ONE of the worst things that can happen to you is to get married to someone seeking fulfilment in marriage. So many people have been brainwashed with the notion that they are incomplete without a husband or a wife. Such people live a life of turmoil when they are single because they are literally dying to get married. Then they live a life of frustration when they are married, because their marriage partner cannot possibly fulfil their expectations.
However, it is God, and not marriage, that provides fulfilment. The psalmist says: “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God.” (Psalm 42:1). This is not just the predicament of the psalmist, it is the predicament of everyman whether we realise or appreciate it or not. “(God) has put a sense of eternity in people’s minds.” (Ecclesiastes 3:11). “He doesn’t play hide-and-seek with us. He’s not remote; he’s near. We live and move in him, can’t get away from him!” (Acts 17:27-28).
No man or woman can provide what God provides. God, and God alone, can fulfil all the relational needs in our lives. So if we seek completeness in anyone, or even anything, outside of God, we are bound to be frustrated. If a man or a woman can provide for us what is the sole prerogative of God, then we would no longer need God. However, God has ensured that no man can replace God in the lives of men.
Falling in love
Christians fall in love, then get married. But our love for our wives or our husbands does not exclude fighting and abusing them. Our love does not exclude beating them up. We pledge for better, for worse; but when things go south we opt for divorce. The problem is that our love is not true love. The love we know and profess is counterfeit: it is not the love of God.
God is love. Therefore, we cannot love unless we know the God who is love. We cannot truly love unless we understand and internalise the love of God. But even many of those of us who know the scriptures don’t know the God of the scriptures.
God must be our first love. It is only from the centre of the love of God that we can negotiate any other love. Before a man can truly love his wife, he has to love God first. Ditto for a wife vis-à-vis her husband. It is from the love that he or she has for God that he or she can then love others. That way, we will love our partners with the genuine love of God and not with the selfish love of men.
Woman at Jacob’s well
A Samaritan woman comes to get water from Jacob’s well, only to find a strange Jewish man (Jesus) sitting there. Even though Jews don’t socialise with Samaritans, and Jewish men don’t talk to women outside of their relatives, Jesus asks her for a drink.
But wait a minute. This is the same well where Abraham’s servant found Rebecca as wife for Isaac. This is the same well where Jacob met his wife Rachel. Therefore, there is surely more to this incident than meets the eye. Close scrutiny indicates Jesus is sending a message here that should not be lost in posterity. Here is Jesus, the bridegroom, sitting by a very special well, waiting to meet his bride.
When he sees her, he makes a request often replicated in wedding engagement ceremonies: the bride is required to give a drink to her groom. The Samaritan woman is clearly baffled by this strange request for a drink by a Jewish man. “Do I know you? Are you talking to me? What have I to do with you? Can’t you get your own bucket? Can’t you draw your own water? How dare you ask me for water to drink?”
Jesus then confounds her all the more. He says to her: “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (John 4:13-14).
When the woman opts for this strange “living water,” Jesus then turns the tables on her by telling her to go and call her husband. The woman replies that she has no husband. Jesus then discloses to her, even though he has never met her before, that she has actually had five husbands, and that the man she is now living with is not even her husband.
Who is the true husband of this Samaritan woman? The answer is simple. Jesus is her true husband. This woman has been seeking in husbands what only Jesus can provide. She has been drinking at the well, but the more she drank, the thirstier she became. Her soul thirsted for God, for the living God. But in her lack of understanding, she has been going from well to well, and from husband to husband.
Only Jesus has the fountain of the water of life. He or she who is married to Jesus, out of his or her belly shall flow rivers of living water. Jesus’ living water perpetually cheers the soul. It does this for better for worse; for richer for poorer; in sickness and in health; in life and in death.
Who are you
Find yourself, before you find your marriage partner. Locate yourself in Christ, before you find yourself a husband or a wife. That way, you bring something to the relationship. Don’t come into a relationship with a shopping list of what you hope to get. Come into a relationship with a clear understanding of what you have to give by the grace of God.
Only Christ can give you your true sense of self-worth. If God can give his only beloved Son for your salvation, then you must be very valuable indeed. Only Christ can meet a Simon and reveal to him that he is actually Peter. Only Christ can meet a despondent Gideon and know that he is a mighty man of valour. Only Christ can meet a Nathaniel and recognise that he is an Israelite indeed.
Therefore, discover yourself first in Christ. Don’t come hoping to discover yourself in your husband, or in your wife. Are you born again? Have you given your life to Jesus? Has it been revealed to you that Jesus is the Son of God? Then you are Peter. And upon the revelation you have received of who Christ is, and who you are in him, Jesus will build your marriage. On that rock he will build your relationships. On that rock he will build your home. And the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
It is not good for man to be alone. Make God your fist love. Love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. (Mark 12:30). Don’t get married unless you are first married to Christ. Don’t get married to anyone who is not married to Christ. Don’t be in any relationship that does not have Christ at its centre.