Marriage seems to be falling apart. We live in a society that is just plain confused about marriage. The high divorce rates are an indicator of the many unhealthy marriages and unhealthy homes in our society. Even many Christians have marriages that are seem to be toxic. Within marriages there can be adultery, anger, bitterness, porn addictions, verbal abuse, sexual denial, physical abuse, financial secrets, distrust, and the list can go on and on. Your own marriage might be filled with some of these same problems and issues. If so, you need to get some marriage counseling from a good biblical counselor or pastor. Yet, behind much of the great disharmony in marriages is the root of idolatry. More often then not, a man or woman has turned their spouse into their supreme idol of worship. The heart behind sin is idolatry. Idolatry is when we worship and serve created things rather than the creator God.(Rom 1:25) Although we might not literally bend our knee to these created things, we look for satisfaction, rest, and lasting joy from our idols rather than God. One of the most common idols people worship is romance. We have a passionate, desperate, and idolatrous longing for another human being to satisfy our roaming hearts. Not only does the idol manifest itself in the dating and hook up culture, but even within the sacred walls of marriage.
Marriage as Idolatry
Is your spouse your idol? Some questions to diagnose your heart:
- Does your world revolve around your spouse?
- When they disappoint you are you devastated?
- If they fail you do you go into a full depression?
- Do you place unrealistic expectations on your spouse?
- Do you demand a certain lifestyle and luxuries that your spouse must provide?
- Have you turned your spouse into an object of sexual pleasure? Do you become passive aggressive or bitter when you don't get your way?
Idols have grand promises, but never deliver. Spouse Idols make the same promises. They promise your marriage life will be as romantic as a Nicholas Spark's book or that your wife will be like June Cleaver with dinner on the table when you walk through the door. Idols make grand promises that cannot be delivered. They promise lasting joy with no sorrows and no hardships. Many newlyweds enter into marriage with these idolatrous expectations about their new marital bliss. Often times they live on that fleeting promise that spousal idolatry gives, until they get so frustrated and disappointed they just give up on their marriage and become another divorce statistic.
True Joy in Jesus
True joy and satisfaction cannot be found in your marriage but in Jesus. He delivers on the promises He makes. We must orient our worship towards the right object. We are not to worship creation, but the creator. We are not to worship our spouse but to worship Jesus Christ. In Jesus we receive lasting joy and lasting peace. Jesus as the son of God comes to the world as our savior, delivering us from the penalty of our sin through his death on the cross. As Jesus rose from the grave after three days, he guarantees his offer of life and life abundantly. He offers us life free from the shackles of the slave driver of idolatry. He frees us to find true joy and lasting peace in Him!
You see marriage is an absolutely wonderful thing. Marriage can be a source of incredible joy. God designed it for the good of humanity. Marriage is a great gift of God that pictures the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Yet, sin can distort, twist, and destroy what God has created good. Marriage was not designed to complete us, but was designed for two souls to find their completion together in God.
Marriage as True Worship
Marriage was designed to be something much bigger than just a man and a woman being googly-eyed over one another. Marriage was designed as the foundational vehicle for bringing God glory. A man and woman must not turn inwardly to each other to find their purpose and joy. To turn our attention in our marriage inwardly is a quick path to idolatry. However, when we turn our attention outwardly towards God and his mission, marriage becomes a beautiful partnership of worship. Your marriage isn't about you and it isn't about your spouse, but it is about God and his glory. Your marriage has a purpose, and its not about your needs or getting your way. It is about bringing glory to God together as a couple. As you seek God's glory together as man and wife in worship, you will receive life and life abundantly through Christ.
A marriage focused on God is a marriage that will endure. Rather than seeking to use your spouse to serve your wants, you will serve your spouse so they can flourish in their worship of God. I'm convinced this great change of perspective is essential to developing healthy marriages within the church. When as a couple you are living for God's glory and advancing God's kingdom, it is amazing how much sweeter the intimacy can be with your spouse. As you both grow closer to your God you will find you've grown closer to each other. Together hand in hand you will spend your life fighting through hardships, discipling your children, serving your world, and proclaiming the Gospel all for the glory of God. This is worship and this makes marriage a glorious gift from God.
One of God's greatest gifts to me is my wife Kaitlyn. Not only has she given me so much joy, I'm thankful for my partner in ministry. I'm thankful that we can live our marriage to God's glory, and I praise God that he can take two rough sinners like us and by God's grace sharpen one another for the cause of Christ. Looking forward to as many years as God gives us to serve the Lord together as one.