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My first job was as a cashier at a local pharmacy owned by a man that went to the same church as my family.  I worked there right up until the time I left home for Ball State University. In total, I was employed there for almost two years. There were two pharmacists that worked somewhat of a rotating schedule. There was one pharmacist that I worked with more often, and the truth is that I enjoyed working with him more.  We would talk non-stop about the important things in life; you know…The Indiana Pacers and The Chicago Cubs. He would also impose his opinion that Larry Bird was the greatest basketball player of all-time because he had more points and rebounds than Magic Johnson and more rebounds and assists than Michael Jordan. We had endless sports trivia contests and every once in a while we talked about…MARRIAGE. Seem out of place? I thought so too. When I say we “talked” about marriage, what I actually mean is that this Pharmacist repeatedly made the following comment. “Nik,” he would say; “Don’t ever get married.” This, along with several jokes about how having a wife costs too much money, was common place for nearly two years.

What I learned about this man over time is that he had been married three times, each ending in a painful divorce. He regretted ever getting married, and each and every comment was an example of how this man in his late 60s had lost hope in marriage. “Nik,” he would say; “Don’t ever get married.”

It seems like there is a growing number of people who are beginning to express this same type of sentiment towards marriage. Marriage is at the center of many national debates. While these debates are raging there is a growing number of married and single people watching the debates play out. In addition they are seeing everything from adultery to people simply falling in and out of love and even domestic violence. Some are experiencing these things right now in their marriages, while others are watching it happen. Slowly, we are losing hope in the concept/institution of marriage.  If you feel this way, whether you are currently married, divorced, or single, I want to provide some insight that might allow you to realign your beliefs about marriage with the originally intended design.

Marriage is not intended to be a cure for loneliness:

We often make the mistake of believing that marriage comes from a desire to not be lonely, or is a result of our innate desire to be loved by another human being. The result is that we search for someone that can cure our loneliness and love us how we long to be loved. The problem is that no man or women can cure my loneliness and neither can any man or woman ever hope to love me the way that I long to be loved. We read in Genesis that God created the earth, the animals, and man. Man was placed in the garden to work and keep it ( Genesis 2:15).  Then in Genesis 2:18 God says... “ It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.”  It’s important to note that it wasn’t Adam running to God and saying “ I’m so lonely, will you give me somebody to spend my time with? ” OR “ I need to be loved, can you give me somebody to love me.”  It was God who decided that man needed a helper not man. Adam was completely loved and not at all lonely. He already had a perfect relationship with his creator and it was God that gave Adam the blessing of a helper. Marriage was initiated by the will of God not by the loneliness of Adam. This does not mean that we should never experience loneliness. However, what it does mean is that if you are lonely, a spouse will never fix that problem. If you believe that your spouse is the cure for loneliness then you will grow to despise him/her when you realize they aren’t. It is only in a relationship with God that your loneliness can begin to be taken away. When Adam and Eve sinned all relationships were broken, including marriage. 

Our hope is not in marriage but marriage is a picture of our hope.

In the book of Ephesians, Paul says this about marriage; “The mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the Church.”(Ephesians 5:32). This comes after Paul commands wives to submit to and love their husbands and husbands to submit to and love their wives. In order for this to actually work it takes complete denial of self. This is why viewing marriage as way to fill a need within yourself makes absolutely no sense. In order to submit and love you must deny yourself. Jesus completely denied himself for the sake of his bride; the Church.  This is our hope. Jesus Christ leaving His comfort and stepping down into a broken fallen world inhabited by hopeless sinners so that He could restore them to their Creator. This is the Gospel and this is what Marriage represents. Marriage is a temporary condition with the purpose of giving us a glimpse of the eternal hope that is offered in Jesus. Whether you are married, have been married, want to be married, or don’t want to be married your hope rests completely in what Jesus has done. He alone has loved you the way you long to be loved.