My husband and I ventured to Family Life’s Weekend to Remember marriage conference this weekend. A close family friend offered to take the kids (she has three little ones of her own so this is no small feat) for the entire weekend so that we could have a kid-free getaway … to Schaumburg. It really didn’t matter that we were less than 30 minutes from our house, it was a real treat to stay in a hotel, away from the responsibilities of home and life so that we could focus on our marriage. I would highly recommend to any married couple–or even pre-married couples–who have been married 3 weeks or 50 years or who are in crisis or sailing along smoothly to attend one of these events. The speakers were phenomenal, every session was engaging and spoke truth into our hearts.
The first point of the first message, given by author Raymond Causey, was that every marriage is moving. You have to be intentional about moving toward oneness or you will naturally be drifting … drifting … drifting toward isolation. BOOM! My husband and I were both hit like a ton of bricks with the truth of that in our own marriage. And it only got better from there.
One of the sessions that struck me most profoundly was about the purpose of marriage. Again, Raymond shared a Biblical viewpoint that gave us pause: What if marriage is about more than just your happiness? He explained that marriage is more significant than we realize … It is at the center of God’s purpose for mankind. God joined together a man and a woman so that together, as a team, they would mirror his image. As Jerry McGuire said, “You complete me.” The oneness of marriage combines the characteristics found in man and woman to reflect the character and unity of God. It is also a spiritual discipline to cultivate the image of Christ in one another. God’s intention for marriage isn’t to make you happy, but to make you more like Him.
In a culture that focuses on “me” and “mine,” it’s easy to willfully choose independence from God and focus on our own needs, desires and happiness, particularly in marriage. The truth is that our spouses are a perfect provision from God. Not that they are perfect people, but until we receive them (not just accept them) as a gift from God, we cannot establish true intimacy as God has designed.
And by putting God first, then your spouse (and others) before yourself, God will be reflected to those around you. How obvious it is to me now the importance of marriage in reflecting God’s glory not only in this lifetime but in the legacy that follows through our children.
We laughed a bit when the speaker had us repeat “You are not my enemy” to our spouses. But it’s so true. Satan is the enemy. He is seeking to destroy what God designed for oneness, which challenges any attempt to leave a godly legacy and instead replaces it with a godless legacy.
“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” Genesis 1:27