Before I begin writing this, I was rationalizing in my mind, how one could determine the spouses God had predestined for us. However, as I ventured deeper in meditation, it dawned on me that we will never understand predestination if we do not understand eternity and the power of God. This led me to consider eternity as a starting point of marriage. Do we know who we are in the eyes of God? Answering this will determine our respective calling and whether or not God has predestined spouses for us. Going deeper, we will be able to tell exactly who God has predestined for us — down to the specifics like one’s interests, passion, and heart.
This was where I begin meditating on the topic of eternity, focusing my attention on Jesus’ rebuttal to the Pharisees about marriage and the resurrection.
“But Jesus answered them, “You are wrong because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God. For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven.”
— Matthew 22:29-30, ESV.
If I’m interpreting the scriptures correctly, Godly marriages appear to be solely the doing of God, not us. If this is so, why then are we concerned whether or not the one we are dating is “The One”? Why then do we add pressure to our peers if they’re single or unmarried? Why then, do we retreat from single brothers and sisters in Christ when they’re struggling in their singlehood and unable to find a partner? Why aren’t we helping each other within the church on the topic of marriage and accountability? Why aren’t we stopping fellow brothers and sisters in Christ who are marrying outside the Christian circle?
You see, we all know this verse, “What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” (Matthew 19:6, Mark 10:9, ESV). We can even recite it by heart. But do we really know what this meant?
If God is the one who joins people together in marriages, why are we, as the church, acting as if it is our doing? Why are we pressuring our younger generation by constantly prompting them, “Why haven’t you found a date?” Or, “When are you getting married?” Or, “Sorry to hear you’re still single, maybe God had called you to singlehood.”
For those who are attached and are in a struggling marriage/relationship, why are we counselling one another with, “Oh he’s a jerk, you deserve better,” or, “You don’t deserve her,” or, “I doubt you two belong together”?
Why can’t we acknowledge God’s doing in all of this? Why can’t we acknowledge our struggles within the church? Why can’t we render help to the struggling, and accountability to those who are married? Don’t we, as a church, know that if we stop doing this, sin will creep in?
Consider this. Corruption increases on earth along with human-centred marriages. We see them here in Genesis 6.
“When man began to multiply on the face of the land and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw that the daughters of man were attractive. And they took as their wives any they chose. The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.”
— Genesis 6:1-2, 5, ESV.
If we enter a marriage just because the other party is attractive, and we never sought God nor the church, then corruption and unchecked sins will seep into our lives. Marriages are bound to fail without God… And we all know that.
This is why Jesus quoted the story of Noah when He taught His disciples about His second coming.
Pay close attention to the sins listed here:
“For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.”
— Matthew 24:38-39, ESV.
If I’m reading this right, then I must conclude that marriage shouldn’t be decided by oneself. In fact, it should be a communal decision — a church’s decision; God’s decision. After all, the church represents Christ. The church is the Body of Christ and we are members of His Body. And if one felt the need to be married, this need ought to be met through the approval of the church.
I debated in my mind why was ancient Israel so particular about marriages. Sure, it’s about continuing God’s blessings and the continuation of the inheritance down the family line. But considering marriage as a communal concern? Now that’s new. Look at this:
Then the elders of the congregation said, “What shall we do for wives for those who are left since the women are destroyed out of Benjamin?”
— Judges 21:16, ESV.
If God gives us spouses, God will do it through the church. If we do not have spouses, the church needs to do something for us too! And if God gives us spouses, the spouses too must belong to the Lord (ref: 1 Corinthians 7:39, ESV). After all, if the church is God’s mouthpiece to the world (ref: Ephesians 3:10, ESV), how much more will God teach and guide us within the church?
So, have we gotten the entire notion of marriage wrong? Do we decide who should we date or marry by ourselves? Or do we consult the body of Christ? Are we being our own God in our families or are we letting God be the Lord of our household? Do we, as a church, consult God for the marriages of our members? Do we, as a church, stand together to guard the families of our members? Do we, as a church, let God be God of our lives?
God forgive us.