Thursday, September 19, 2013

Marriage Isn't Everything.

Y'all know I love marriage. You know I love to talk about it. (Hence the blog name Christian Wife Life). You KNOW I love how it's a beautiful picture of the gospel. And I hope it's obvious that I adore my husband.


BUT...marriage isn't everything.

While one of my biggest goals of this blog is to encourage fellow believers in marriage and talk about the journey of learning to be a godly wife (through grace), that doesn't mean it's the best thing you can do in life. It doesn't mean that your top aspiration as a woman should be marriage and nothing else. Not. At. All.

It's good to talk about those things. It's COMMANDED to talk about those things. (Titus 2:3-5

But the most important goal in life? Whether you're married, single, divorced, widowed, dating, separated, engaged, it's complicated (okay now I'm just listing Facebook relationship statuses)....is to glorify God and make much of Jesus Christ as a redeemed, forgiven, renewed woman covered in grace. 

You, yes YOU, were put on earth RIGHT now for THIS time you are in. It is no mistake, no accident. You are loved, you are made by God, you are given your talents, quirks, qualities, and attributes in a completely unique way. God sent His Son Jesus Christ for us in spite of our brokenness and faults. (Rom. 5:8) We could NEVER be perfect, but Jesus was. We don't have to perform or do a list of good deeds to earn His love or a ticket to heaven. (Titus 3:4-6Eph. 2:8-9) All we have to do is accept His free gift of forgiveness and salvation and follow Him. (Matt. 16:24-26) We get to have a relationship with Him NOW because of this gift! And then spend eternity with God too. Wow. Dwell on this. Remind yourself of it EVERY DAY.

You know what else we don't have to do to please God?
Get married.

I think we (believers) put marriage on a pedestal sometimes. And while it's a good thing - something that can honor God greatly - it's not the end-all be-all of a Christian woman's life.

Single women: There is nothing wrong with you because you're not married! (There are plenty of things wrong with all of us because we're all sinners, but singleness in itself is not one of them.) You can serve and glorify the Lord just as you are. Married women and single women can serve together; we don't have to separate into different groups.

Singleness doesn't equal "a time of waiting". Yes, God does give us times of waiting, but that doesn't mean every single girl is in one right now. These times can be at ANY point in our lives. God is refining and shaping your life through the power of the gospel and the Holy Spirit while you are single OR married.

When you're single, you should focus on loving the Lord with all your heart, mind, and soul. (Matt. 22:37-38) And when you're married you should focus on..... the same thing! That doesn't change! Priorities after that first one may change, but the number one stays the same. 

This brings me to wives and how we look at marriage.

Sometimes I tend to think of marriage as something that is just for my enjoyment. Ahhhh, love, isn't it great? Isn't it beautiful? Isn't it....a huge blow to my ego? Yes. All of the above. Going back to that #1 goal - the glory of God - marriage is no different. Therefore, marriage should happen to make much of Jesus.

I am speaking from my own experience - marriage is sanctifying process. God uses it to refine me, that's for sure. When I look at my husband and think, "Isn't he cute? What can he do for ME? How can he please ME?" I get a huge reality check. Marriage is a prime opportunity to put the second most important goal into practice - loving others. Putting another's needs above my own. (Matt. 22:39) It's not to be taken lightly. 

When I got married, I started noticing things about myself that I hadn't before - I like Ramen noodles too much. I leave dishes in the sink too long. I stay up too late. I procrastinate way too much. I'm SELFISH. I can be a really bad communicator. I can be a horribly whiny girl. I'm messy. (Oh wait, I already knew that one...)

God is using marriage to make me LESS selfish. To challenge me. To point out my brokenness even more and show me my dire need for a Savior. To help me practice self-sacrificing love, forgiveness, service, respect. To show me that although I think my husband is the most amazing man in the world, he's not perfect. He will disappoint me because he's human and a sinner as well. And honestly - learning those things is NOT fun. But I'm not married just for fun. I'm married to glorify God.

You're married to glorify God.

You're single to glorify God.

You're in whatever state you are in currently to glorify God.

THAT is everything.

