12 Voices: The Kingdom Kees of MARRIAGE: Falling in love with a complete stranger

It’s interesting that we began to write about the stranger things of marriage even as Kenya Barris is now exploring the complexity of marriage on “‘black-ish.”  Over the past few weeks, we’ve been left speculating whether or not Dre and Bow are going to pull through as they struggle to find their center amidst the cares of this world, which the Bible says will certainly “choke the life” out of a person (along with the deceitfulness of riches; see Mark 4:19).  Specifically, though – the Bible says that what these worldly desires accomplish is this:  they “choke out the WORD of God” from those who would receive it.  For proper perspective, Jesus (the Word of God) declared that HE (John 14:6) is the truth and the LIFE.
As such, marriage MIGHT survive with religion but only marriages with Christ at the center can THRIVE.  I was reading Romans 7 recently and became convinced that marriage is the premier covenant of our Supreme Maker’s ultimate strategy to deliver us 1) from sinful relations and 2) into the righteousness of God through Christ.  To skirt the latter completely undermines the entire point of marriage.  Two becoming one flesh in marriage is the method which Jesus brings us a.k.a the Church a.k.a the Bride of Christ out of our covenant to sin and death.  Once He died to sin, those bonded with Him are dead to sin, as well.  Once He resurrected, those in His covenant can partake in eternal life as well.
In that, I greatly love my wife because of the way in which she has led, walked with and followed me in the greater narrative of our marriage in and to Christ.  So even as we die daily to our two-shall-become-one flesh, we are being renewed in the spirit of the greatest covenant on earth… no matter how strange we become to one another or to whom we once were in the process!
Although my husband and I have been married for nearly 14 years and have known each other for over 20 years, we still look at each other from time to time and think “Who are you right now?”  It could be something that he said or a decision that I made that causes us to have those moments where we look at each other in wonder, amazement, and utter confusion!  Is this the person I fell in love with so many years ago?  The answer is NO and thank goodness!
We are indeed strangers, a peculiar people even (1 Peter 2:9), compared to who we were before Christ started doing a transformative work within our marital bond.  What we have to remember is that Christ is doing a mighty work in BOTH of us simultaneously all the while remembering that He honors the covenant relationship of marriage that positions HIM at the center.  As husband and wife draw closer to Him, He draws us closer to each other; that may sound strange… on some spiritual ménage à trois type of stuff – but in all honesty, that’s where the threefold cord that is not easily broken begins to take shape (Ecclesiastes 4:12).  After all, ménage à trois simply means a “house of three.”
When I’m deliberate about making our marriage our first ministry, I put my never-ending to-do list on pause and focus on my husband and our relationship.  This is when I become more patient in hearing my husband’s writing ideas.  I become more open to hearing his visions for our family’s future.  I am reminded of how much he cares for people, how intelligent he is, how Kingdom-focused he is.  These are just some of the reasons that I was smitten by this handsome young man in the first place.  When we become intentional about our marriage, we begin to connect with each other like we did when we were dating but on a whole different level.  Now we’re building according to God’s Kingdom mandate.  Now we’re moving by faith to move mountains with the power of the written and spoken word.  NOW… we do so not as individuals living together but as one unified person who mortifies the flesh as we fall more in love with the stranger we’re becoming; fashioned in the image and likeness of Jesus Christ and modeled after the union of the Bridegroom and His beautiful Church-Bride.
Reggie and Quiana Kee have known each other for over 20 years and were married in 2004. They were licensed to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ in 2015 at the Kingdom Advancement Center in Elgin, Ill., where they currently reside. They have two children and are the co-founders of Ink Well Spoken and Manu Forti Ministries, which serve as the marketplace and faith-based programs for their motivational speaking initiatives.


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