Marriage: Blessing or Bondage?
By Mrs. Crystal Paine
In this post modern pop culture of selfishness, greed, and “if-it-feels-good, do-it” mentality, it is no wonder marriage is becoming less fashionable, and people are marrying at a much later age. What saddens my heart most is to see this mentality unknowingly creeping into conservative Christian circles.
I cannot tell you how many times over the past few years in speaking with some of the best and brightest homeschool graduates, I have been told, “God has called me to marriage, but not for quite a few more years because I have so many things I want to do while I am single that I won’t be able to do when I am married.” To hear such statements breaks my heart. Whoever said marriage is bondage? And when did singleness equate freedom?
Marriage is extolled in Scripture as God’s example of Christ and the church. Ephesians 5 paints a beautiful picture for us:
“For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband” (Ephesians 5:23-31).
Recognizing that marriage is an illustration of Christ and the Church, it would seem logical that Christian young people would be excitedly anticipating marriage. And yet, time and time again, I hear Godly Christian young people associating marriage with “the inability to serve God.”
God’s original design for marriage was for two people to come together to fulfill a mission they could not accomplish on their own. Marriage was God’s idea in the first place, for He knew, “It is not good for a man to be alone, I will make him a helpmeet suited for him.” God is the one who determined it is not good for a man to be alone!
16 short months ago, I stood at the altar and covenanted to love, honor, obey, and cherish the most wonderful man in the whole world! We had first met 11 years ago when our families began attending the same church. We were only nine and ten at the time, but even then the Lord had planted a seed of love in hearts. It was not until ten years later that God’s timing was perfect for our relationship to begin to grow and blossom under the protection and guidance of our parents.
Since our births, our parents had laid down their lives to train and raise us in the ways of the Lord. They had instilled in us the desire to save our hearts for the one and only person the Lord had sovereignly chosen to be our spouse.
By God’s grace, we were able to begin our courtship free from past broken relationships. Experiencing our very first romance in this way was a most thrilling thing! We could hardly contain our joy! As time went along and engagement ensued, a number of well-meaning individuals stepped forward feeling out of duty they must explain to us the real “truth.” “It might seem like bliss now, but just wait until you’re married.” I cannot even count how many times we were told, “Just wait, the first year is always the hardest.”
After hearing this reiterated so many times, I must admit I began to believe it must be true. After all, it was coming from those who had been married for years. They should know better, shouldn’t they?
I quickly found out they did not. Marriage has proven to be so much beyond what I could ever imagine. It has been an incredible, wonderful experience. Over and over again, I have asked myself, “Why are so many young people delaying marriage thinking they will be better able to serve God in their single years?”
As I have realized over the last few months, the problem is not so much with the young people as it is with the PARENTS. Godly, Christian parents today are not encouraging young people to understand that marriage is a wonderful, blessed thing. Instead, all too often, I fear, it is the opposite.
I recently attended a conference where I listened to a father and daughter speak on courtship. I have great respect for this family and was excited to hear what they had to share. About halfway through their presentation, the father began to explain how they had encouraged their children to wait until they were older to marry. His reasons? So his children could more effectively serve God single and be more mature and ready for marriage. I could hardly believe it. Here is this wise father admonishing his 25-year-old daughter to wait to get married so she can more effectively serve the Lord!
Let me be quick to assure you, I am not advocating throwing caution to the wind when it comes to marriage, nor am I saying every person needs to get married by the time they are 21. What I am saying is that it is time for parents to stop discouraging their children and other young people from their highest callings—that of being fathers and mothers to the next generation.
I am so grateful that my parents raised me with a proper vision for marriage. Through the example they set forth in their marriage, I could imagine nothing more that I would want to do or be. After almost 30 years of marriage, their love for each other is radiant. I know beyond any shadow of a doubt that my dad would never be the leader that he is in his family, in the church, and in his workplace, were it not for my mom standing behind him everyday. She is always by his side, lifting him up in prayer, encouraging him through her words, and praising him to us. At the same time, my mom would never be the wonderful mother she is and has been to all seven of her children were it not for my dad’s constant loving support and leadership to her. He is always there to help bear her burdens, calm her fears, and show her gratitude.
Seeing my parents live a beautiful marriage everyday of my life, gave me such an incredible vision for what my own marriage could be. I still have a long way to go before I am a woman of the same caliber as my mother, but I certainly can tell you I have a blessed marriage. Everyday, I thank God for the wonderful husband He has given me.
As the world falls apart around us, it is imperative that there are strong ranks of second generation Christian homeschooling families who are raising up “armies” of Godly children for the glory of God. I call upon parents everywhere to take part in this work. Let us show the world that marriage is blessing, not bondage!
Crystal Paine is a 23-year-old homeschool graduate from Topeka, Kansas. She married her beloved husband Jesse in January 2003. They are eagerly expecting their first child in a few months. Crystal and Jesse operate
out of their home--an online business dedicated to promoting God-honoring weddings and assisting parents to wisely prepare their children for marriage. Crystal is the author of The Merchant Maiden: Earning an Income Without Compromising Convictions. You can contact her at:
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