A marriage between a man and a woman is a beautiful thing. It is an institution of God from the very beginning: “For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh” (Genesis 1:24). Marriage is something to be enjoyed and delighted in (Proverbs 5:18, Ecclesiastes 9:9). Marriage exemplifies the love that Jesus has for the church (Ephesians 5:22-33). Marriage is good and is to be held in honor among all (Hebrews 13:4).
When the writer of Hebrews says marriage should be honored by all, the all doesn’t mean just married people. All means all people, including single people. Including me. Just because I’m not yet married doesn’t mean that I should not support and value marriage. Because God values marriage, I need to as well since I am His follower.
I’ve had the privilege of being a bridesmaid in six weddings: my three siblings and three close friends. By standing up alongside these dear ones, I was saying that I would support their marriage in the years to come. I wasn’t just saying I was happy for them, but that I would try to help them thrive together.
In the last couple of years, I’ve had a lot of friends get married. With these recent weddings, there are more new marriages that I have the opportunity and responsibility of supporting. It’s a way I can love others and obey Jesus’ command in Matthew 22:37-40. (See the previous posts in this series for more on that).
How can we support marriages?
First, we should pray. Pray for the marriages of those around you to be grounded in Christ and to reflect Him to the world. Pray for those who are not yet married that God will be working in them even now to prepare them for marriage.
Second, we should speak well of marriage. Even for Christian women, it’s easy to start complaining and talking down about men. We see faults or problems or weaknesses in men and feel the need to share them. But don’t fall into that trap. Guard your mouth and determine to not “let any evil talk come out of your mouths. Say only what will help to build others up and meet their needs. Then what you say will help those who listen.” (Ephesians 4:29 NIRV)
And for those of us who are single and perhaps feeling lonely in that singleness, we need to beware of bitterness attempting to creep into our thoughts and our words. Just because we’ve been hurt by a past relationship or by a lack of relationships, that doesn’t give us a right to complain about or bash men. Rather, it should challenge us to pray for them to become men after God’s own heart (Acts 13:22).
Often when a friend gets married, we can be tempted to avoid them because they are now in a different “stage of life.” While her time and availability may change, you can still be her friend after she is married and in that way support her and her husband. I’ve known several of my close friends before they met their husbands and have been able to walk with them through singleness, dating, and now marriage. When they married, our friendship didn’t disappear. I still see them often and share life with them. They enrich my life in part because they have a different perspective and are in different stage of life.
Lastly, we can very practically support marriages by babysitting to allow the parents a date night. Even though all my siblings live in other states, I’ve been able to watch my nephews so their parents can have time alone, whether it’s time for a walk in the woods or to go to a military ball. Are there some kids you could adopt for an evening to bless and support their parents?
And don’t forget to celebrate marriages. When God brings and man and a woman together, it’s a good thing. We should whole-heartedly rejoice and share in their joy. As a single person, it can be hard. But as a follower of Christ, it is an opportunity to love our neighbors and to put self aside.
In this last post on a series about singleness, I want us to remember that marriage is good. It is of great value in God’s sight and He tells us to honor it. Even in our singleness, we need to honor marriage. If we desire a godly marriage in the future, then let us start now to value and honor marriage. The perspectives and attitudes we allow to form in us as single people will stick with us even after we say “I do.” Be sure your attitude reflects that of Jesus who said:“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:37-40