Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Love and Marriage (not for me, in general)

Prayerfully, quite soon I will have internet in my apartment. And when I do, you are in for a treat, dear reader. Because I have a lot of ideas and stories to tell. But for now, I was asked this question in an email by a dear, trusted mentor of mine. "Why is marriage (or some kind of relationship with the opposite sex) the main theme of music , literature , and movies, yet so little Scripture focuses on this....Scripture talks about what we need to give instead of utopian dreams of what we are going to get. What is it that Scripture does talk more about ? What should our priorities really be??" ... So this is my response to this... enjoy and respond with your own ideas.

I have had the chance to think (very briefly and writing this blog is a way of me processing through this) about marriage, priorities, and what the Bible says about all this. I think that music, literature, and movies all hit on this theme of marriage because a lost (and found) world is looking for love. The closest example that we can come up with of love (and don't tell me Jesus didn't talk A LOT about love) is marriage or sacrifice. If a movie doesn't hit on marriage (or often the case, simply sex and "commitment"), it often has the main character make a sacrifice.

Scripture is a story of redemptive love, of a God redeeming us from our fallen state and uniting in a relationship with us… perhaps there is something redemptive about marriage. About taking two individuals whose first care is themselves and having them make a commitment to caring about someone else more than themselves. A little redemption is often found in self-sacrifice. Perhaps this is part of the reason Christ refers to the church as his bride. He showed the ultimate in love of putting us above himself… "for the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and give his life as a ransom for many."

As a single guy, all too often I hope that love will be found in a relationship with a girl/marriage. I think there is some truth to the cliché saying that "you will find her when you least expect it, when you stop looking." If I stop looking for love in the arms of a girl and start finding the love I need where it can only be found, in the arms of Jesus, then I can begin to understand true love. Instead of a love that is a roller coaster ride because we humans are fallible, I can find a constant love in a constant God.

Do I think that scripture talks more about what we need to give instead of utopian dreams of what we are going to get? Yes. But for Mr. A and other married couples, they probably understand that marriage and love is about what we can give, not what we get. Yes, getting figures into the equation and we are always excited to get, probably more often than we are to serve. But the more that we learn about serving and the more like Christ we become, the more of a joy it is to give. Our priorities should be in learning to love like Christ… I think that marriage is often a byproduct of learning to love… and through marriage we often learn to love more.


Kevin said...

It's funny how Christians proclaim that they are saved by Jesus, and Jesus is the only answer, and Jesus fills the hole in their heart and Jesus..

We can write off all the ism's as being insufficient to "fill the God-shaped hole in allllll of us" but then we still think that in marriage we will find pure satisfaction. It's ironic that we look to marriage to cure our unquenchable longing, and that Christ uses the metaphor of marriage to describe his relationship with us. We place our faith and hope in the symbol, not what it actually represents: the Lord.

It's so easy to envision that crisp green grass on the other side of the hill. It looks so pretty, it feels so great underneath my feet. It smells so clean and full of life...ahhhh if only this brown and crunchy grass under me now were like that, then I'd....

I think that this is one of the greatest tools the ultimate deceiver uses to pull us away from our divine purpose. We attach attainable, tangible experiences, to our biblical vision and goal of heaven. So we consistently think that "oooo I could just give more money if I were to get a promotion...." or "if I only had a beautiful wife to make babies with I could...." or "if I only had fellowship then...." all these if's are what this sneaky deceiver uses to cloud our vision of God's glorious reality here on Earth: Heaven.

And that takes me back to marriage. The one commonly acceptable pill to cure our insatiable longing to be with Christ - a lovely spouse. I find that I must let go of this dream, of this desire, and turn my attention to the Lord, and trust Him to deliver me.

These thoughts and feelings were shaped by one of my favorite books, The Holy Longing by Ronald Rohlheiser. I highly recommend it to everyone.

Keep the Faith over there!

And if you ever need some teaching on what us crazy Catholics believe, feel free to holler at me. I hear there are few of us in Rome...


Jimmy said...

That's encouraging Chris!

Jimmy said...

That's encouraging Chris! I definitely tend to get distracted by the "grass is greener" feeling as well, instead of trying to be totally fulfilled by Christ, which is what I need to learn how to do.