This is the second part to this post. The first is available here
In a way, I feel then that this message is most relevant for people who are desperately grounded and determined to remain grounded in Christ. In a way, I feel as if such people should already know all this – surely?! However, I look at my own heart, and I think of the pragmatic realities of finding a spouse. When you are looking around, and there do not seem to be many people available, then you might think “Well that’s all very well, but here is this person here, now; if I don’t marry them, then I don’t know when next someone even almost suitable will turn up. Yes, he/she might not be the most spiritually grounded person, and they might not be as desperate in their pursuit of holiness as possible, but this is the real world, Tosin, we’re living in the real world!”
If this is you, then pragmatically speaking I agree with you. Sincerely speaking, I’m a pragmatist (and whisper: so is God in many ways – but please don’t tell anyone I told you that, otherwise they’d probably blacklist this blog…) If the only person you can reasonably find to marry who also wants to marry you back (that is an important pragmatic consideration – let’s face it!) – is not as deep in their faith or their groundedness as you would like, then realistically speaking, what are the options available to you? You can either a) walk away or b) pray or c) walk away from the romantic relationship while praying that God will bring them to the place where they themselves will pursue Christ and groundedness in Him. If you go for [C] then this is a great way to get used to a life of prayer! It may so happen that you might pray all the prayers in the world – and yet the relationship fails to develop as necessary, or even dies. This is not necessarily a bad thing. There have certainly been a couple of guys I have met where the attraction I felt was so strong that I prayed as hard as I possibly could. Looking back nothing has happened since then in either case to change my opinion that they were genuinely nice guys (perhaps in each case, they were the ones that God was saving from me – ha ha!)
And yet now, just because I know myself a little better, I’m grateful for not getting what I prayed for so deeply. In fact now, with all the thoughts and ideas and opinions that have occurred to me about life and marriage in these intervening years, I am so glad that I did not marry anyone at all before getting to this place – even though it could plausibly have so happened that I found a spouse and the marriage turned out to be very successful. I just like the fact of being in this relatively far superior position of knowledge, reflection and understanding before I actually embark upon this huge undertaking. I am grateful for the chance of being able to deliberately build excellent foundations for my marriage, and also plan towards multi-faceted dreams in life. That is said though with the hope and expectation that I actually will eventually get married, otherwise all the knowledge and reflection in the world about marriage will count for nothing.
So in conclusion then, I guess this article just presents a different way of saying what I always say. For your marriage to succeed in any way resembling what you would dream of, and hope for, it is not going to be an accident. You cannot afford to be casual in any way about your choice of spouse. Rather, marital success is going to be the result of God at work in your midst and each spouse pursuing Him with all their heart. Even so, we are never guaranteed success in this. However it is my belief that God wants Christian marriages and indeed marriages on the whole everywhere to thrive – as long as those marriages are in keeping with a few widely accepted precepts – for instance, each must be a consensual, loving relationship between two responsible adults, one male, one female. (This is not the place to speak on gay marriage. However, the Bible is unequivocably against homosexuality period – so how much more gay marriage?* Child marriage – where either or both spouses are below the age of puberty – is also out.)
To make life so much easier for yourself, you have to absolutely insist on two things: firstly, being that kind of spouse yourself; and secondly, making sure that the person you marry is committed to that same necessary level of determination. If they are not “there” yet, then you will have to pray for them. However, if I were to be candid, I would admit that I myself am pretty much in the same situation. Realistically speaking, I just don’t see any guy that is “there”, and I can’t envisage how I would meet a guy that is “there”, unless God literally drops someone from the sky. So the likelihood is that I also will have to pray hard to see someone develop that level of extreme marriageability – oh yeah baby! If I am to be sincere, many times it seems like such a big and overwhelming prayer request that I cannot truly motivate myself to pray with the necessary fervour. So I am essentially in the same boat as anyone who is struggling with the level of prayer needed. And yet, with God’s empowerment, I will pray. Because I know that I want to get married, and I know that there is simply no alternative to having a husband who is like this. To me, no other kind of marriage is viable, or worth the effort.
*Gay Christians do dispute this, but in all sincerity, there is no biblical argument about this point. Here is a post from my other blog about this issue
48 Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.
1 John 1v8:
8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
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