Keeper of His Home

by Chelsea McCafferty

Do Christians Focus Too Much on Marriage?

I have heard more than a couple times people criticizing some Christians and churches for focusing too much on the God-given and God-designed union of marriage. I’ve heard people make statements like, “oh it’s all about marriage at that church” or “they elevate marriage too much.” I wanted to address the issue of why marriage is an important topic to discuss, but first I’d like to talk about why there are people who seem to be offended by too much marriage talk.

People like myself, who feel called to the ministry of marriage, may sometimes struggle with being understanding of a person who seems almost anti-marriage. The truth in most cases is those who have a hard time with a church or a group focusing a lot on marriage  are usually people who are single, widowed or in a lonely, struggling marriage. It’s important that instead of getting frustrated, we understand that these ladies are going through pain. Perhaps hearing about marriage all of the time and seeing married couples always clinging to each other causes them to long even more for that relationship. Perhaps it makes them mourn for a lost love. Even worse, it reminds them that they feel trapped in an unloving marriage. Sometimes there is a problem with the church not meeting the needs of ALL the members. The singles and widows need focus too. They need ministry and opportunities to serve too.

I think I understand their perspective more so being a woman who has struggled with infertility. While children are such a blessing, and I was always happy for a sister in the Lord who had a baby, there was also such hurt and longing in me that it was sometimes difficult to be around pregnant women or people with babies. It was hard to see the children being such a focus when I couldn’t have any. I’m so grateful now for my precious little girl –  a gift straight from God! I do, however, see how a single person or widow would feel neglected and hurt by a church family that focused all its attention on marriage.

That being said, while I feel we should not neglect or ignore anyone, there is an important place for marriage. Here are some reasons why marriage is an extremely important issue to focus on:

1. Marriage is Gift from God: God focuses a lot on relationships in the Bible, and He speaks a great deal on the topic of marriage. He created marriage in the book of Genesis and He make it sacred. He made it to be a lifelong covenant, and in Malachi 2 we see that God hates the act of divorcing. When Jesus is asked about divorce in Matthew 19:8, He said that divorce was allowed because of the hardening of hearts, but from the beginning it was not so. God never wanted divorce. That’s why marriage vows typically say “til death do we part”, and yet to some 41-44% of couples who marry today, those are just empty words.

2. Christian marriage produces godly offspring: In talking about marriage Malachi said, “But did He not make them one, Having a remnant of the Spirit? And why one? He seeks godly offspring.” Malachi 2:15a. Christian marriage is important to the youth of this generation. According to the US Census Bureau, grown children of happily married parents are about 14% less likely to divorce their own spouse. Of all children, close to half will witness the end of their parents’ marriage and, of those kids, half of them will witness the end of a parent’s second marriage as well. According to an article by the Huffington post, children of divorce are seven times more likely to suffer from depression. Also, of all the adolescents in substance rehabilitation clinics, some 75% are from single-parent homes. Similar statistics are true for prison. Marriage is important because a godly marriage is good for children.

3. Marriage is a reflection of our relationship with God: Ephesians 5 and other parts of scripture show us that earthly marriage is a reflection of the relationship of Christ and the church. We are the bride and He is the Bridegroom. “Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls filled with the seven last plagues came to me and talked with me, saying, “Come, I will show you the bride, the Lamb’s wife.” Revelation 21:9

4. A godly marriage is a requirement for church leadership, elders/pastors and deacons. (Titus 1:6, 1 Tim 3:2, 1 Tim 3:12). A man whose home in not in order should not be serving in church leadership until he puts things right. That means a wife who is not living her life according to God’s statutes can disqualify her husband from leadership by her conduct. Does this mean that a man has to be married to serve? We don’t know if the emphasis of the verses in on the “one” wife or “husband”. In other words, is it important that he’s married, or just that he only has one as opposed to many? Well, God said that it wasn’t good for man to be alone and he needed a helper. On the other hand, Paul said that some are called to singleness. So, the answer is: I don’t know. What we do know for certain is that if a man is married, and he wants to serve in ministry, he should have his home in order.

5. Sex: That’s right! “Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.” 1 Corinthians 7:2 According to God’s Word, sexual intimacy is only good and right inside the union of marriage. Today more and more couples choose to live together and put off getting married. They are living in sexual sin because marriage has lost its place of importance to much of the younger generation. Today people are shocked when two virgins in their twenties get married. It’s rare for people to hold onto their purity. So it’s important to focus on marriage and to teach the young people that sex is only okay inside marriage.

There are many more reasons that marriage is an important topic, but this is quite a long blog already. While we need to be careful not to exclude singles and our widows, we also need to focus even more on the union of marriage. We know that it’s important to God, so it should be important to us too.

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Part 7 – Love Does not Seek Its Own, The Loving Homekeeper Series

“…love does not seek its own..” 1 Corinthians 13:5

What does it mean to “seek ones own” in terms of love? It’s an interesting phrase and also interesting that most of the various translations have it the same way. Some add that love does not “seek its own things” and another shortens it to being “self-seeking”. The NLT says love “does not demand its own way”. When it comes down to it, what the Lord is basically saying is that His kind of love—the real kind—is not selfish, self-seeking, self-focused and self-pleasing. Self, self, self!

It’s not difficult at all to get caught up in self in the world we live in today. Every magazine, therapist and politician we see and hear proclaim that we need to take care of ourselves first and foremost. I cringe to think of a Christian sister going to the world for counsel because she will be bombarded with messages of self-love, self-focus and self-gratification. She is told that she needs to care for herself first before looking to meet anyone else’s needs. She will be told to search within herself for the answers instead of searching out the Word of God and His heart. She is told to neglect her family in order to seek out her own way in life. She is told if she doesn’t like her husband she should leave and follow her dreams. Who cares about her husband and children? They can take care of themselves, right?

I think that most of the reasons people have for getting divorced today boils down to this very important point—this point which has been lost in a social sea of self-seeking corruption. It all comes down to seeking one’s own instead of others. Love does not seek its own. If more people understood this there would be so fewer divorces and strained marriages. Love does not seek its own! Its so simple and yet so corrupted by the wickedness of this world!

Sisters, do not be deceived. God has not called us to be self-seekers but self-sacrificers! God has not called us to be self-gratifiers but selfless servants. God has not called us to be self-focused but to be self-abandoners so that we may truly be lovers of the hearts of our husbands, children, family and friends. We were not created to be selfish beings. We don’t need more self-esteem, we need more God-esteem. We need to take our eyes off of ourselves and put them directly on Jesus Christ.

I have known many women who have suffered with depression and anxiety. I myself battled with it at times in my life and I can tell you from experience that those times when I have been most depressed and most anxious were the same times that I was taking my eyes off of the Lord and putting them on my self. Self-focus causes sin. It causes pride, bitterness, self-love, arrogance, depression, anxiety, self-harm—the truth is it is toxic to the heart of a believer. We need to stop looking at the mirror and start looking to the sky and to our Creator for fulfillment, happiness, joy and love. He is the source. There is nothing good within us and everything good in Him.

Love does not seek its own. Love does not seek itself or demand its own way. Love is giving. Love is selfless. Love is self-sacrificing and humble. Oh Lord, let us keep our eyes fixed firmly on You and let us abandon ourselves so that we can be perfected in Your love!

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