Warning: This post is more of a rant than anything. But hopefully it will still be beneficial.
As news of my engagement becomes more widely known, I’ve heard many of these lines from older men, usually Christians:
- “Run while you still can.”
- “So you’re about to get the ol’ ball and chain?”
- “You sure you want to do this?”
I know that the men said these in a joking manner, but these comments still raise my blood pressure when I hear them. Here’s why:
First, these sorts of jokes communicate culture’s overall view of marriage, not the Bible’s. In our society, marriage is a necessary evil, a means to an end. The end can range from sexual gratification to financial benefits to the continuation of a family name. These things are not evil in themselves, but they are when used as the primary motivation of marriage. Not only that but marriage is also viewed as the end of one’s freedom. As a single male, I can do practically whatever I desire. But marriage brings confinement. It puts limits on what I can do and who I can be around, or so says our culture. Therefore, these jokes, which are seemingly innocent, only perpetuate culture’s view of marriage.
The Bible, on the other hand, paints a much different picture. Marriage is a gift of God. It is for our good, and the intimacy of holy matrimony points us to Christ’s love for us. Marriage is glorious! Through it, we get a foretaste of what awaits us in the new heavens and earth.
Therefore, we do a grave disservice to God when we speak of marriage, even jokingly, as the world does.
Secondly, is this how the older men are living out Titus 2? This is the wise counsel of an older man to a younger? It’s ridiculous. Give me something I can use. Tell me a piece of advice you wish you had known starting out. If nothing else, pray for me. But whatever you do, don’t tell me to run.
Equally unhelpful would be to tell me that everything will be perfect. I need to be prepared for the struggle which mine and my wife’s sin will bring to the marriage. I need to know how to sacrificially love my wife after a rough day at work.
Give me something besides a punch line.
I’m sure there will be a time when I want to run. Satan will be whispering his clever lies in my ear, and part of me will be nervously eyeing the door, itching for “freedom” once again. In that moment, it’d be nice to have the counsel of a few godly men racing through my mind, not the mental picture of a man saying, “I told ya so.”
I believe far too many Christians have forgotten the true beauty of marriage, and this needs to change. How? Primarily, that will take place through the way we treasure our own marriage. But also, it will change through the way we speak to the younger generation about marriage.
Old men, take this to heart. Next time, save the overused punch line, and give me some wisdom.
Not so old men, let’s also take this to heart. Let’s repent of the way our thoughts of marriage aren’t lining up with Scripture. And let’s be quick to speak of the glorious, difficult, sanctifying, joyous reality that is marriage.