The Cutest Couple

    We're always ready to declare someone else's relationship #MarriageGoals, or we're ready to start wars over the internet about our favorite TV couples, but which Biblical couple captivates our attention and truly shows us #MarriageGoals? Let's talk about Mary & Joseph!
    I was traveling down this road alone,
    Until I found you—
    I was laughing at jokes alone,
    Until I found you—
    I cried in my turbulence alone,
    Until I found you—
    And I rejoiced in my success alone,
    Until I found you—
    So now we walk together
    We strive, struggle and succeed together,
    We get lost and are found together,
    We lean on God together
    Because for this purpose,
    He brought us together.
    #MarriageGoals by Ree Hughes

    Introduction (00:01:28)

    Hey guys! Welcome back to PSALMS to God podcast. If any of you are on social media, or if you watch TV, or if you just talk to people, I am sure you are familiar with the concept of shipping. It pops up everywhere; everyone's always shipping someone. And for those who are not familiar with it, shipping is this—I don't know if I want to call it a phenomenon—but it's this trend of, you know, looking at two people and you know rooting for or supporting a relationship between those two people. Most of the time it's on a TV show, sometimes it's in a movie, sometimes it's celebrities, but I'm pretty sure this is happening in real life. At people's schools or their jobs or their wherever, because I hear it quite often; and I'm not going to lie I've probably been part of it as well. And I think from the concept of shipping, we kind of crossover into things like marriage goals or #marriagegoals #relationshipgoals, and it was interesting because as I started to watch these things play out on social media, I realized that as a culture we kind of have an obsession with couples. I remember in high school, you know, there was the whole concept of the "it" couple or the cutest couple, and so as I was taking all of this in, I was like what better place to look for marriage goals or the cutest couple than in the Bible, right? Since we're doing superlatives and talking about people in the Bible, I figured today was the day that we would talk about the cutest couple from the Bible.

    Now before we jump into this episode, I got to throw out there that I am not married, have not been married, and am not in a relationship, therefore I am not a relationship expert. I don't want y'all to feel slighted and feel like y'all was getting information from somebody who is an expert on this and knows what they're talking about—that is not me. I don't know what I'm talking about. However, I did pray before this episode so I'm hoping that the Holy Spirit will tell me what I'm talking about because I don't know.

    Couples of the Bible (00:04:01)

    Nonetheless, the Bible gives us a lot of couples to look at, and to think about, and to contemplate aspects of their relationships to try to figure out what we're doing or what we're doing wrong, and what we should be doing. And so I took it upon myself to start looking at some of the famous and not-so-famous couples within the Bible. There are a lot more than I thought there were! I think the reason I didn't really pay some of these couples attention is because when the Bible talks about them, the story is about whatever is happening; it's not really about their relationship. I feel like the only stories that are really centered around the couple's relationship are probably Song of Songs—or Song of Solomon—a little bit towards Adam and Eve, though it's really more about creation and the fall than it is about Adam and Eve being married, and then you could argue for Ruth and Boaz that there is a higher focus on the fact that they are married or that they're getting married.

    You know, I didn't really want to choose any of those. There are various reasons why. For Adam and Eve, I feel like we don't really learn much about their relationship with each other. So, I didn't really want to try to talk about that because I didn't think there would be much to talk about other than speculation. Speculation is probably not a good thing when it comes to the Bible, so I kind of passed over them. Ruth and Boaz are, I guess, the epitome of marriage goals when people start talking. I feel like anytime people bring up marriage in the Bible, people run straight to Ruth and Boaz, and I can definitely understand why, but I also feel like there are so many other aspects of their story that get passed over that are more spiritually inclined and are symbolic of the whole process of redemption and the Redeemer, and how Jesus redeems the church. So I kind of wanted to save conversations about Ruth for something more along those lines. So I chose not to talk about Ruth and Boaz, today. Song of Songs is beautiful poetry. I know when I first read it I had a bit of trouble understanding everything that was going on in it, and I think it's definitely something that I will probably come back to talking about, eventually but I didn't really want to talk about Song of Songs. Mainly because, I don't really know which of Solomon's wives he's talking about; and, you know, it's kind of hard to label anything marriage goals or cutest couples when you're talking about the man who had like a thousand wives... So, yeah kind of decided to pass over that one, as well.

