JUNE—the most popular wedding month will be arriving soon and countdown for couples tying the knot are preparing for their countdown to the big day!
Flowers, candles, wedding rings, bridesmaid gowns, barongs, suit, tie, food, cake, and of course, the wedding gown are included in the long checklist of wedding organizers. This is the one big day in the couple’s lives and organizers strive to make everything perfect as possible down to the strands of the bride’s hairstyle. While beautifully prepared weddings are worthy of admiration, how often and much do people really prepare for marriage? Is marriage now synonymous to wedding?
The wedding day is but a door to marriage, an event that preludes marriage. A wedding happens for a few hours but marriage must happen until death parts a couple. As young people, we usually just think of the wedding day (or, wedding night for guys) but not really about the days and years after it. What happens when romance fades?
“Joni & Ken: An Untold Love Story” tells the marriage story of a quadriplegic woman and a son of Japanese immigrants. At 17, Joni suffered in a diving accident that crushed her spinal cord at the fourth and fifth cervical levels leaving her paralyzed. In her early years of disability, the last thing on her mind was marriage, “After all, who would want to marry someone confined to a lifetime in a wheelchair?” she said.
Ken was teaching high school history and coaching football when he met Joni. As they talked with each other, he began to recognize her beautiful heart. They eventually dated each other and later on got married in 1982. Fast forward to three decades later, Joni and Ken continue to be passionately committed and contented in their marriage. Their 30 years together wasn’t all bright and bubbly but it is marked with true love and sacrifice as they depended their marriage relationship on God.
“Marriage only magnifies how hard it is to deal with suffering,” says Joni, which is very true of all marriages. Ken adds, “…we are in a spiritual battle. One thing I would encourage any person, any man, is you got to find someone who you can fight the battle with.”
If you’re planning to get married this June or dreaming to be married someday, this book might give you a better and clearer picture of what marriage is more than what your bridal magazine might say.
The debate for same-sex marriage is rapidly increasing in Western countries and too often, as Asians with generally conservative backgrounds, we are quick to dismiss that such issue will never reach our shores. Our country may not legally recognize same-sex marriage and yet we cannot deny that cohabitation exists among those who are in same-sex relationships. This less than 2-minute video presents why redefining marriage to include gay and lesbian couples will be unhelpful than loving and caring.
Love month is over. That person you really really like and wishes to be with, are you lovers now? Or perhaps became as you were before: Strangers, again?
(Spoiler Alert! Watch short film first before reading)
Whenever we are in the midst of a relationship, we usually are floating with our emotions and we don’t really think of where we’re heading. We often simply drift off and before we know it, we’re at the end of our relationship. And the cycle goes on and on.
But should we really just let our relationships wander aimlessly? Isn’t there supposed to be a direction to all that we’re doing?
“We got engaged. We knew the main purpose of our dating was to determine if we wanted to marry one another. What would have been the point otherwise? So no one asked, “Should we get married?” We knew that we loved one another and we knew that the next step after dating is engagement,” wrote Greg Peters to his students in Biola University.
And next to engagement is getting married. But not all of us know this. We often just assume that our relationship will be carried on by what we feel, that’s why many people jump from one relationship to another ‘hoping’ will come out all right in the end. While there is nothing wrong with hoping, to hope alone is futile. Being in a relationship doesn’t only contain attraction and emotions. If you really love each other, both sides should do their best to work out the relationship and by God’s grace you will both flourish.
Marriage is surely a loaded question for many youth and it is indeed a loaded question. It’s not simply the wedding day but all the days after it for the rest of your lifetime together. When you enter a relationship, there are only two paths as to where it will lead: either you will break up or get married. Strangers again or best friends forever. Which path will your relationship be heading?
Let me guess. If you encountered this question in a restaurant, you’d probably choose chicken. If someone asks you which came first, well, that’s a different story. Believe it or not, it has been a continuous debate for a long time. For now though, let us leave this famous duo on the side and take on a more interesting pair: Marriage or Sex?
So which one comes first? If you happen to be online and visited MSN.com last July, this news headline would have given you a hint:
“Getting naked can lead to the real thing…”**
Oops, a wrong hint.
Yes, a study about love and libidos was conducted by a group of foreign researchers at Concordia University and their findings caught the attention of many readers in the internet. Some raised an eyebrow; others agreed with the results, while we at TLW saw the need to write this blog. Are you ready to hear their findings? Their study says “that the same regions of the brain that control love also control sex — indicating that sexual desire can actually morph into love.” In other words, “Love can grow from lust.” Science found an answer, but it is sending us a wrong message as well.
