• Hughson T. Ong

Faith and Marriage: After 20 Wonderful Years

Updated: Aug 20, 2018

(Watch our video here.) Music: Wedding Invitation/YouTube Song-Music © 2014 iMusic

Marriage is the very first institution God established in the creation story (Gen.2:22-24). God made Adam and Eve and blessed them to become united as one in marriage. Their union symbolizes the biblical ideal God intended and planned for man and woman. Marriage was created to be beautiful, noble, and pleasurable—God’s gift for humanity.

Today, the practice of marriage has become more complex. In many societies, marriage is no longer confined to the union between man and woman. Separation, divorce, and/or remarriage has become common ground, to the extent that one can choose to quit when they are no longer “happy” (whatever this means). Of course, marital infidelity (Mt.19:8-9) and spousal abuse are obvious exceptions to this discussion.

Contemporary social issues have significantly taken over the idea and ideals of marriage.

We face these issues daily—for example, patriarchy, radical feminism, LGBTQ++, etc.—and reflect upon how we ought to respond to them. Unfortunately, however, our response is often influenced by societal acceptance rather than by biblical principles. The point: the ideals of marriage have been corrupted and have become so complicated that people, including Christians, miss experiencing the spiritual contentment, physical enjoyment, and mental and emotional fulfillment God intended for his creation.

I do not wish to posit any theological or rational arguments, nor do I want to discuss how these contemporary social and political issues affect the institution of marriage. Rather, I will share important lessons I’ve learned after 20 years of being married to my wife. Evelyn and I recently celebrated our twentieth anniversary, and we both are very thankful to God that we have each other as we journey through life today.

These lessons somehow demonstrate God’s wonderful intention and purpose for his creation in marriage.

Time Spent with Your Spouse Is Never Wasted

I used to be a workaholic many years ago. Work occupied my mind wherever I went, even when we went on vacation. I tend to compartmentalize my schedule between seasons of work and leisure time. This tends to happen when people are driven by success and achievements. But when you think about life’s brevity, and what truly matters in life, you realize, and then understand, that after God, your relationship with your spouse is what needs to be prioritized. Each moment spent with him or her becomes a memory you look forward to, and then search for, on your death bed.

Your Spouse Is a Gift from God

We are relational beings. We seek for relationships. Your spouse is God’s gift for you, because he knows that you need him or her for life’s journey—in good times and adversity, in sickness and in health, in plenty and in need. The one who created us already knew who we are, what we’re made of, and what we need. Sometimes, however, people make wrong decisions in marriage because they only think about themselves—their own happiness and satisfaction. But a marriage is a two-way street (Mk.12:31; Phil. 2:3-4).

A Strong Marriage Highlights Your Faith in God

Marriage cannot be boiled down simply to how you “feel” towards your spouse. That’s part of it, but it’s more so about commitment and responsibility. What you “feel” will change based on how you fare on these two areas. Natural human compatibility is probably a myth. Human compatibility is a product of the choices and decision you make to understand another person and empathize with them. How can you say that you love God when you don’t love the one he created and gave you to take care of (cf. 1 Jn. 4:20)—actually, rejecting your spouse is not very dissimilar to rejecting God (huge claim, I know).

A Lasting Marriage Shows that God Is at the Center of Your Marriage

A marriage usually fails when God isn’t at the center of the marriage. There are so many other things that can occupy this spot—money, power, pleasure, security, etc. But God is the author of marriage; he created the matrimonial institution; it was his plan. He knows what would work and what would not work in your marriage. When you start to compare your marriage with others, you’re heading in the wrong direction. A marriage will last when the husband and the wife look up to God for guidance, leadership, repentance, forgiveness, and strength.

It Gets Sweeter through Time

Many people divorce and remarry (and then remarry over and over) because they got “sick and tired” of each other. This need not happen, when you understand that faithfulness and loyalty are the two key ingredients that kindle a marriage relationship. I’d say focus on God’s love and faithfulness and align that with your spousal relationship. You’ll notice that each time you overcome a trial or test, it becomes an instance of spiritual and emotional satisfaction you'll feel towards your spouse. Overcoming a trial or test is a victory, and it gets sweeter with more victories. Eventually, you realize that you are enjoying your marriage every moment of your life.