At one time, I was a self-proclaimed hopeless romantic and serial dater. I enjoyed all the romantic comedies, reading romance novels and going on dates that always ended abruptly. My hopeful eyes glimmered with the anticipation of a new husband prospect. But the heaviness in my heart told another story. This burden lifted when I stopped making marriage an idol- obsessing over when, where, how and how long will I have to wait. It was clear that I needed to trust in the Lord with all my heart and make way for His timing (Proverbs 3:5). It was time for me to guard my heart (Proverbs 4:23) and realize that every guy smiling at me was not a date worth having.
“He has made everything beautiful in its time…” (Ecclesiastes 3:11 NIV)
If we don’t lock our hearts and legs up and give God the key, we will be let down time after time after time. But, if we make it a priority to put God’s way above our own desires, no matter how imperfect or bumpy the ride, we are already on the winning team (Philippians 2:16). The more I began to trust God with my love life, the more I gained contentment. There was so much more to do than waiting around to be found (Proverbs 18:22). Praying, being dedicated to daily Bible reading, learning to effectively share the gospel, keeping secrets, cooking, cleaning, organizing, exercising, communicating honestly, being a good steward of finances, etc. are all important whether single or married.
Currently, I am closer than I ever have been before to marriage and sometimes it seems the singleness I cursed for so long was actually bliss. As divorce rates rise and the popular opinion about choosing not to marry “young” is everywhere, I’m not the only one who thinks singleness is bliss. However, there is power, love and freedom in marriage, God’s definition of marriage, that implores us to taste and see that everything the Lord does is good (Psalm 34:8).
“…a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. So, they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, let no one separate.” (Matthew 19:5-6 NIV)
Grasping the vast amount of marriages that end in divorce still proves difficult. There must be something, something immensely deep to keep love-locked even when a marriage reaches the deepest valleys, steepest hills and thinnest breaking points. “Marriage doesn’t start when you say, ‘I Do,’ marriage starts the moment you look over at your partner and want to kill them,” Viola Davis exclaimed on the colorful documentary, “Black Love.” The name for this type of love Viola Davis is describing is what keeps a marriage going when everything says quit; it is Agape love.
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-8a NIV)
Agape love is this scripture in the flesh. It is God’s way of loving. It is willingly sacrificial, incredibly indescribable when felt. This love is not for the weak at heart, selfish, or prideful. Luckily, we can look to Jesus as our perfect example of agape love. Without this sacrificial love, marriages eventually run out of gas and no amount of sex, money or kids will fill the tank again. However, when the marriage strives each day to love like this, the fill comes from God, who will never allow a marriage to stay on empty.