Love, more than a product of something, is the reason why everything else exists. Before we even knew of hatred, jealousy, and even lust, there was love. We were created out of love, we were born in the image and likeness of love, and we live for love. God is love; He is the beginning and the End. Love, therefore is found in the same place: before everything else and when nothing else is left. So how do we apply this truth in a relationship?
By waiting for marriage before engaging into sex. Sadly, people are being led to believe that sex can be the start of a beautiful relationship. But what if it didn’t? Will you “do it” again with another person until you find the right one who will love you because his or her lustful desires were satisfied? And even if making love for the purpose of finding love did work the first time, do you think sex can provide a strong foundation for a relationship?
Making love is not the seed that grows love; rather, it is the fruit of love. In Genesis, it is written that a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife and they will become one flesh. The man and his wife were both naked and they felt no shame. (ch.2 v.24-25) Wow! That is one magical feeling you wouldn’t want to miss — to make love with the person God made for you – your husband or your wife – and do it with no shame. For the wife’s body does not belong to her alone but also her husband. In the same way, the husband’s body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife. (1 Corinthians 7:3-4).
When done outside marriage, sex is nothing more than just an attempt to satisfy our human desires. And 101% of the time, when we give in to the desires of our flesh, we face major consequences.
If we don’t regard sex as something “exclusive” for marriage, chances are we hurt ourselves emotionally, physically, and even psychologically. By having the wrong conception that physical contact can morph into love or that it is something that just happens (or we make happen) ‘out of fun,’ ‘curiosity,’even out of ‘nothing,’ we put our very own life at risk. Having multiple sexual partners can lead to HIV and AIDS, a deadly disease that God never intended for us. And I’m sure you, too, would never want such risk in your life.
We are too precious in our Creator’s eyes and He wants us to look at ourselves the same way. Each of us is a gem. Our body is His temple. Let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God. (2 Corinthians 7:1) He did not give us rules just to steal all of our fun; He’s called us to holiness, and the rules are for our joy and protection.***
So which one first? Marriage or Sex? The answer now should come easy. In other words, “Chicken!”
I guess I really have to make a decision now. A radical decision that would set the course of my life walking in the light of Jesus Christ.
Being open about the possibility of getting married soon is subtly taking my full attention from Christ and what He has called me to do. I want to live a fully surrendered life to Jesus Christ and a poured out life for others whom God also loves.
My future mate is a potential idol in my heart. Though there’s a part of me that wants to meet my future husband, there’s also a part of me thanking God that I haven’t met him yet.
More than the skills that I should learn to keep a comfortable home for my future family, my heart must be pruned and purified first before I meet my other half. Every time there’s a gathering and I’ve prepared food for our guests, people tell me how they think I am ready for marriage. It’s flattering because I’ve always wanted to be an excellent homemaker and I know that part of taking care of my future family is acquiring the skills necessary for a comfortable and serene home. But there’s more to being married than keeping a home.
Leslie Ludy once said, “Until Jesus Christ is the obsession of your heart, you’ll always be looking to mere men to meet needs that only He can fill. Only when you make Jesus Christ your first love, will you be ready for a love story that reflects His glory. ”
If the Lord will allow me to get married, I want it to be a reflection of His glory. I want people to know about the Lord who wants His children to experience the kind of love the way God designed it to be and not how the world defines it.
If I am more focused on meeting my future mate then my priority is not really God but the guy of my dreams.
Now that the Lord has given me a different responsibility, a responsibility fit for a single woman of my age, is there enough reason not to take it? There’s a bigger picture and a larger population out there who need help and only a few are willing to lay down their lives for them. If it’s the Lord who’s calling me to go out there and pour out my time, energy, and treasure to give life to others, does He deserve a “No”?
“What kind of a God is it who asks everything of us? The same God who ‘did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all; and with this gift how can He fail to lavish upon us all He has to give?’ He gives all. He asks all.” -Elisabeth Elliot
For now, I am giving up on the thought of getting married soon. Instead of following my crushes’ Facebook or listening to “kilig” love songs, I want to spend more time thinking of how I could help change the world through Jesus Christ and act upon it. Facebook, tv or music per se is not a sin, but whatever this world offers us, I have resolved to use it to give life to others.
Today I am single because God doesn’t think I need a husband right now. In His time and in the moment I least expect it, He will reveal who my future mate will be.
Pray with me as I make this radical decision in my life. Not only for my sake but also for those who are inspired with the ministry of True Love Waits Philippines.
God bless you all! 🙂
~ Leslie Grace Vergara, Training Coordinator and Volunteer Specialist