Ideally, children are supposed to be a sign pointing to the health of the marriage. A strong union of love will always create life in a selfless way.
Likewise, God was perfectly happy in communion with himself, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. He had no need within him that caused a desire to create humans. Rather, his desire to create us was because he was so full of love and joy within himself, thus he made others out of love so they too could enjoy him. It was not an emptiness that made him make us, but the fullness within himself.
God’s creation is a testament to his love. So often with humans, however, the good we produce becomes a temptation to neglect those we love, mainly God.
A Testament or Temptation in the Family?
In a perfect situation, a healthy marriage does the same, not having children to make them happy, but rather having children so the two can share their love and stability with others. The children are supposed to be an ongoing legacy testifying to the strength and joy of the marriage.
Everything goes downhill when husband and wife have children and then forget each other. Often times, instead of growing and loving their family out of the love within their marriage, the children become the main thing and the marriage suffers. Ironically, not only does the marriage begin to weaken with every degree the focus turns to the children, but the children suffer too, needing two strong parents far more than they need to be the idol of others.
A Testament or Temptation in the Church?
The earthly marriage bond between man and woman is supposed to reflect the heavenly union between Christ and his church. Therefore, we can see these same principles when our relationship with God creates life. If we are truly growing in Christ and participating in a real love relationship with him, this bond is sure to produce ministries, disciples, the fruits of the Spirit, new churches, growing churches, and so many other good things. Just like children are a living testament to the health of the marriage, the good that comes from our union with Christ is a testament to the health of our heavenly marriage.
However, just as the children can be a threat to the health of the marriage if the original union that created the children in the first place is not protected, so can these good things threaten the health of our union with God if he does not remain the true focus of our lives.
Just as children can become a distraction to the love between husband and wife rather than an opportunity for ministry together, so too can the good fruit God produces through us distract us from him. And, ironically, not only will our union with God suffer, but so too will all the ministries that were birthed through this marriage when the relationship is no longer the center.
Keeping Christ as the Center
Marriage was never supposed to be an ends to a means. But so often the good produced in a marriage becomes a temptation. With every child comes a greater opportunity for distraction from the main point.
Of course the solution is not to abandon the kids or never seek to share our love with others. The solution is to keep everything in its proper place through honest intentionality on our part, empowered by grace. Children were never supposed to become the main thing in marriage, just as ministry was never supposed to become the main thing in our Christianity.
The love relationship with our spouse is what brings us children, and the love relationship with our spouse is the best way to raise healthy children. Likewise, ministries were birthed through valuing above everything else our relationship with God, and ministries will only flourish through continuing to value our union with God above everything else.
Ministries, like children, are supposed to be a living testament to a greater love that birthed them. They are not to take the place of the marriage, but rather be a reflection of those from whom they came.
Raising a child, or developing a ministry, can either make or break your marriage. May we spend the time with our spouse, and more importantly with our Spouse, that we need so the health of our relationship will be reflected in the health of our offspring.
Healthy ministries, just like healthy children, are a sign of a healthy marriage. No matter the good that comes through our love, may we never neglect our First Love.