The Reluctant Idols: Reflections of a Bride-To-Be
I’m getting married in 78 days.
Most of the time, that reality hasn’t fully settled in on me.
If you’d have asked me ten years ago what I hoped my future husband would be like, I would’ve laughed: nobody will want to marry me. Nobody could love this. You’re talking crazy talk!
As my friendship with my fiancé grew, and as our relationship blossomed, one of the things I appreciated most about this guy was that he was growing to love, not just the idea of a wife and a mother for his future household, but me, every awkward, bumbling, sinful bit. It’s the most bizarre thing ever. I gawked in wonder the day he told me he loved me.
And then I never felt lonely or insecure again! The end.
And all of the married women in the house gave that world-weary look and said, “Yeah, right.”
You see, even though I would have told you, growing up, that no one could ever love me and all of my insecurities, I always figured that, if, by some miracle someone did, then I’d never feel insecure or lonely ever again. Because, that’s how it works, right?
Well, that’s what the love songs say.
The truth is a more complicated matter entirely.
There are longings and fulfillments in an insecure, lonely single woman’s heart that are, indeed, sated by the love of a good man. There’s a deep love that reshapes her life, there’s a deep commitment that reorients her priorities. There are all of those amazing Song of Solomon feelings that crescendo into the symphony of marital intimacy.
But there’s still a sinful woman whose heart is prone to idolatry. In the words of Calvin, ““Man’s nature, so to speak, is a perpetual factory of idols.”
And if she’s not careful, there’s a sinful woman who makes her husband just another one of her idols.
The Reluctant Idol
Making an idol out of precious metals is a bit different than making one out of a person. When we stand in front of idols without feelings or voices, we’re doing an exercise in futility, yes. But when these idols come up short of our expectations, they’re not made to feel insecure or inept. Because they can’t feel anything.
The men in our lives?
Little bit different.
When we expect our boyfriends, fiancés, or husbands to eradicate our insecurities, we’re not only placing ourselves in a position of disappointment and disillusionment: we’re also placing them in a position of helplessness and discontent. In asking them to do something they were never meant to do, we’re destroying our bonds and placing ourselves, not Christ, at the center of our relationships. We are worshipping the creature of self rather than the creator (Romans 1:22-23).
The Creator Over the Creature
Singles often equate relationships with the end of a loneliness man alone was never meant to satisfy.
Whenever we feel a pang of heart-longing, we immediately think, “If only someone loved me, this would be better.” “If only I had someone to call, this would be easier.” “If only he would notice me, I’d feel fulfilled.”
In doing so, we’re setting ourselves and our potential significant others up for failure.
The only one who can fully satisfy us is the one who fully satisfied God’s just requirement for us on the Cross. Our deepest longings are meant to be sated only in Christ Jesus. Our most heart-heavy insecurities are only eradicated in the face of his overwhelming beauty and goodness on our behalf.
Again, this is not to say that there are not some aspects of intimacy that may need a bit of work in your particular relationship. Maybe he doesn’t call you enough, or, perhaps, he isn’t prioritizing your time together the way he ought to. Mentioning these things and managing them is all part of growing together.
But if these things are not mentioned and managed in light of the fact that only Christ can fully satisfy, then we don’t have a healthy meter for how dissatisfied we are with a sinful shortcoming, or how dissatisfied we are with the fact that the man isn’t everything that only Christ can be for us.
Any satisfaction we can derive from a relationship is just a reflection of the deeper satisfaction we already have in Christ Jesus.
Marriage will satisfy you completely.
This is true.
But the marriage that satisfies you completely isn’t your fleshly marriage at all, but the marriage that your fleshly marriage points to: the relationship between Christ and his Bride, and his sacrifice on her behalf (Ephesians 5:22ff)
Do not confuse the music with its instrument: marriage is beautiful, sweet, and melodious, but it’s not worth much apart from the foundational and sustaining power of Jesus.
A little while ago, I was talking to a Titus 2 woman in my life about neediness: “How can you make sure you’re not just being overly needy with your husband?” She chuckled, knowing that, in my pride, it’s hard for me to need anyone. “You’re supposed to need your spouse,” she told me. “There’s no shame in it.”
And it was good for me to hear, because I do need to learn that becoming one with another person requires the vulnerability it takes to express sweet, healthy dependence on someone else. She continued, “But, just remember, that sometimes, those pangs you feel point to your ultimate need: Jesus.”
We depend on each other, we need each other, but those needs should always point the focus to the true fulfiller: Jesus.
Take the load off from your man’s shoulders and look to Christ. When your eyes are both pointed towards him, the love you have for one another just draws you deeper in to the love that allows you to enjoy being seen and known and chosen because of His work and in spite of your interference.
Awkwardness, insecurities, sin, and all are sated in the person and work of Jesus.