It’s one of my favorite times of the year…21 Days of Prayer. I love this time with the church because it helps me to refocus on God. Every morning we worship God, pray for others individually, then pray corporately around a certain topic.
Yesterday we prayed for marriages, which I think was timely. You see, the night before was the season finale of the Bachelorette. I started with so much excitement and anticipation for Katie to find her husband, but finished the season highly disappointed. As I talked through what I had witnessed with my sister and thought about it on my own, I realized many people are being led astray.
In our culture, we talk about how love is a feeling. We are told to find someone who makes us feel good, that makes us whole or complete, and that will look good next to us. We see examples of true and lasting love (maybe from parents), but it competes with culture’s definition of love. Take, for example, Michael A. He was an amazing father and man, who a few years ago, lost his wife to cancer. Michael A. had found true love before and was hoping to find that with Katie as well. My sister believes that Katie, in theory, wanted the kind of love Michael A. talked about. However, either she didn’t want to or she wasn’t ready for the sacrifice it takes to be in that type of relationship.
Connor was another great guy on the show. However, Katie let him go because she didn’t feel a spark when they kissed. She was looking to confirm her level of love for him and tried to assess it physically. Another man that was shockingly sent home was Andrew S. (who had my heart when he stepped out of that limo and spoke in a British accent). He was so vulnerable with Katie, and they shared plenty of deep conversations, such as the adversities faced by interracial couples. He was literally a great catch and she let him go…the reason I’m still trying to understand.
But I don’t tell you all of this as a means to bash Katie or the Bachelor/Bachelorette series. I’m trying to reveal how we have confused the true meaning of love and marriage, and how we should see them instead. If we are to believe the series (and in essence, culture), then love is superficial and marriage is something that completes us. Love should not be superficial, based on physical attraction and butterflies. Proverbs 31: 30 clearly states that “charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting.” That type of “love” is not lasting, and will certainly not pay the bills. And marriage doesn’t complete us or give us value. It says in Isaiah 53: 5 that “[God] was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed.” This verse alone shows that we are whole outside any relationship we enter into.
I believed my worth was only warranted when when I was in a relationship or was married. I believed I should pick a mate based on whether we would look good in pictures. I believed I should friend-zone guys who I was not physically attracted to. The truth is, we will believe anything until something comes along and changes our mindset. Being at home during this pandemic has given me more time to reflect and learn. During this season, I delved into the Bible and God began helping me to unlearn what I had once believed as truth. And now I feel confident in my value outside of another person.
So when I heard the prayer topic of marriage, I knew I had to pray for people who had also believed the lie culture deceptively fed us. I prayed for us to understand true love; the love that is selfless (John 3:16), and embodies patience and kindness (1 Corinthians 13:4-7). For those struggling in their marriage, I prayed for restoration, love, communication, and grace. And finally, I prayed that God would be the standard we compare everything else to, not the other way around. Because God truly is the best example of love.
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