As my husband and I approach our nine-month anniversary, I am taking a step back just noticing how different it all is than I expected it. As we were dating and throughout our engagement, we struggled to understand each other and relate to each other; so much of that is natural and easy now. We were given so much advice by so many people that my mind reels to recall it. Most of it I thought, initially, was probably very good advice that we would soon see as valuable; now I am of the opinion that most of it was ridiculous.
So much of this advice revolved around priorities. I was told, “Always put God first.” Then, “Always put your husband first.” And my favorite, “Make sure you’re doing what you want to do.”
So. Married, and examining these well-intentioned words of wisdom, I find that nothing about love is really that complicated in real life, but if you start trying to build a doctrine around it, all sanity goes up in smoke and what is left is a vague, maddening whirlwind of lost furniture. When it comes to priorities in marriage, it’s very easy. There is one priority, and one priority only, and that is us. Our marriage, our relationship, our children, our life and well-being; our family is priority. Both of us have to be willing to sacrifice any and all of our desires or dreams in order to make this lifelong commitment a success.
The whole idea of putting God first in marriage is, in application, rather weird to me. Trying to “put God first” in your relationship with your spouse is causing confusion beyond belief and is totally asking for a fight/split/divorce on the grounds of one or the other not going along with “God’s will”. I won’t go into all of the bad effects of this whole dangerous idea because there are far too many, I’ll just say this: it doesn’t make sense. The priority in marriage is your spouse. Easy. When you stand up there on your wedding day and swear all these things to this one person, you are swearing to put that person first in your life on earth. You are not swearing to God, you are swearing to this man/woman in the sight of God. A man shall leave his father and mother and shall cleave unto his wife and they shall be one flesh… loving her as Christ loved the church. That means a man gives his every last drop of blood for his lady. Everything he does in his every second on earth is for her.
God is not a person on earth and he does not have material needs. Those who go out to “serve God” (and sincerely mean it) actually mean they’re going to serve people. They serve the deceived, the hungry, the parentless, the abused, the cannibals in far off lands, the homeless, the addicted, and so forth. This is what God called us to do.
Peter, do you love me? Feed my sheep.
Love is of God and everyone that loveth is born of God and knoweth God; he that loveth not knoweth not God for God is love.
He that says he loves me but does not care for the poor, the widow and the orphans is a liar… etc etc.
As soon as it becomes about oneself and their “journey with God” as opposed to their journey with people, it becomes little more than an ego-trip. “Ministry” means taking care of those around you and in your sphere of influence. Serving our husband/wife as our number one priority is not against God’s plan for serving people, it is in harmony with it. Once we make that promise to a person, we should do nothing less than put them first in every aspect of our lives.
And so, when I swear before God and man that I am putting this person first above all other people, I mean just exactly that. I mean there is none higher than my lover, my man. All the days of my life on earth I will honor, respect and serve him as my highest priority. God ordained marriage as a union in which “two become one” and he was not kidding.