As what would have been my 7th wedding anniversary is approaching, the memories of my hurried elopement are slowly but surely fading away. It seems strange to think I once wore a wedding band and made vows on a fishing boat in front of a Christian preacher to a man who is now a stranger to me. The only evidence left of my stormy two-and-a-half year union is my five-year-old child; a boy who hasn’t seen his father in nearly a year.
One thing I do remember clearly is the doubt I had in my mind when the time came for my ex-husband and I to marry. Standing next to him, nervously, with copious tears emerging, for a second I thought about calling the whole thing off, but it seemed too late to do that. Plus, I reasoned with myself, he may not be perfect or nearly what I expected the man of my dreams to be like, but I could put up with his moods and occasionally violent temper, just like my mom did for so many years.
At the time, I was unsaved and the only thing I had as an anchor was scores of self-help books and positive thinking under my belt and six seasons of Sex and the City as my guide. I thought my marriage would save me from parents who constantly needled me, mentally abused me, and told me I would never amount to anything. Marriage, to me, seemed like something you just settled for. Even though I had a cursory knowledge of the Word, I did not have any idea of what God intended a marriage to be.
Genesis 2:23-24: “The man said, ‘This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called “woman,” for she was taken out of man.’ For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.”
My marriage was not the joining of flesh, it was a highly contentious pairing of mismatched individuals, built on rapidly shifting sand. Our marriage was not a union, it was a sham, having nothing to do with Matthew 19:6: “So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.“
We who are in Christ are led by the Holy Spirit, also known as the Inner Witness (Romans 8:16). It’s our awesome God’s way of letting us know that he never forsakes us (Deuteronomy 31:6, Joshua 1:5). God is with us every step of our earthly lives, providing guidance, ordering our steps, introducing people to our lives who will help us to grow in our knowledge of the most high.
If there is any situation in which we feel unsure, with little to no conviction of how we should proceed, it’s usually for a reason. If you know that you know what you know, doubt is not an option. Coming from someone who took the doubtful road and paid a price for it with a bad marriage, what I wish I could tell anyone who is in a situation similar to what mine was is to stop listening to what the world says. For we are in this world, but not of this world (John 15: 17-19). Satan, who is the god of the world (2 Corinthians 4:4), is a liar – he will make it seem like settling for less than the ideal is what you have to do. He will try to tell you that the Fruit of the Spirit are not something that belong to you. Satan will use any means necessary to devalue relationships, to make you devalue yourself.
So what do you do when you’re not entirely sure of how to proceed with a lukewarm relationship? First and foremost, take some time to visit the Word and research what God shows us how a marriage should be. Stop thinking you have to pattern your relationships for anything you see on TV, in the movies, or any other form of media. Also, be careful what advice you take from friends who may unintentionally (or intentionally) encourage an ungodly path.
Above all – know this – you are a child of the Most High. Love, when it comes, will be sure, will be true, and will be modeled after what God has intended for us.