The gospel radically changes the way that we approach marriage from the way the world approaches it. Through conversations, movies and music we are steeped in a culture that puts marriage rooted in selfishness. For some, the selfishness comes out through looking for “the one” that will make their life change and take away their loneliness. For others, selfishness comes out through waiting until the last possible minute to get married. For them, that means making sure they have made the major milestones in life that are important to them. Often time that includes sleeping around and possibly living with the person for years to make sure the marriage will meet the expectations that you have for the marriage. This rooted in selfish attitude is what leads to so many divorces in our culture and even in the Church. Regardless of what Christians say, the majority of marriages are completely rooted in selfishness. However, when we approach marriage through the lens of the Gospel our entire perspective on marriage changes.
As Jeremy Treat mentions it is often helpful to reflect on Jesus’ prayer. The Lord’s Prayer starts with “Therefore, you should pray like this: Our Father in heaven, your name be honored as holy. Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Matt 6:9-11 CSB). It is much more about God’s will being done on Earth than it is our will being done in Heaven.1 In fact, when our perspective shifts like that it actually allows us to realize that when it comes to marriage it might not be as much about what makes us happy as what makes us holy.2 God’s primary purpose in life and even in marriage is not to give us the best life possible, but to transform us more and more into His image and to make His glory known through the Earth. That requires that sometimes we make sacrifices and that sometimes we love sacrificially and occasionally we must be willing to die to ourself and our desires in order that God can do in us and through us what He wants to do in the world rather than us expecting God to transform the world around us into a paradise. After all, our hope is not in our current circumstances but in our future with God on the New Earth.
Gary Thomas, Sacred Marriage, audio book, 7 hours 43 minutes, August 9, 2016, https://www.amazon.com/Sacred-Marriage-What-Designed-Happy/dp/B01I1XJL3E/ref=tmm_aud_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1498449046&sr=8-1 . ↩