“I Do” Won’t Fill You
“I don’t need you. I hope you see the beauty in that statement. I don’t need you, I need Jesus. But I choose you.”
So went the custom written vows of a groom to his bride. My roommate and I were watching these Jesus peeps’ wedding on Pinterest or something one Friday night when we probably should have been writing papers. I thought everything was beautiful. The wedding was this rustic-log-cabin theme and the city had been snowed white outside. And here the couple was, at the altar, honoring Jesus. I agreed with everything until that statement. It struck me kind of funny. Don’t tell me you don’t need me. Way to kill the moment, dude.
We, as singles, often carry this mentality that we need a spouse or need to be married. It’s unspoken but somewhat implicitly lived. We say, “Come, Lord, come,’ with a little proviso in fine print right behind that- “Just not before I get married!” But the interesting thing about the word “need” is it insinuates lack, incompleteness, and some form of deficiency.
The Scripture says that those who seek the Lord lack no good thing (Psalm 34:10). We have been given the fullness of the Lord in His Spirit, a God Whose richness is unsearchable. We have been endowed with this God and His mercies. Literally speaking, we shouldn’t want for anything. The desire to wed is normal and healthy in appropriate understanding of this one concept: it won’t fill you.
Being married will not make you feel less lonely, prettier, validated, vindicated, or a sense of worth. Another person with the same God-sized longings doesn’t have that to give to you. They don’t have it to give because the truth is you’re a bottomless pit that only God can fill. Only God satisfies. That’s why He promises to, because He can. This, I think, Christians often neglect. People, states of being or living, or status are not what you’re searching for. Just as people with a ton of money often still feel poor or as though they still have to something to prove to others, so a spouse, marriage, a ring, or a person on your arm means nothing to your soul satisfaction. Does that make sense?
So this brother’s statement is beautiful. He has Jesus and knows the great worth of that. He is not claiming Jesus while looking to this woman to be his everything. She is good; he knows that, a very good gift. But she is a partner, a co-laborer, not a provider. She is not a source of manhood or satisfaction or wholeness or even healing. She is help. And not “help” like the supporting actor in this great story, but help as in the flying buttresses that keep 18th century gothic style buildings standing help. Support. Life giving, in-the-nick-of-time help. Help in walking out this faith, this life, raising a generation of people who love Jesus a lot, but she is not a source of identity. Their collective and individual gaze(s) should and must be fixed on Jesus.
People often get in marriage thinking, “I will want no more!” And leave because they starved hoping to feed off of each other and their love. Your desire, your ache is an invitation to Jesus. This desire for a love like Noah and Allie’s (forgive my Notebook reference- it was a Pin), the desire for a cuddle buddy, or deep discussions under the night sky- are partly the fault of too many romantic comedies but they echo a truth. We want deep intimacy and closeness- we were made for it. We are vessels Jesus wants to pour into, and not in a churchy, cliché way. But like two people baring their souls over coffee, showing each other the secret section of their hearts that rarely comes out into the daylight. That is how Jesus wants to be with you. The way you punch that familiar number into your phone when something great or hilarious or hurtful happens- that’s the way Jesus wants to be with you. Begin to redirect your longings to an outlet that satisfies. Isaiah 55: 2 asks, “Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your earnings for what does not satisfy? Hearken diligently to me, and eat what is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness [the profuseness of spiritual joy].” Man, Jesus beckons; He calls you to himself, to seek His face and to know His ways- that’s a relationship worth longing for.
In that place, you can enter marriage loving a person when they’re lovable and when they’re not. How? Because your hope and your identity rests in Jesus. When love changes, kids come, and work makes things difficult, Jesus never changes. He remains the rock that you built your life and marriage on. And He calls you to love as He loves you.