The difference between teen romance and a deeply committed marriage is persevering faithfulness. When you date, you are gauging whether or not you want to remain with that person. When you get married, your only thought is to remain, love, and be faithful no matter what happens. Likewise, to be Christian, you must move past the dating season and fully commit to your marriage with God.
Throughout church history there has been a debate on whether or not one can lose their salvation. The most biblical stance is that once you are truly saved you cannot lose it, but if you reject Christ without repentance it simply means you were never truly saved to begin with (1 John 2:19). Thus the true evidence that someone is saved is their perseverance (Colossians 1:22-23, Romans 11:22).
God made marriage to be a visible representation of his relationship with his church. When we are truly saved, we are joined to God like a husband and wife are joined together. God, therefore, rejects the idea of divorce in earthly marriages because this does not accurately represent the faithfulness he gives and expects in his marriage to his people.
Therefore, we must ask ourselves, are we keeping our marriage vows to God? Traditional Christian vows read as:
I ________, take you ________ to be my lawful wedded spouse, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, according to God’s holy decree, and I pledge my faithfulness as long as we both shall live.
The clear emphasis of these vows is faithfulness no matter what happens. We need never question God’s faithfulness to us, but everyone should always take an honest look at their own faithfulness to God (Hebrews 3:12). For if we find ourselves constantly running from our Spouse whenever something unpleasurable happens, then perhaps we never made our true vows to God in the first place.
Of course we will fail and sin over and over again, but do we come back, showing our faithfulness despite personal failure? Do we run when times are worse, run when times are poorer, run when we are sick, therefore not pledging our faithfulness forever?
We all must ask ourselves if we are the type of person who acts like teenagers dating, hanging around only when times with God are superficial and bubbly, wanting only the quick pleasures without the commitment. Or are we like that faithful old couple who has been married for years, sticking with God through all the peaks and valleys, births and deaths, job promotions and job losses, and all the strife that occur relationally because of our own sinfulness?
An earthly marriage between husband and wife expects nothing less than these basic vows being met. It hopes for more, but it cannot survive with less. Notice there is no promise of perfection in Christian marriage vows, only a promise that their hearts will never be given to anyone other than their spouse. The only reason God allows divorce is when adultery occurs (Matthew 5:31-32). Likewise, the only thing that proves our marriage with God was never real in the first place is when our hearts find another lover and it never returns to God.
May we be faithful as he has been faithful, not falling for a soft version of Christianity that allows for dating God rather than settling down and marrying him forever.