There are two thoughts that have changed my life in regards to marriage. One I read years ago in a book titled “Sacred Marriage” by Gary Thomas. What if God designed marriage to make us holy instead of happy? If you can push through the selfishness and pride (even the parts you don’t like to admit to) and really let that question get in your gut, it’ll change your life, too, because that means that “we don’t get along” isn’t a reason for divorce. It means that “we fell out of love” is bull. Marriage isn’t something you trip and fall into. It’s a choice. And…brace yourself…it’s not about you. Yes, I said it. Your marriage is not about you.
God said that we are made in his image. He has both female traits and male. God is nurturing, caring and kind. He is also strong and dependable. He’s both tender and tough. That means that the best representation of who He is can only come when both of those sides are shown to the world. And how did God plan for that to happen? Yep. Marriage.
See, you thought it was a cultural norm. You thought it was a fairytale idea and a reason to wear a pretty dress. You thought it was a political agenda. Marriage is the most whole representation of who God is. And it’s the best way to make you holy because Marriage 101 is learning that you are no longer alone. Your decisions affect another person. His choices bleed into yours. His socks clutter your bathroom and your bras hang on his door handles. And once you get over the shock of someone imposing on your physical space, there’s more. His baggage begins to affect your emotions. Your feelings begin to supersede his desires.
And that’s becoming more holy. That’s when a little bit of the selfishness chips away.
It changed my life because it’s true. God didn’t design marriage so I could be happy anymore than he designed raising kids to do so. Is happiness often a bi-product? Absolutely, yes. Is it the ultimate reason? Absolutely, no. On the days when I’m not happy do I get to stop being a mom? No. When I’m exhausted and have nothing else to give, do I get to quit? No. When I’ve tried everything and I still feel like I’m losing do I get to send her back and start over? No, no, no.
And hard as it is to hear, the same is true for marriage.
Let that marinate for a minute, and I’ll tell you the second thing that changed my life tomorrow…