There are two questions I ask couples when they are considering engagement and marriage and they are this:
Do you want to become more like _____________ (insert partner’s name)?
Do you want to have and raise a mini _____________ (insert partner’s name)?
I think I’m going to add a third question and that will be – what model of marriage do you want to have?
Unlike the first two questions that are hopefully self-explanatory, question three will need some explaining. 😉
Social psychologist Eli Finkel proposes in his book, The All-or-Nothing Marriage: How the Best Marriages Work that there are two types of marriage: the happiness-based model and the meaning-based model of marriage. Marriages that are happiness based emphasize individual pleasure and pursuit of self-esteem; marriages that are based in meaning pursue self-expression and fulfillment. Though emphasizing different things, their root remains the same: me. What’s in it for me? How much can I get out of this relationship? How much joy, success, and status will this other person bring me?
As much as I appreciate Finkel’s work, I believe he is missing the true essence of marriage: the kingdom-based marriage. In this model, couples pursue and serve each other wholeheartedly while acknowledging they can only be made fully whole and happy in Christ. This kingdom-based model, unlike the happiness and meaning-based models, is all about bringing glory to God as we make the gospel visible on earth by loving each other boldly and bravely.
So with that, friends, what type of marriage do you have? And more importantly, what type of marriage do you want to have?