June 20, 2012

The Highest Calling of All

We as modern society are bombarded with messages about being successful in life, how to become a billionaire, how to get a skinny body like a model, and so on. The majority seems to hold on to that principles and that make it seems so true. But is it really because of it becomes majority proves it to become truth? I doubt so. It is a good thing to have a goal in life, but it will be better to have the right one. Hereby, I would like to share with you my highest calling which is ... Godly marriage. I believe that a better generation are seeds from two people who strives to build a Godly marriage and family. From this view, I feel such a great desire to be part of this movement and help others to do the same too. Broken home is definately not a happy place to live in. Our children deserve so much more than an average family. They need a constant love, affection, affirmation, honor, and proper education so that they can grow maturely in God. And it all starts with two committed people to build a great Godly marriage.

Getting married is a common thing to do for people round 20-30's of age. But building a successful marriage requires more than just a status of common thing to do nor a coincidence. Marriage is a new season which is too long compared to how short we usually prepare for. There are not many of people who really put an effort to prepare a life-time marriage compared to a seasonal carreer or hobbies. We tend to underestimate marriage by 'going with the flow'. Not so many couple really interested to invest their time to pre-marital counseling, to read marriage books (we really have a bunch of great resources out there!), go to seminar, etc. Ironically, we spend too much time in our carreer or other things and do expect our marriage will be successful along the
way. The truth is, it will not. We cannot be successful in everything that we treat as a part-time job. We cannot be successful in marriage if we give it portions of our leftover time. Skills do developed more as we invest more time with it. So does with marriage. The more we invest to build great foundation, to prepare, to really know each other and discuss deeper issues; the more likely we will be succeed in marriage.

The purpose of marriage is to become more like Jesus Christ. It is a process where God will mold His children to be the man and woman He intends to be. Marriage is a highest academy of life whereby your character will be most likely be challenged. Your spouse will be like a mirror to you in which every flaws will be seen clearly. It is where two completely different people become one. As the result, there will be a challenge to adapt one another constantly. It is an environement to learn and grow time over time.

A marriage will be as strong as its foundation. I believe that as we build our marriage upon Jesus Christ as our Rock, we can be sure that no matter how strong the wind blows, we will be steady and safe. It is important to prioritize God and His principles in every decision-making in marriage. However, God Himself is the Author of marriage. To consult with Him is certainly the best way and guidance to lead a successful Godly marriage :D Hereby, I would like to describe some principles in marriage from Dr. Myles Munroe which I found very life-changing!

#1 We have to respect the marriage more than the persons in it

This talks about a commitment. People may change and perhaps definately will change (at least in physical terms). The one thing that will guarantee our marriage will last or not is how deep our commitment to the marriage itself. A marriage is not a condition where we can get in and get out as we want it to. It is one-way ticket. It is meant for a lifetime. When we think that divorce is an option whenever things get hard, that reveals our lack or respect to the marriage entity itself. God determines it to be a life-time until death set us apart. As we strive on difficult moments and work on together to solve each problems will give us a platform to grow maturely.

A marriage is two imperfect people committed to a perfect entity and make a perfect vow from imperfect lips in front of a perfect God.

Marriage is far more important than our personal feeling.There will come a time when we disagree with each other but that does not relate to the marriage itself. Be committed to the marriage, not only to the people in it, is the key success in marriage.

#2 Do have a healthy reasons for marriage
Many people have unhealthy reasons for marriage such as treating marriage as an escape from annoying parents, poor self-image and insecure, fear of being alone, pressure on age, fear of hurting current partner, and unwanted pregnancy. How could we build a great marriage with these reasons?

We cannot build a healty relationship when we bring an unhealthy baggage of the past. Our former pain, hurts, anger, insecurity must be let go before we enter marriage. It is a matter of making peace with ourselves and others to do a greater favor for our marriage. We do not want our spouse to be the victim of our anger, do we? :)

Being pregnant is also not a reason to get marriage, but to repent. It is better to rise the child alone rather than being with someone who is not ready and responsible for a life-time.

Healthy reasons to get married are as below:
- Because marriage is the will of God
A couple who consider to get married is encouraged to pray more together to seek God's will in their relationship.

