by Tad Lindley
Marriage is like flies on a screen door; the ones on the outside are trying to get in, and the ones on the inside are trying to get out. – Rev. Harry M. Lewis
Even to the unmarried, the truth is obvious: people are rushing into marriage. And if the statistics are correct, at an almost equal rate, they are rushing out of marriage. There are three stages to marriage: the courtship (falling in love), the wedding, and the life after (depending on the couple, this is an either when they turn their back on love, or work hard at it while it slowly grows).
The courting love to impress
The things a man will do to impress a woman know no bounds. I remember at the age of ten watching my cousin Douglas. He was in love. His fiancé was coming to visit. Douglas was tearing around that kitchen trying to throw a meal together. I have often thought about it with much amusement. It appeared to me like he was as out of place in a kitchen as black ink in the national budget. I just knew when he lit the candles and they set down to the dinner that the chicken was going to be raw inside and they would have to order out.
Before the wedding
Prior to marriage most people put on their best manners. Hair is combed, gallons of hair gel are used, and money is thrown away on various perfumes and colognes. After all, if she showed up early on in a ratty bathrobe, with messed up hair, bags under her eyes, and bad breath; or he showed up belching, sweaty, clearing his throat, and popping his pimples, they’d both run the other way fast.
Both parties go way out of their way to please the other. As they move toward marriage, they imagine how life will be. He envisions her doing all the cooking and housekeeping, changing all the diapers, and giving him back rubs every night. She pictures this handsome superhero of hers gladly missing city league basketball to celebrate her birthdays and the children’s. She daydreams of him as the proud dad taking them to church every service.
Then the wedding happens
Let me sum it up like this. The husband begins to think, “I am spending the rest of my life with her, but city league only happens twice a week…” And the flames of passion dwindle down to a few smoldering cinders.
God is courting us
Yes, the Bible tells us that the Lord is courting humanity. Out of our ranks, there will be an elect group who will be wed to him. The Apostle John saw this in a prophetic vision known as the Revelation. Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.(19:7) The bride-to-be is the church. And God’s desire is that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. (Ephesians 5:27)
The wedding hasn’t happened yet
The wedding of Christ and the Church will happen some time after the coming of the Lord. We are still in the courtship phase of this relationship. As the Lord calls us, and draws us, we must in turn court him.
When a person is in love, and they’ve had a breakfast date Sunday morning they won’t say, “For crying out loud, wasn’t it enough that we got together for breakfast? Now you want to get together for dinner too? And Wednesday night? That’s crazy, you’re suffocating me!” No when two people are in love, they cannot spend enough time together. They will talk on the phone, write letters, read letters, and even travel great distances. They will go on a date when they are sick. They will skip basketball and every other important thing to see their beloved.
As children of the living God, we cannot afford to kick back and act like the wedding has already happened yet. Our command is to find out what pleases God and do it. We should give him our time, our talents, and our substance. This wedding hasn’t happened yet. We need to ask ourselves, “Self, am I acting toward God like the wedding has already happened, or am I fanning the flames of my passion for him?”
Tad Lindley is a minister at the United Pentecostal Church in Bethel, Alaska.