If you are willing to forsake your relationship with God as first and foremost for the sake of a relationship – married or otherwise – your relationship with God is really not that important to you at all. Marriage seems hard enough WITH God as the center. Why would you want to eliminate the Creator, Mediator, and Reconciliator of the entire institution of marriage Himself from the equation? That’s like a five-year-old dismissing its parents from its life like, “I’m good, I think I’ll take it from here *insert thumbs up*.” That’s like taking the Christ out of Christmas (miss me with the pagan holiday rhetoric, you get my point.) That’s like Pleasure P without Pretty Ricky. Where is this coming from? Well my dear, “controversial” (read “messy” lmbo) question-asking friend posed the following on Facebook the other day: “Would you marry someone who has different religious beliefs than you?” My answer:
The reality is, no matter how much we love each other, my husband and I are going to have enough disagreements without the contention of opposing spiritual beliefs. That’s just an aside to the fact that marriage is a covenant created by God for a purpose greater than loving someone, making babies, and having “legal” sex. There was a point in time where I had a more limited view of the purpose of marriage. I – like many others – had the image of falling in love with someone, getting married to them, and having kids. I thought I was REALLY thinking in detail when I started imagining the aspects of living together, house chores, having sex, ummm…making dinner? I don’t know…but those are all menial factors in the grand scheme of things. It was the development of my spirit and relationship with God, and a yearning to really understand what marriage entails, that pointed me to marriage’s truest purpose – kingdom destiny. As I continued to get notifications from the Facebook thread, I noticed that some people’s reasoning was that as long there was love and mutual respect for the other’s religious beliefs, it would all work out just fine. And that led me to saying:
In essence, I was saying why not just put the whole foundation of the institution on the back burner, if not in the trash altogether? Now, me saying this was pretty much my vaguely facetious logic of how a marriage between people with different religious beliefs could work. I’m not saying that every marriage between people of different religious backgrounds is doomed to fail. I’m not saying that marrying someone with the same religious beliefs equals automatic, guaranteed success. What I am saying is, it’s a lot easier to be on the same page with someone when you’re both reading from the same book. So for ME, marrying someone that is not a Christian is not an option. I used to think that the phrase “you complete me” was a complete farce. Two individuals should come into a union as healed, whole, and complete persons, not seeking the other for completion. However, I realized that for those God has called into marriage, their destinies are tied to their spouse. Yes, we all have our unique, individual purposes, but if God has joined us in union with another person, it is because there is something He has called us to that can only be achieved through that bond of togetherness. In an interview with Erica Campbell on Get Up Mornings!, JJ Hairston spoke of some of the hurdles he faced in his marriage to his beautiful wife, Trina Hairston. He said that in the midst of them being separated, God told him: ‘the things you want, you’ll never get without her.’ “We were separated, we were on our way to divorce and eventually, I really believe I had a conversation with God about what I should do with my life and Trina was in the middle of it. Everything revolved around my relationship with my wife, and I believe God told me that if you want favor, she is your favor (Proverbs 18:22),” JJ said in another interview.
Warryn and Erica Campbell have also been very transparent about their sixteen-year marital journey. One of the stories that really sticks out to me is Erica’s account of her wedding day; her uncle kept calling her and Warryn’s marriage a ministry and Erica was like ‘Why does he keep saying that?’ She said that it wasn’t until later on in their marriage that she realized it was very much-so a ministry: “But I understand it now. If I would have looked at our marriage as a ministry, I could have avoided probably the first 4 years of dumb thinking and bringing in negative thoughts…if I had looked at it like ‘I stood before God, I made a commitment before God.'”
Marriage is meant to glorify the Creator; it’s the closest example of Christ’s love for His bride, the church. In Timothy and Kathy Keller’s book The Meaning of Marriage, they write: “Each spouse should see the great thing that Jesus is doing in the life of their mate through the Word, the gospel. Each spouse then should give him- or herself to be a vehicle for that work and envision the day that you will stand together before God, seeing each other presented in spotless beauty and glory…Marriage has the power to set the course of your life as a whole. It has that power because it was instituted by God.” At the end of the day, I say all this to say I want a marriage with a spiritual foundation because I know that it’s not just about me and my fleeting feelings. I know, that like with every other major decision in my life, Christ has to be the center of. There isn’t anything that I have been successful at thus far, that was done in my own strength. I want to be on one accord with my husband spiritually, first and foremost, and I cannot do that by disregarding my relationship with Christ or his hypothetical lack thereof. So as for me and my, OUR house, we shall serve the Lord (Joshua 24:15).