    But no fears 'cause there are tons and tons more. I kind of had fun looking at all these. As I went back and thought about, you know, Esther, for example. Thinking about Esther and how she marries this king, and the more I thought about it the more it seems like Cinderella meets the Batchelor. That kind of made me laugh a little, which is probably also why I did not choose Ester and the king as the cutest couple. I thought about Abraham and Sarah, and you know I thought about Rachel and Jacob. I mean let's be real, who agrees to work for 7 years to marry a woman? And then, when he, you know, got tricked into marrying her sister he promises to work for another 7 years! Like, I can't think of any woman who doesn't want a husband that would work that hard to get her. Of course, most women probably wouldn't want to share their husband, either, so there's always that. And then of course you know Rachel and Leah brought along their idols and things, as Jacob was fleeing his uncle—I think that was his uncle—and that caused some problems. Obviously, but you know I want to take the moment, as I'm mentioning that, that one of the running or reoccurring themes that I noticed as I looked at these different couples is that none of them are perfect. Which is to be expected, because people aren't perfect, and therefore relationships are not perfect. They can't be, because imperfect people can not have perfect relationships.

    So I thought that was one of the beauties of studying these relationships, because just as you know the marriage goals trend persists, each relationship is going to be different, and it has to stand on its own two legs. We can't perfectly imitate anyone, and even if we did it would come with its own set of problems. And I think that that's one of the things that makes the people in the Bible so relatable is that they are three-dimensional, and so that dimensionality plays out in their relationships, as well, that there are no perfect marriages in the Bible. There are only pros and cons, things to learn from—things that you can mimic that they did well, and things that you maybe want to try to avoid in your own relationships, which of course, then you're going to fall into your own traps and problems. But I thought that was beautiful.

    Equal Yoking (00:10:23)

    And so as I kept digging, I finally settled in the New Testament on Mary and Joseph. Once again obviously the story is not really about them being married; it's about the birth of Jesus. But I think in that, what we see of their relationship and of their marriage highlights what I think is the most important thing in a relationship: and that is placing God at the center of your relationship. So, I don't have to be married to know that any pastor or relationship counselor/marriage counselor, therapist, whatever. Anyone who is talking to you about marriage will probably say something that is holding you together—obviously the pastor is going to mention God—and that it's funneling your path or creating your path.

    One of the things that I really realized as I shifted from being a kid or teenager into an adult and I stopped having crushes and liking guys just because they were cute or because they were nice, and I started thinking more about intentional dating, I started to realize that the most important thing in a partner is that we can grow together in the same direction. A lot of times, we connect with people based on our past experiences. It's easy to talk to each other about things that happened already, and maybe we come from similar cultures, similar backgrounds. Maybe you were raised in the same church or whatever the case may be, but as we grow and as we get out from my parents' shadows and we start making our own way in the world, we start to change and we start to go in different directions. And people that I've known my whole life, that we grew up together families grew up together. We went to the same church together. We aren't necessarily in the same places and following the same ideas.

    Now, most of the people I went to church with as a kid are also related to me so that's kind of null and void for the concept of marriage, but nonetheless, the principle still holds that we didn't necessarily stay in the same road; we didn't necessarily stay going in the same path. And when I look back at my self when I was like 21 versus now that I'm 30 almost 31, my mentality and my relationship with God is just very very different. And how I prioritize things is very very different. And so had I married somebody in my early twenties and expected it to still work now that I'm in my thirties and have a closer relationship with God then I would have needed someone who also was moving in that same direction towards God. I think that is why people harp so much on being equally yoked[2] and having God in the center of your relationship. Because ideally, if I'm following God and he's following God, then God is leading us to the same place so we're going to walk in the same direction; but if either of us starts following something else then we can go off in divergent paths and that's going to put a strain on our relationship.

    Mary and Joseph (00:14:24)

    That is the fundamental point or the fundamental detail that is given to us about Mary and Joseph. So Mary and Joseph's relationship is primarily discussed in Luke 1  and 2; there is a little bit about it in Matthew, the beginning of Matthew,[3] as well, and there's probably some, kind of, just embedded into the narrative of Jesus's life throughout the gospels. But the part that I'll be focusing on is the part that's in Luke 1 and 2. So when we first meet Mary, she is already betrothed to Joseph and for those who aren't really familiar with Jewish customs or Israelite customs at the time, a betrothal—and I don't know this might be true in any culture where betrothals still happen—but a betrothal is basically already married. I guess it would be kind of like what we call an engagement today. When you're engaged you can't be seeing other people, like you're basically already married to the person; it's just you haven't officially done it. You aren't legally married, but it's a declaration that you're together and you're not supposed to be talking to any other guys or the men aren't supposed to be talking to any other women. It's basically a done deal and so the same concept applied to betrothals.

