I don’t come from a family of pastors or theologians, nor did I have examples of godly marriages or families while growing up. I thought that what I saw families were like on television growing up was the pinnacle of family life: sitting at the dinner table together every night and playing board games together. A mother who stayed home and baked. A father who worked hard yet engaged, affectionate to his wife and children. As I longed for those things in my own home, I also recognized that television is not real life. Real life was much messier, marriage seemed to be difficult and more of a problem than desirable.
When I truly came to faith in my early 20’s and I began to read scripture, God in His great mercy surrounded me and my then boyfriend (now husband) amidst godly people and godly relationships. I felt hope spring up in my heart! I saw men who served their wives, women who spoke highly of their husbands, genuine happiness, and joy even in the midst of hardships. I did not even know those feelings could coexist. I saw spouses being allies instead of enemies. The words of scripture began to make sense – I had wrestled with Colossians 3:18-19 many times, “Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them.”
Oh, that word “submit” – a true stumbling block for many (me included at one time), but when you understand that you are in the will of God and that He has brought the right person to you to join your life with, being subject to them is just being in obedience and submission to God. In turn, your husband should love you so tenderly that respect and a longing to serve and support each other should overflow. Submission is not always easy, but it is also not always a hard thing to do when you believe in what God is doing in your marriage.
Marriage is extremely beautiful and challenging. Beautiful, because God ordained it. His plan for marriage was to reflect His relationship with the church, a chance to procreate, spread the Gospel, and make disciples. The foundation of society begins with marriage and all things flow from the home. Our culture desperately needs more godly homes. This could be seen as a challenge because we live in a fallen world and we are all flawed.
So, I write to the woman in waiting, to the one who fears marriage, or to the one who does not know if a healthy marriage today is possible. I want to encourage you to trust God, the one who restores and makes all things new. He can redeem, heal past wounds, and bring you a marriage that is greater than you could ever imagine. Hear me as I encourage you that hardship will come, but if you and your partner submit to the Lord and each other, that same hardship will only build your devotion to each other and to the Lord. Marriage is a beautiful mystery that I continue to unravel with my husband, who I recognize as one of God’s greatest gifts to me.
To learn more about Natalie and her family's ministry, head to https://www.chosenpeople.com/toby-and-natalie-mann/ where you can learn more about their platform or follow them on social media here!