“Then the LORD God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” (Genesis 2:18 ESV)
Maybe you know the feeling. Your eyes accidentally connect with theirs; your heart skips a beat; the world pauses, and nothing else matters for one moment; you feel those loud soundtracks of excitement and passion singing in your soul as you imagine your lives being forever bound together. Romantic relationships are some of the most exciting things that happen in our lives, but they can also be some of the most devastating. Many people spend wasted years in romantic relationships that only leave them with heartache at the end. Why do we do this over and over?
The main thing that we are searching for in a romantic relationship is to be both fully known and fully loved. We want to absolutely adore the person we are with, but we also want to know them in a genuine way. In the same way, we want someone who will see all of our faults and still accept us and love us unconditionally. Each of us has this desire to be loved and known. We look for it in friendships and family, but mostly in romantic relationships. Most people believe that if they can find that person who fulfills them, they will be happy, satisfied, and completed because they’ve found true love.
Of course, we were never meant to find complete satisfaction in anyone except God, but so many still try to find it in a broken person. We are seeking to be saved by someone other than the Savior, and that will always lead to failure. Often, we put so much of our heart and soul into a dating relationship, only to find that it doesn’t go in the direction we wanted it to.
Even though we will never find complete satisfaction in another person, we can experience some level of fulfillment in the relationship that most mirrors our relationship with God: marriage.
When you’re dating someone, you’re trying to fulfill this desire to be fully known and fully loved in a relationship that doesn’t have any real commitment. As much as you may believe or say that you are committed to the other person, it can end at any time. Because of that fact, you are unable to fully know and fully love or be fully known and fully loved. Solomon warned to “not stir up nor awaken love until it pleases” (Song of Solomon 3:5) because he knew the pain of beginning relationships before the right time.
In marriage, the Lord says to husbands, “Love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her” (Ephesians 5:25). Just as Christ sees all of our faults and sacrificed everything for our good, husbands must do the same for their wives. As a result, wives are called to love and respect their husbands even in their faults. The gospel is the model for marriage.
Christ left the Father to be joined to His bride, the church, and this is the blueprint for marriage. Genesis 2 explains that “a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh” (verse 24). Just as Christ sought us and was united with us, spouses are united to each other. It is in this uniting that we are able to fully know our spouses, which is a picture of Christ and the church—something Paul calls “a great mystery.” This happens by having every aspect of our lives intertwined and being entirely acquainted with every failure, weakness, strength, and triumph we have. But even with this intimate knowledge, a godly marriage that is modeled on the gospel will choose to fully love. It is this commitment to love, no matter what happens, that makes marriage the only place that true fulfillment can occur in romantic relationships.
We want a true love that will last forever. We want to be loved in our faults and love someone in theirs, and that will never happen outside of genuine, deep, lasting commitment. So we should stop wasting time in relationships that will never lead to marriage. And we should do everything to grow in our understanding of the gospel to prepare us for the person we will eventually marry. If we can profoundly know and apply the gospel, we will be ready to enter into marriage, where we can know the love of God in a deeper way through the love of another person.
Search the Scriptures:
- Genesis 2:18
- Ephesians 5:22–33
- Hebrews 13:4
- Matthew 19:6
Questions to Consider:
- If marriage is the goal, when is the right time to start pursuing romantic relationship?
- How is the gospel the model for relationships?
- What does it mean to be fully known and fully loved? Why is marriage the only relationship that will allow this to happen?
- Have you tried to find satisfaction in dating relationships? How has that worked out?
- What can you do to prepare yourself for marriage?