I have heard it said so many times before. “As soon as I get married, I know all these things will change.”
I’d like to invite all of us, and not just those of us that have not been married before, to consider the following truths I believe will cause every present and future marriage to be the healthy and wonderful experience God had in mind when he designed it.
1. If you are feeling lonely, marriage won’t change that, as loneliness is not cured suddenly when you have someone next to you.
2. If you are feeling incomplete, marriage will not change that either, as wholeness comes from within our hearts and not someone else.
3. If you are feeling lost, marriage will not change this, as real clarity and identity are not found through the eyes and thoughts of someone else.
4. If you are wounded, marriage won’t change this either, since healing is only found in the King that resides in the Kingdom that is within your heart.
5. If you are married and suddenly see that one or all of these reasons were behind your desire to marry, panic not. Grace and love can restore and redeem all things. So now that you can see the truth, ask the King to do His thing, and in time watch your marriage begin to thrive God’s way.
Ultimately in life it is what we see that determines how we see it working. Over the years I have heard many say that marriage is like a triangle, with God at the top and the couple below. I certainly believed this for years, and in hindsight it sounded good. Yet as I went deeper into my heart, I began to see that when this picture is looked at more closely, it falls short of how God sees it. You see, a triangle, though it joins three points together, those points nevertheless remain separated from each other. Something else is required to join them and keep them connected. These pieces or straight lines that are inserted between the three points, if pulled upon with any real force will not only disfigure the triangle but in time it will also tear it apart.
This is why I believe today that a better picture of marriage is more like a three-stranded cord, which is a Biblical image used to describe the union of three things. You see, even though you have three individual strands (God, you, and your spouse), you are all part of the same chord which is God. This means that the strands do not require something else to join them since they are bonded and held together in the first place by the same chord. This oneness is such that even when something attempts to pull them apart, they actually get bonded together even tighter, and the strands become stronger.
So consider with me today the idea that the image of the triangle, though at first appealing, almost invites our mind to break the connecting links, which would leave separation (divorce) as an option. The chord on the other hand, when seen through the eyes of our hearts, suggests wholeness and integration, so separation is not a viable option.
Entering into marriage with false pretenses or perhaps an unrealistic, romantic illusion of what we think marriage is really about, means that we will very likely not only make it worse for ourselves, but also for the one we claim to want to love for the remainder of our days. Marriage works best when both parties approach it from a place where what is most important is giving to the other person instead of just taking. However, that kind of selfless giving is almost impossible when we are deeply wounded, as the wounds within us prevent us from ever seeing anyone else’s need apart from our own — which is doing whatever we can to silence the crying ache from our heart.
True love sets others free, yet it is impossible to give freedom from a place of inner captivity. When we are in deep need, we run the danger of falling in love not with someone, but more with the way they appear to meet that need. Which means that when we whisper to them “I love you,” what we are really saying is “I love the way that you meet my need(s).” Only those of us who find our needs met in God are able to stop needing others, so that we can freely want them without any preconceived ideas or expectation of certain conditions being met.
When seeking a spouse, our first priority must be our own healing and wholeness — before we try to form a lasting connection with someone else.
Because the only certain thing a ring around your finger will change will be your civil status.
Pablo has traveled the world, speaks four languages, and is a guest speaker at various conferences and seminars around the world. Lately, Pablo has been coaching people from all walks of life to develop their personal and professional lives by helping them to lead their lives from their heart. He is author of The Modern Fig Leaf and Holding On Loosely, and is the owner of Uncommon Spiritual Retreats. Based in Tel Aviv, Israel for the last 4 years, he is married to Madeleine, and is the father of five children, Vanessa, Jake, Mia, Gisella, and Anabella.