followthered asked a question:
Hey friend, I was discussing with my girlfriend the purpose of “biblical” marriage, so I thought I’d ask for your thoughts, since you released a book on dating and will be married in less than a month! Specifically, how important are feelings? #thank
About feelings: I do believe they’re important, but we’re not obligated to chase our feelings all the time. There’s some lie in culture that says whenever we feel something, we need to immediately chase the rabbit to see where it goes. But relationships are not whipped up out of feelings; they need be sustained by something truer, deeper. Emotions are a great fuel and even a great reason, but they cannot be the sustenance nor the final purpose. As C.S Lewis says, “Love is not affectionate feeling, but but a steady wish for the loved person’s ultimate good as far as it can be obtained.”
About marriage: While I won’t be married for another three weeks (which I’m super-pumped and ready for), allow me to share something one of my seminary professors said.
Dr. Paul Enns was married for forty-five years and never argued with his wife Helen once. Several years ago, he found his wife on the kitchen floor, face down and cold. The paramedics couldn’t revive her. I remember Dr. Enns in my classes, constantly telling stories about his wife, tearing up every single time. We wept, too. He told a story about a time he and his friend were at a restaurant and saw a woman with her friends, having a last meal with her bridesmaids before the wedding. Somehow Dr. Enns came to talk with this young lady and her friends, and she asked him, “What was your secret? What’s marriage supposed to be?”
Without hesitation, Dr. Enns said, “I had a forty-five year honeymoon with my wife Helen. She is home now. Looking back, it’s simple. Love your God, live for God. Love your spouse, live for your spouse. That’s the secret, that’s the purpose.” And the table just wept like babies.
I think we tend to complicate the idea of marriage with tons of practical habits and sweeping epic one-liners, and while these are helpful, I think it’s simple. Ephesians 5 says marriage is a reflection of the Gospel, in that marriage looks a lot like faith. The adventure of romance is just a glimpse of our love with God in Heaven. Looking back in hindsight, I want to be able to say, I loved her, I lived for her. I loved my God, I lived for God. I don’t want to say anything else on my deathbed. I hope to live every day this way, however imperfectly, by His grace.
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