblical marriage, it goes:
- Your spouse
This means that every time you think about doing something/going somewhere/buying something, you've got to consult not one, but two people above you. Your spouse has priority over yourself.
Kinda crazy, huh?
So, what can you do with all this information?
If you're single (not dating), you can practice a daily and fervent relationship with God by seeking Him, praying, and reading the Bible. Fall in love with Jesus first.
If you're currently dating someone, do the same thing but with your boyfriend/girlfriend. This is a great way for you two to bond together and to learn from each other.
If you're engaged, actively try to put your future spouse ahead of you, in both your actions and your words. If you're not doing so already, make it a habit to pray together. The goal here is to build a foundation for a healthy, Godly marriage.
And if you're already married, first of all congratulations! Hopefully this post resonates with you in your marriage, but if it doesn't, please don't fear. There is always room for improvement. You can make some baby steps to build the hierarchy of a Biblical marriage by praying with your spouse and asking God to heal any wounded pieces of your marriage. Also, you can work with your spouse to practice putting God first by reading devotions or the Bible every day.
I hope this was helpful for you.
In my next post I will talk about what you can do during your time of singleness. (Hint: It's not just dating.)