Proverbs 29:18 says: “Where there is no vision, the people cast off restraint…” Another translation says: “Where there is no vision the people wander aimlessly.” When we consider the truth of this verse, we see the vital importance of vision in marriage. If we do not have vision in our marriage, we will be susceptible to either “casting off the restraint” of our marriage covenant or else “wandering aimlessly” through our marriage.
I want to suggest to you that I see at least three potential visions that we can have for our marriage. I believe that all three of these are important ingredients in order to have the fullness God desires for us.
When Mike and I were in Bible school, and not yet married, we had an instructor who taught that marriage is being “harnessed together for the kingdom of God.” This statement inspired the both of us. The first vision I want to mention is the sense of calling or destiny that the Lord places on each marriage. Some couples marry with a vision to go into ministry, begin a business, adopt children, or any other number of things, seemingly large or small. Some learn what this vision is during courtship, others, not until after they marry. Still others may have been married for a season and not yet recognize that they have been “harnessed together for His kingdom.”
If you have not yet discovered God’s unique vision for your marriage, I encourage you to ask yourselves: “What is it that the Lord has called us to do together?” Make it a matter of prayer. Recognizing that He has a unique destiny for our marriage energizes us and helps to solidify purpose and commitment to each other. Also, it is a joy to be flowing in what God has marked us for.
Secondly, we need a vision for longevity in our marriage. It is important to recognize how we view marriage. Do we have a God-centered view or a man-centered view? Being a Christian married to a Christian will not automatically mean that our marriage will be a God-centered one.
The culture we live in teaches us a selfish, man-centered, view of marriage. We have lived in this culture since birth therefore it has undoubtedly affected our thinking concerning many things, marriage included. When we came into His kingdom culture, we needed a “renewing of our mind” in so many areas. We most certainly need to rid ourselves of any of this culture’s attitudes and lies concerning marriage and have a godly perspective.
For this reason it is important to stop and examine our hearts on the subject of marriage. Whichever view we have will determine our beliefs toward permanency in marriage. The man-centered view will cause us to maintain our marriage as long as our expectations are met. The God-centered view will cause us to take seriously the covenant we made before Him on our wedding day. This view recognizes that, by His grace, He may be glorified in the midst of the challenges we face.
As vital and important as these two visions are, I want to suggest that we also need a third vision for our marriage. Recently the Lord spoke a phrase to me: “Marriage is not eternal, but its fruit is.” My heart felt real excitement as I heard these words because it was one of those moments where something that I knew in my head began to move to my heart. As I considered this phrase, I also had to remind myself that fruit can be both positive and negative.
Personally, I want to be alert to this. How I live my life in and through my marriage will affect the quality of my eternity.
I want to draw our attention to 1 Cor 3:14 -15 “If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.”
This is an intense reality!
What you and I build on the foundation of Christ in our lives will result either in reward or loss for ALL ETERNITY! Living in light of eternity will impact the choices that we make from day to day. It’s hard to wrap our minds around the fact that the percentage of time we spend here on earth is infinitesimal compared to the time we will spend then. Therefore, it makes sense to allow eternity to impact us now.
We have two choices in marriage, as in all of life. We can choose to go our way, or God’s way. We experience the fruit of our choices in this life, and the impact of this fruit, whether positive or negative, will follow us into eternity. My prayer for each of our marriages is that we have vision for this life and for the next. Living out vision in our marriage can cause us to experience the joy of rewards, both temporal and eternal that follow a life lived “harnessed together for the Kingdom of God.”