Growing up, I did not have the blessing of living with my father. In the 21st century in America, many children do not have their fathers in their homes. When fathers are absent, we also lose family memories, history, and social learning. Children naturally emulate their father and mother. That was not the case for me, however, I had my grand uncle, grandfather and stepfather. These men, limited in their means, were rich in the character of hard work. They encouraged education, modeled marriage longevity, and the foundation for faith in God’s goodness.
In my work with youth and families, I have observed a great decline in the role models available to the younger generations (Gens X, Y and Z) and those that came before them, the boomers. Researchers have also found in the social demographics that financial means and neighborhood have tremendous impact on a family’s stability and its ability to incubate the next generation.
One day, I was visiting a single young man in his home. He was an up and coming successful. He was going to a social and had to wear a tie. It was my honor to show him how to tie his tie. In my life I recall that my grandfather first showed me how to tie a tie, a simple but significant experience for me. Father’s have the honor and responsibility to teach their sons (and daughters too) about life, love, money, and eternity.
Among the secrets that fathers can share is about love which leads to marriage. In this article, here is my advice or encouragement to a young man on the road to marriage and sacred love.
What is Marriage?
As a pastor and counselor, I have heard a variety of announcements from couples over the years. Some say, “We are getting married” or “We are separating.” Others have said, “We don’t love each other anymore”, and the biggie, “We are getting a divorce.”
I do understand that some relationships are doomed to failure before they even begin, while others slide slowly towards desolation and dissolution. Fortunately, there are many couples on the path to a lifetime of love, happiness, and romance. Therefore, I want to share my observations about marriage from the perspective of someone who married at a young age, over 30 years ago. The marital relationship is God’s design for human society which he patterns after His own Kingdom economics. I am not saying this out of mere piety as a pastoral counselor.
So, what is a marriage?
A marriage in the kingdom of God is a covenant between man, woman and God, it is an eternal commitment made under Christ to love, comfort, keep, and forsake all others in favor of your one and only mate, stated in many marital vows. In my book Come Closer: A Pathway to Sacred Intimacy, I refer to the passage in Genesis as I discuss the purpose of being married or Why Marriage? In short, In the creation of humankind, the woman was brought to the man, and he was attracted to her and declared, ‘This is now bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh.’” and another passage states, “’Then God blessed them’—that is, God married them.’ In the first couple’s marriage, a blessing was pronounced, which was a command to ‘Be fruitful and multiply.’” (Come Closer, 2019).
Also, as recorded in Genesis Chapter 2, marriage is a picture of the garden of Eden. The garden gave the first couple a good start in life and intimate love. Emotionally, marriage is an example of the garden of Eden – man, woman and God living in a paradise. Marriage is also God’s mirror of Christ and the church. Marriage is the path for being intimate, spiritually, emotionally, and psychologically. In the Kingdom of God, the Father requires that all of his children live in covenant with Jesus Christ, the natural act of marriage is the outgrowth of the spiritual act of marriage to Christ. Marriage requires love, commitment, loyalty, affection and devotion to God and to each other.
So, think of a marriage as the two halves of an apple being glued together by love as described in 1 Corinthian 13 verses 1-13. Love is a choice to behave affectionately and marriage is the cradle for birthing and raising children. Also, for Christians, it is the place where God wants to show us an example of his love for the church (Ephesians 5).
Children in our recent American social experience are, frequently, products of broken homes and non-marital relationships. There are social consequences that come with this new reality.
I hope this series of articles (more to come) will encourage you and yours to enter marriage with counsel, allowing God to put you on the road to relationship with each other and with Christ.