by Preya Jones

To love and be loved…

Recently, I’ve enjoyed watching romance movies less & less because they make me sad. Not sad because of what I “don’t have” but sad because of their portrayal of what love is. Our society has a way of turning the idea of love into something very selfish and self-focused. There’s absolutely no mention of the creator and author of love (God), there’s only mention of self. 

I have been re-learning the true definition of what love actually is from the One who created it. Who better to learn the true definition then from its creator?? Our generation has a warped view of love. Love is not always a feeling, love does not involve pride, love isn’t always sunshine and rainbows. Think about marriage vows - “For better or worst, richer or poorer, sickness & heath, till death do we part….” How many of us truly think about  the worsts, the sicknesses, & the poor side of marriage? How many of us would rather opt out & start new when challenges arise? 

The Bible mentions many different types of loves; God’s love for us (1 John 3:1, 1 John 4:19), our love for God (Luke 10:27), what God loves (Jeremiah 31:3), our love for one another (1 Peter 4:8, Romans 13:8), the love we experience in a marital covenant (Genesis 2:24, Ephesians 5:25-33) , etc etc. The common theme we can take away from each of these different types of love include the actions of selflessness, steadfastness, sacrifice, and humbleness. 

In my 22 years of being single and not yet married - there’s one major theme that I have learned about the topic of love and marriage. 

  1. Love & Marriage isn’t for the “me.”

          These movies show couples falling in love and getting married because the other individual, “makes me happy” “makes me laugh” “treats me well” etc etc. We want “our person” to aspire after our same goals, to do life the way that we do life, to love Jesus the same way that we love Jesus, etc. Don’t get me wrong, these are definitely good qualities to have in a life long mate, but often times the reasoning behind the desire stems from our own personal selfishness. (I’m guilty of this.) 

Let’s take a look at the Love Chapter - 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a ESV states, “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong doing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.” Take a look back at verse 5 of this passage. Verse 5 states, “It does not insist on its own way...” So often, we fall in love and get married for the “me” and completely overlook the  actual meaning of marriage and love. We’ve taken the focus of marriage off of Jesus and His bride; the church, and we’ve placed it directly on ourselves. 

Spoiler alert - marriage is not about the “me.” In fact, we were never even the focal point of marriage! Marriage is and has always been about God and forms as an example for His love for His people… the church… His bride…

Marriage has two main purposes. 

The first main purpose of marriage is to portray (as best as we humanly can) the relationship that Jesus has to His bride; the church. We’re able to read about God’s relationship with Israel throughout the entire New Testament, but specifically; Hosea. Israel was a nation of the Old Testament whom God loved.. despite their wayward ways. The people of Israel were constantly sinning, constantly seeking out idols, constantly turning away from Christ, etc (Hosea 7:2-16). Yet God continues to love fiercely, continues to whole-heartedly pursue, and continue to call them back home (Hosea 11&14). Friends, THAT is love. And no one loves better than God (John 15:13)… I mean.. c’mon, He IS love (1 John 4:7-21).  Our relationships and marriages should reflect that of steadfastness, selflessness, faithfulness, and genuine love that expects nothing in return. Christ is constantly pursuing us. His faithfulness does not depend on our, at times, faithlessness. 

The second main purpose of marriage is to serve and glorify Jesus better than if we were single — Now I’m not hating on all the single ladies (and men) out there because I currently am one as well and I do truly feel as though the Lord has been able and will continue to use me in mighty ways through my singleness - But if and when the time comes for us to better serve the Lord in ways that’s we could not as a single individual; I believe the Lord will make that clear and he’ll give us the freedom and the excitement that comes along with that! There’s absolutely nothing wrong with being excited for the potential of relationships & marriage - Truly I am so stoked for that - but let’s also be stoked for our singleness too. Because either way - we’re where the Lord want us & because of that alone, there’s reason to have joy & to be excited! 

So be encouraged family! Whether you’re married, whether your’e engaged, whether you’re dating, or whether you’re single - have joy, be excited, he’s got you where he wants you and there’s purpose in that.