For all these years, I have never understood the purpose of marriage. Aside from sex, children, and as Emily reminded me---a tax break, I cannot comprehend any reason to get married. Sure, God ordained it. I understand that. I know that people need people; I believe we were created to live in community. However, I can have community and relationships without being married.
As I've been learning the true meaning of love, I've come to see the purpose of marriage. It isn't anything deep; it isn't anything I haven't heard before, but suddenly it has clicked in my brain. It now makes sense to me.
As believers and followers of Christ, we are to demonstrate love the way Christ loves us. We are to love people and build relationships with them. However, the only way we can completely demonstrate the committed love that Christ showed to us is through marriage. His commitment to death was the ultimate sacrifice. His commitment demonstrated his love in a way that could not be retracted. He chose to love us and show a deeper commitment than any other action could prove. Suddenly, "Greater love has no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friend" has more depth for me.
So yes, marriage is death. Marriage is the only way we can demonstrate that full commitment to love the way Christ loved. This changes the entire idea of marriage altogether for me. I've always known it's more than just finding someone you like, but as I stated, I've never been able to comprehend the purpose. Now, I see a greater purpose beyond having someone to enjoy, to live with, to love. It is about drawing close to God and Christ the Savior by experiencing and living out the love that He has poured on us in the only way possible for us.
If someday, I am blessed to be married, I pray that I will keep this revelation in my heart continually. It would revolutionize my attitude and my relationship each day because it is no longer about me nor my spouse. It is all about the love that Christ has for us and the responsibility we have to reenact that love through our commitment to this person, regardless of the difficult times.
I am certainly not ready to get married any time soon, if at all. I am afraid of failing at this idea of commitment and love. I cannot succeed on my own. Only by focusing on Jesus Christ and His place in my life will a marriage be successful.