Marriage is for Mission
Let me get straight to the point. The next step for someone single is not to get married. In fact, you might be able to accomplish more single for God than you are able to accomplish as a married man or woman. I never want to imply that you must be married to be complete or fruitful or effective. That would not be right.
But if you do want to pursue marriage someday (and if God grants that desire) remember this:
Marriage is for mission.
Marriage is something God designed. God describes marriage as a gift to be enjoyed. But it’s also a tool he uses to fuel your faith in him. If you’re wondering what exactly God wants to accomplish through this unbreakable covenantal bond, there are at least 4 missions:
1. To provide a living parable of the love Jesus has for his church. A husband is called to lead his wife through humble, selfless service. His life revolves around serving and sacrificing for her flourishing in God. And the wife is to submit to her husband’s leadership gladly and joyfully as he follows God. This love is a real-life portrait to the world how Jesus loves his church and how the church follows Jesus. (Ephesians 5:21-33)
2. To give you a partner that will help you fight sin in your life. You can think of your spouse like a sparring partner – someone who will challenge you, sharpen you, and strengthen you – all with the goal of growing in godliness.
3. To give you a life-long teammate to advance God’s kingdom. Right now, this side of eternity, we are on enemy soil. And a spouse is a fellow soldier that helps you keep your focus on heaven and works with you to bring hope to those dying spiritually.
4. To reproduce (as God sees fit) and to teach your children how to follow him with a bold faith (Malachi 2:15).
You’ll notice #2 and #3 don’t have a single verse. That’s because the entire New Testament speaks of relationships in this way – not just the spousal relationship. The relationships that hold the greatest influence over us should work for us in those ways. But no relationship will have greater influence than that of your spouse.
As you pursue dating, don’t look for a good guy. Look for a godly man or a godly woman. And when you become interested in someone, be careful to ask: can they help you accomplish the missions that marriage is designed for? Will they be the kind of husband or wife that will love you selflessly and sacrificially with this parable in mind? Will they want to live out this picture with you? Will they be the kind of partner that makes their primary aim helping you grow in godliness? Will they be the kind of partner that will take notice of your gifts and passions and take inventory of their own and use them all in service of seeing God’s kingdom advance? Will they be the kind of father or mother that will teach your children how to follow God no matter what the cost?