The most common definition of eat is to put food into the mouth; to ingest, chew or swallow. For the sake of my illustration, I want to focus on ingesting. To ingest means to take a substance into the body by swallowing or absorbing. Using this definition, it is clear that food is not the only thing you ingest. Words, images and ideas are all around us and are continuously being ingested. I want to challenge the images you “eat.” Some images are good, some bad, but all influential in some way. When it comes to marriage, what images have shaped your view?
Television is full of marriages. However, most of them are in shambles, on the brink of divorce or ridden with conflict and drama. Is this your idea of what a marriage should be? If so, it’s no wonder many people choose to stay single. One of my favorite shows, Blackish, has for the past two seasons been a refreshing image of strong marriages. The husband and wife are both highly successful in their careers and don’t have the typical drama you find on tv. They have been married for almost 20 years, they have 5 children and work through any disagreements. Recently, the couple in the show had a three episode marital scare. Basically, the couple’s marriage had gone stale. They couldn’t agree on the simplest things involving everything from money, to kids, to home remodeling. The three episodes were remarkably different in seriousness and quite frankly it was uncomfortable to watch. We see the couple argue, separate and finally go through marriage counseling. Fortunately, in the end everything worked out and they got back together. But for this one positive image of marriage, I can think of 4 more that are filled with issues and end in divorce.
Be careful who and what you allow to shape your view of marriage.
No matter how saved, strong and anointed you are, what you see impacts your thinking. You may say this is just entertainment, but media is programming designed to shape the way you think. Same sex relationships, open-marriages, divorced but living as friends with benefits. I feel like I have seen it all and now anything goes.
What does the Word of God say about marriage? This should be your first and final measure of what marriage should be. There are many scriptures that show us God’s design for marriage.
1 Corinthians 7, Ephesians 6 and Genesis 2:22-24 are a few scriptures you should read and know. One of my favorite scriptures is on love. 1 Corinthians 13: 4-8 (NIV) says
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8 Love never fails.
What humbling instruction we have from God on how to handle our spouse at all times. This is a stark contrast from many of the images we see in media. But which image of marriage do you ingest the most? Who do you allow to speak the loudest in your life? I encourage you to follow God’s design for marriage and build your relationship around Him. This will ultimately determine your future, because you are what you eat.