Why did you get married? Or if you’re not married, why do you desire marriage? What’s the point of it anyway?
Most of us enter marriage with the goal of getting our needs met in some way (at least I certainly did). Hopefully, we also enter marriage with the goal of helping to meet the needs of our spouse, but oftentimes we stop there. If someone were to ask us what our
mission is as a married couple, we might give them a perplexed look and then mumble something about getting our kids through college or making it to our 50th wedding anniversary.
But is there more than that? Is there a bigger purpose than just meeting each others’ needs? Is there a greater mission than staying married and getting kids through college (as important as those things are)?
Francis Chan (you might know his name as the author of a book called Crazy Love, or as a pastor and popular speaker from a church in Simi Valley), together with his wife Lisa, just published a book on this subject of pursuing a mission for your marriage that is bigger than just you. Their book, titled You and Me Forever, came out of a mission trip they went on together to celebrate their 20th anniversary.
My wife and I celebrated our 20th anniversary this year too—not in a poverty-stricken village in Africa (like the Chan’s), but in a comfortable condo in Maui. But we talked about our mission (in fact, we probably did more of that than sightseeing or snorkeling or shopping). We asked God what He wants to do through us together, through the uniqueness of each of our gifts and passions, that will make His name known and help others to walk with Him in His glorious Kingdom. Beginning to get a glimpse of that bigger mission is exciting! It’s a bit scary too, because most likely it won’t lead to a comfortable, affluent, easy life…but that’s OK, because the few years we have on this earth are just a dot on the long “timeline” of eternity, and we’d rather live for the line than for the dot (if you want to hear more on that, talk to Elliott Snuggs—he’s got a great lesson on that!).
So if you haven’t seen it, pick up a copy of the Chan’s book (in fact, purchase several copies and give them away, because 100% of the proceeds from the book sales are going to ministries that care for orphans and exploited women around the world). Or at least watch their short video clips at www.youandmeforever.org.
Then…if you’re married, sit down with your spouse and start praying and talking about something God may be calling you to that is bigger than just yourselves.
…if you’re dating or engaged, think and plan now for how your marriage will count for eternity.
…if you’re single, stop looking for a spouse to meet your needs and start praying for a friend to share your
…even if marriage isn’t in the picture for you, ask God to give you an impossible mission that will make His name famous.
The only marriage that is forever is the marriage between Christ and His Church. So let’s live our lives and focus our marriages on that greater reality. And who knows, maybe you’ll find marriage (or singleness) to be a whole lot more exciting and significant when you’re focused on something bigger than just yourself. As Francis Chan says, “The way to have a great marriage is by not focusing on marriage.”