The Three Levels of Spirituality and Marriage
I have often talked about the comparison between our relationship with our spouse and our relationship with God. It seems to me that both relationships are built in similar ways. We go through three levels to achieve the joy and richness that God desires for us with Him and in our marriage. Today, I’d like to discuss the first level.
Level one is the honeymoon stage. In our marriage relationship, we all know the thrill of falling in love, planning a wedding, and starting a life together. An euphoric high usually accompanies this stage, and we often fail to see the reality of living with another person because of the joy and excitement that encompass us in this early stage of love.
I personally believe that God allows this crazy, “can’t be without you” kind of love so we will take the step to marry. This fairy-tale, live happily-ever-after, want you by my side notion is what initiates the idea of marriage to most people.
Some couples maintain this fiery passion for quite a while, or at least they seem to by putting on a good show for others. Many couples face the realism of man living with woman rather quickly and are jolted out of this honeymoon stage soon after they say “I do.”
Blind love and naivety carry us through this first stage of marriage and also through the first stage of a new relationship with God.
In the honeymoon stage of our spirituality (when we are first saved), new Christians are often referred to as baby Christians. Baby Christians are usually zealous with their love of God. They want to passionately tell everyone of their conversion experience. They spend a lot of time with God, not wanting to be apart from Him. They want to save the world.
In the baby stage of our spirituality, God is always there with us. He shows us miracles and showers us with answers to prayers. He affirms our new relationship with Him by His open attentiveness. We are awed at how He answers our prayers through His word, through other people, and through our experiences. We are madly in love with God and don’t ever want to live without Him. We are usually unaware of the reality of a life dedicated to serving God.
Many Christians give up on God when this initial high diminishes, and they realize the difficulties of dying to their self (much like a marriage relationship where freedom from self is required). Also, like marriage, we are expected to grow and learn from our experiences. This always requires pain and trials to help us move forward.
Those who refuse to mature in their marriage relationship may wind up divorced. Those who refuse to mature in their relationship with God may wind up backsliding to a divorced state from God.
If we want to achieve the ultimate height of relating to God and to our spouse, we must be willing to learn, to grow, and to move on to the next level. No one can maintain a successful relationship with their spouse or with God in the honeymoon stage, although many try. God desires for us to go deeper, on to the next level.
*More to follow about the next level.