Can we help? with PASTOR & MRS BANDA
Dear Raphael and Namukolo,
I HAVE observed that many enter marriage with great expectations to find happiness, but the majority of marriages seem to end in disappointment. My question is, did God really create marriage to be a source of happiness to human beings? If yes, why then is there so much unhappiness in many marriages? Iwanda.
Your observation is spot on. Many who enter marriage to find happiness end up disillusioned and disappointed and quickly switch to a ‘shipikisha’ mode. What could be the reason? There are many secondary reasons for unhappiness in marriages ranging from poor foundations; difficult personalities; differences arising from financial issues, relatives, sex; having opposing priorities or interests in life, etc.
Yet all these are but secondary reasons for unhappiness in marriage. The primary reason lies elsewhere.
In order to appreciate the primary cause we must answer the question, ‘did God intend marriage to be the ultimate source of happiness for human beings’? If the answer was yes, then those who are single could never experience true happiness. But we know that this is not so as the Bible teaches us that the single person can experience fullness of life in their singleness.
In his article entitled, ‘You don’t need to be married to be happy’, a man by the name of Marshall Segal, a staff writer at desiring God.org, makes the following profound observations on this subject: “You don’t have to get married to be happy. In fact, until we realise that we don’t have to get married to be happy, we’re really not ready to marry.”
One of the greatest hurdles to getting married is our obsession with getting married. We too easily believe the lie that life will never be as good as it could have been if we never get married. The Bible actually says the opposite of that, even though it has many good things to say about marriage.
“To be truly happy in marriage, it cannot be the ultimate source of our happiness.”
The apostle Paul celebrates singleness over marriage: “I wish that all were as I myself am… To the unmarried and the widows I say that it is good for them to remain single, as I am” (1 Corinthians 7:7–8).
Elsewhere, he also celebrates love and marriage as much as anyone in Scripture (Ephesians 5:25–33). But what he wrote about singleness has everything to do with our desires to be married.
Romantic love is a heart terrorist unless it is anchored on higher love.
Jesus warns the not-yet-married, “Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me” (Matthew 10:37). Whoever loves future husband or wife more than me is not worthy of me. “The happier you are in God before you are married, the happier you’ll be with someone else when you get married.”
Don’t recklessly chase marriage for things you will only fully find in God. Fullness of joy is not found at that altar, and pleasures forevermore are not lying in the marriage bed. No, Scripture sings about a higher love and greater joy: “You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore” (Psalms 16:11).
It doesn’t take much at all to start a romantic flame, but it is much harder to sustain it through suffering, disappointment, and conflict. The happiest marriages have storehouses of spiritual oil other marriages have never known. Their love isn’t fuelled by physical attraction or relational chemistry, but by a mutual affection for and devotion to Christ.
The happier you are with God before you’re married, the happier you will be with someone else if and when you’re married.
To find the love your soul longs for, you give your heart first to God, not to a husband or wife. The best way to pursue the marriage you want today is to pursue God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength.
Don’t wait to figure out the source of your happiness until you find a husband or wife. Wait to find a spouse until you’ve figured out the true source of happiness. If we knew just how happy Jesus would make us, we would stop looking so desperately for that happiness in a husband or wife, then we just might be truly happy with that husband or wife one day.”
Matthew 6:33 – But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”
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