Ashley

33 comments:

  1. Love this, especially on the almost-eve of my wedding day!

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  2. THANK YOU!!! This is such a wonderfully written post, and I needed to hear it. ALL women need to hear it!! I used to get incredibly frustrated that I'm still single and haven't found the right guy. I still get frustrated from time to time, but I really have been focusing more on the Lord lately and trying to just enjoy my life as God meant for me to, and that makes it enjoyable!! More women need to understand that you aren't defined by someone else, unless that someone else is Jesus. It's not really a "period of waiting" to me, more of a "period of enjoying your life and finding out what makes you happy" :) Thanks again!

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    1. Thank you for the encouragement, pretty girl! That's awesome that you are looking to Jesus, that makes all the difference. (For any and all of us!) One thing that we talked about at the Influence Conference is that we're as woman as we're ever going to be - RIGHT now. :)

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  3. I get married in 9 days, and was just having this conversation with friends. Thank you for sharing, Ashley! :)

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  4. Needed this. Thank you so much for posting this! Your posts are always incredibly encouraging and helpful to read. If I knew you in real life, I would definitely want to have chats with you on a regular basis. :-) Thanks for the reminder that marriage isn't everything, and that being single isn't nothing.

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    1. Teleporting needs to become a thing, for real. I could have all kinds of coffee chats with my blog friends in real life! :) Thanks so much for the encouragement.

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    1. Thank you for your encouragement! Anything good is from the Lord, not me. :)

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  6. I LOVE RAMEN TOO! and i'm whiny. so this was so perfect to read.
    girl i just love ya

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  7. Oh girl, this speaks to my heart so much! It is so easy to start believing the lies that because I'm not married, something is wrong. I know deep down that it's just not true -- but I know Satan uses that as a way for me to become defeated. Your words here are SO true and a great reminder. Thanks girl :)

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    1. I just love you, Erin! Thank you for your sweet words. I'm glad God could use it!

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  8. This is so amazing! You have such an amazing point of view here, I love it! As a wife sometimes I feel like single people try to compare themselves to me and how my life is "so much better than theirs" just because I'm married. I don't want to be defined as just a wife, just like single people aren't defined by their singleness. Gosh I love this!!

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    1. Very true! Love ya, girl! Thanks for the encouragement :)

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  9. thank you for this post Ashley, it is beautiful written and you are right marriage shouldn't be put on a pedestal. it is a wonderful thing, it was created by God to bring Him glory. when i first got married i felt like being married was holding up a mirror looking back at myself and all the things I do wrong and when i was getting frustrated with my husband his little quirks you know leave dirty socks around I had to remind myself he has grievances just as many as I did if not more

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    1. You are absolutely right. The funny thing is, I'M the one who leaves the socks lying around in our relationship, haha. :) Thank you for your kind words, it's all about Him!

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  10. Excellent, excellent post! Marriage is not everything--and it has a purpose much higher than simply being fun!

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    1. If I could like this comment, I so would. :) Agree 100%

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  11. Funny, I was talking with my bestie about how although she's in a relationship and I'm single, we both strive for the same thing, glorifying God. This article was the cherry on top of a great day of fellowship, thanks :)

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    1. I'm so glad! Thank you for sharing. :) I love it when friendships can grow even when you're in different stages of life. You are so right in that glorifying God bonds you together! Love it.

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  12. Beautiful Ashley. Such a blessing! Thanks so much.

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  13. Amazing post - thank you for sharing from your heart.
    This one is going on my "For me" Pinterest board :) :)

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  14. You worth my BIG WOW, Ashley. Thank you. This is awesome.

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    1. Thank you for your kind words! Anything that is good is from the Lord and not myself. :)

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  15. I love this - such a healthy and grounded perspective. He created us to glorify Himself and relationships to help us grow so that we may serve Him better and love each other better along the way -- iron sharpens iron :) Such an easy thing to forget.

    Have you read Tim Keller's book "The Meaning of Marriage"? I think you'd LOVE it.

    Elisabeth
    An Adventure in Finding Balance

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    1. No, I haven't, but I totally should! He is such a great author. You are so right about iron sharpening iron! Thank you for your encouragement. :)

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  16. Lovely write up!! I'm married for almost four years now.. And I can completely relate to what your saying!!

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  17. Thank you Ashley-I am so happy I found this blog! I wish I read this and learned this 8 years ago. We are still married-10 years now, and I am just now learning this-REALLY. We all learned that we must be self-less in marriage when we were single-but thats nothing like when you are now married and living with this wonderful man that God has blessed you with...wow. Lots of bumps and hard times. I thank God for His mercy and grace. Truth to young wives and even the slightly older ones is VITAL.

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