    So, Mary, being betrothed to Joseph, was also a virgin. In today's society we don't put quite the same expectations on people, I guess that's how I'll phrase it. It has been normalized that people enter into marriage having not waited, so there's less stigma. It's, you know, if you don't wait for marriage, it's less likely that people will be like "oh I'm not going to marry you because you've already slept with someone"—that's not really a part of our culture today but that was very much a part of their culture back then. I mean that was kind of a part of the culture like 60-70 years ago, so we can only imagine how much that was a part of the culture back in Mary and Joseph's day. And on top of that, to have a child when you're not married; that was a really big deal. That would not have been a very flattering thing for Mary, it would not have gone over well with her community, and people would have had a lot to say.

    Nonetheless, when Mary finds out that she is pregnant and the angel comes to tell her that it is the Son of God, that it's a holy baby and that this is part of God's plan, Mary ends up visiting her cousin. Her cousin happens to be the mother of John the Baptist and we get confirmation that her cousin is in her corner and believes that this is of God, but outside of that we don't really know how her family reacted. Her family probably—unless they were also believers—I don't really think they would have been the biggest supporters of the fact that she was pregnant and without trusting in God that could have been a very scary situation. There was no guarantee that Joseph would accept this explanation, there was no guarantee that Joseph would go through with the marriage, and that he would be okay with what God had planned. And if Joseph didn't marry her, her prospects were basically shot, because she would have a child and there was no way to prove that she was a virgin. It would all go back to, like I said in the beginning, faith in God because the man that married her would have to have faith that this was God's child.

    And I think a lot of that also ties into ego. I mean, men who are listening in I'm sure you can be more helpful in clarifying this, but most men are not necessarily going to take it well that this woman that is supposed to be theirs is now having a child that is not theirs, and so as long as the other person is thinking that this child belongs to a man and not to God that would be a crushing blow to his ego. On top of that, I feel like you know the men that would have been around Joseph would have definitely mocked him. They would have felt like he was being played the fool or made the fool of in staying with Mary. But we see that Joseph does follow God; when he first finds out, he is ready to divorce Mary, but once again he's planning to do it quietly because he's a man of God and he's not trying to make the situation worse for her or cause more shame upon her. But once the angel tells him that this is of God, that this is the Son of God and that he is chosen to be the father of this baby, he stays. And the only way he would have stayed is through his trust in God.

    And that's the beauty in their relationship: both people were trusting in God and following God, which brought them together and it is through that that their relationship is held together. And I think that that is the fundamental concept of holding God at the center of your marriage, and allowing God to carve the path. So I really admire how both of them dealt with what was probably a really scandalous event considering the time period that they were in. Even in today's society, you know if you modernize the take on it and you have a man and a woman who are engaged, and the woman goes to visit her family for three months, and she comes back pregnant, and the man has not had sex with her, and he's like "wait, what?" You know, I mean this sounds like something that would be on Divorce Court or Jerry Springer—or Maury, you know I can definitely see Maury doing the DNA test and being like "you are not the father!" I mean we can clearly see this happening in today's society, and I mean it's very—the drama that was surrounded it is very much the same. I just think it would have been amplified in their time, solely because the way people looked at unwed mothers and sex outside of marriage was fundamentally different. But nonetheless breaching a covenant like that would have been equally distasteful in today's society, and so the fact that they were able to overcome that because of their faith in God, I think that says a lot, and that's probably why I feel like Mary and Joseph provide the perfect picture of striving to keep God at the center of your marriage and how that can pull you together and keep you together in a situation that would otherwise completely rip you apart.

    Wrap Up (00:22:58)

    Of course like I said at the beginning, I'm not married or in a relationship so what do I know? You know, after I find a husband maybe I'll come back and revisit this episode and maybe I will think something completely different is the most important thing in a relationship, or maybe I will be like "man, I knew what I was talking about—or like I said in the beginning, know what I'm talking about, what I hope the Holy Spirit is talking about." Either way, I definitely hope that this has provided something for you guys. For those of you who are married, like I said let those of us who are not married know if this is going in the right direction and if it isn't, what we should be looking for? Drop some wisdom on us.

    So, the transcripts for this particular episode can be found at Thank you so much for tuning in. If you enjoyed it, don't forget to subscribe on your favorite platform, that way you can get all the notifications every time a new episode drops. New episodes are promised and guaranteed on Monday, but there will also be bonus content throughout the week—assuming I have time, and so you definitely want to subscribe so that you can get notification for that content as well! Thanks again for listening to me ramble on, and I can't wait to talk to you again see you next time!

    References and Footnotes

    1. Ree Hughes. "#MarriageGoals". PSALMS to God. January 13, 2019
    2. 2 Corinthians 6:14
    3. Matthew 1:18-25
    Published on Monday, January 14, 2019
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