- To express God's love to our spouse
God intends love in marriage to be "agape" love. It is unconditional love and a decision to love even the situations make our spouse truly unloveable. It is a sacrificial love, a determination to crucify our ego for the sake of others' happiness.

I guess this is truly a highest calling for sinful human like us. God shows us that in marriage we can never be succeed when we maintain our ego. He has been our role model to this type of love. How deep His love have touched our lives? We, ourselves, do not deserve such kind of love. Yet God gave it to us. There is no greater privilege to lay down ourselves for others. And marriage is the best practice battleground of all.

- To express sexual desire in Godly way
Sex in marriage context will act as a glue between husband and wife, while ourside of marriage will act as a destroyer of soul. God intends sex to be holy and beautiful. It takes a great understanding between man and woman to make it beautiful expression of love and not an egoistic lust.

- A willingness to build a family
Psalm 127:3-4 says, "Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb reward. Like arrows in the hand of warrior, so are the children of one's youth"

There is no greater place to raise up children compared to a Godly home which is based on strong Godly marriage :)

- Friendship
A husband ought to be his wife's best friend and a wife ought to be her husband's best friend. It demands trust, transparency, and honesty.

- To share everything with spouse
An old proverb says, when we share our suffering, we make the suffering to become a half, and when we share our joy, our joy will be double. Marriage is a matter of sharing our joy and sorrown in loving and respectful relationship.

- To maximize each potential and support spiritual growth
A great marriage is the one that make you grow in your potential. It builds one another, not tearing others down. It intends to make each of partner grow more in Jesus Christ.It gives a place for partner to worship God, pray and learning God's Words together.

#3 The leave and cleave principle

Genesis 2: 24

"Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh"

There are three aspects in Genesis 2:24.

1) Leave.

This shows that parent-child relationship is temporary one and there will be a 'leaving'; The husband-wife relationship is the permanent one -"what God has joined together, let man not separate" -Matthew 19:6.

Problems occur in family life when these two roles are reversed and the parent-child relationship is treated as the primary relationship. Most of the cases, the parents are the sides who are most likely hard to let go their children. It is interesting that this command to leave refers to the children because the children are those who needs to decide to leave. It means to leave physically and emotionally. When we get married, our priority is in God and our spouse. Other things that messes this order will bring an inevitable conflict in marriage, probably a devastated ones.

Marriage is a primary human relationship. God even created Adam and Eve first before they created a parent-child relationship.

2) Cleave.
The Hebrew word translated cleave refers to the pursuing hard after someone else and being glued or stuck to something/someone. So a man is to pursue hard after his wife after the marriage has occured (noted here: the courtship should not end with the wedding vows) and is to be "stuck to her like a glue." This cleaveness indicates such closeness that there should be no closer relationship than that between the two spouses, not with any former friend or with any parent.

There is a tendency to take things for granted after marriage. Many people tend to act so compassionately in dating time, and once they get married they act 'so normally' like there is nothing special. Men usually study women until he graduated from high school of [her name]. But after marriage, many men tend to stop instead of taking bachelor or doctor degree in University of [her name]. The real meaning of 'to cleave' really gives us a hard insight that the pursuing needs to go on even after marriage. When we take things for granted, the quality will always diminish over time.

3) And they shall become one flesh
There is to be such sharing and oneness in every aspect (physical, emotional, intellectual, financial, social) that the resultng unity can be best described as "one flesh".

We are most probably having difficulty in balancing 'honoring father and mother' commandment with 'to leave and cleave parents'. I find that before marriage, our primary relationship is our original family in which God is the highest authority and the second in line is our parents. Thereby, honoring God should be at the higher priority from our parents. But we need to maintain always our respectful attitude to our parents. There may be disagreement with them, but disagreement can be delivered in respectful manner. And an important truth here is this authority is changed once we get married. When we get married, God is number one and our spouse is the number two. Do not put our former parents, siblings, activities at the top of these absolute order to avoid great conflicts in marriage.

There are still many more to be talked about. But I will stop here for now :) I would like to end this writing with this: Marriage is an act of faith. Let God builds it and be willing to use His wisdom to prepare from now on. It is a privilege, not a burden. I believe that a successful Godly marriage is not an impossible dream to be reached as we are willing to work for it. Let us determined in our heart to build this heaven on earth, shine, and bring healing to our next generation :)

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