I want to give you a customized Jack&Jil experience. I do hope my letter ministers to you and your relationship.
Dear Jil, about two years ago I came to certain realizations. I realized how potent marriage is, and how powerful love is. It’s right there in scriptures, but you know we like to over-spiritualize things, including basic human emotions. We reinterpret scriptures to fit our cultural worldview. Some of us are even more spiritual than God!
I was very surprised God was interested in boyfriend/girlfriend relationships. I know that doesn’t sound “spiritual”. You know, in those early days of generational evolution of Christian culture on campus, to differentiate Christian relationships from the world Christians refused to use the term “boyfriend/girlfriend”. The people were said to be engaged. I imagine then they were engagee/engagor. This of course created absurdities. How do you get engaged at the age of 16, 17, 18? How do you get engaged without marriage in view? Nobody thought about the consequences of this new sociological terminology. They could not intellectually discern that the problem was not the appellation “boyfriend/girlfriend”. It was what you did in your relationship. And soon “engaged” people were breaking up their “engagement” after university. The boys and girls were exposed to a wider variety of options and more compelling choices. There was so much pain and trauma. The breakages seemed like divorce. These boys and girls hardly knew each other.
One can draw one or two lessons from those experiences:
One, have a fair knowledge of yourself before making a matrimonial commitment to another. Know what you want.
Two, don’t make a marriage commitment to someone you hardly know. That he’s Christian is not enough. The qualification for becoming a Christian isn’t the same as that for marriage. One is a free gift of God, the other requires maturity and effort.
God is interested in every stage of our lives. No desire is hidden from him, including your desire for a boyfriend. The Bible says to “guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life (Prov. 4:23 NLT). The practical reality of this passage is that, that boy toasting you will determine the course of your life. Be careful whom you choose as marriage partner, and take that choice seriously. It’s your destiny we’re talking about. No one goes into marriage and remains the same; it’s impossible. And no one comes out of marriage unaltered. Marriage is a great processor. It will determine the outcome of your life. It’s why you shouldn’t marry an NFA (No Future Ambition). A guy without future ambition is going to ruin your life, limit your future, and snuff out the promise in you. Love cannot suffer from astigmatism. Love cannot be blind. It can choose to wear sunshades but it cannot be blind.
As I studied scriptures I found that relationships are so serious to God they’re contextualized within the commission of Jesus & atonement. Here’s where our religiosity intrudes into our understanding: we can’t imagine that a girl’s broken heart… Or a young man’s broken heart is within the contemplation of scriptures. Yet it is. It doesn’t matter to God how your heart got broken. As long as you have a broken heart God will bind up that wound. That’s what the scriptures say, that God heals all diseases and sicknesses. He heals all grief. And grief is specifically mentioned in the messianic prophecy of atonement. Isaiah 53:4 says Jesus bore our griefs and carried our sorrows. He’s referring to depression as well. The Amplified version says Jesus bore our “griefs, sicknesses, weaknesses, and distresses and carried our sorrows…” Note that there is no plural for the word “grief” yet the Bible says Jesus bore our griefs.
God is emphasizing that there are different types of grief and that the sacrifice of Jesus covers all. If you’ve been sick from heartbreak, if you’ve been disappointed in marriage, God will heal your pain this morning. God cares for you physically, mentally, emotionally and psychologically.
Our suspension of reality in the amplification of ideals of faith is creating problems for our youths. We have created nonhumans through our teachings, men of faith, X-Men, cyborgs and superhumans… Yet we’re still men and women. We need love, we need friendship, we need affection. We need to take another look at our relationship value chain; our philosophy of choice of life partner. You see, by the time the people come for pre-marital counseling the mistake of choice has been made. A relationship is not some synthetic configuration cobbled together by the imprimatur or spiritual fiat of a pastor. A wedding is not the same as a marriage, and a marriage is not the same as a happy marriage. A relationship is two people with feelings, emotions and needs. And happiness matters in marriage. Am I going to be happy in this marriage is a very, very legitimate question.
We don’t pay enough attention to the soulish quantities of marriage. If a man tells you looks don’t matter you better believe that New York is the capital of Sokoto State. Men are moved by physical appearances. Men respond to beautiful looks. And they have templates. Look beautiful. The physical matters to men. It appeals to their ego and vanity. Look, the guy is not God. Only God looks at the heart. The rest of us look at appearances. And if you’re a man and you’re better dressed than your wife something is not right. That’s your glory looking ugly. Friendship is also important in marriage. Marry your friend. Become friends with your spouse. Do the things friends do. Friends go out together, friends spend time together. The Bible calls friendship love of delight and affection – Phileo. Love is important in marriage. You don’t want to be in a loveless marriage. Ask Leah. And then ask Jacob.
Love is that beautiful and marvelous titillation of heart. It is someone caring for you, someone caring about you. Love is customized affection. It is me knowing you and you knowing me and nothing else matters. Without love, marriage becomes utilitarian. It is full of duties and no joy. If anyone tells you romantic notions are the negation of spirituality, ask him if he never read Songs of Solomon. Mushy sentimentalism is desirable. The human soul hungers for it.
Now here’s a revelation men are uncomfortable with: a man can’t do without a woman! Only purposed eunuchs have counter-grace. A man needs female companionship. He’s lonely otherwise. We must distinguish physical loneliness from emotional loneliness. There is something God put inside a woman to ameliorate a man’s emotional loneliness. Intimacy matters to men. It cures emotional loneliness. The problem often is we procure sex to solve intimacy problems. Many affairs come about in pursuit of intimacy, albeit in the wrong places. As a woman you must learn how to minister intimacy to your man. It gives him assurances, and men need assurances. I wish you a loving and successful marriage.
© Leke Alder | firstname.lastname@example.org