Adjusting my perspective
As I have explained, I entered into marriage because that’s what people do. Isn’t it? My SAMM and I had been dating for a while, he made my stomach flutter and my heart skip a beat and he seemed to ‘get me’. So the next logical step was to tie the knot.
In 2005 we said “I do”, celebrated with friends and family and went on a romantic honeymoon.
Then we got home. The extraordinary time spent on planning and preparing (oh, if I knew then what I had learnt in recent years) for our wedding was past and the humdrum of our lives set in. We were never excruciatingly unhappy but we were definitely far from content. We were caught in power-struggles, battles for the authority and leadership in our home and I cried my Ingrid Bergman tears many nights. Being married was suddenly a lot harder than I had ever imagined.
Thankfully this piece is NOT about the struggle. I want to share with you today, just what exactly marriage turned out to be!
What marriage turned out to be.
“They’ll all get to know me firsthand, the little and the big, the small and the great. They’ll get to know me by being kindly forgiven, with the slate of their sins forever wiped clean. By coming up with a new plan, a new covenant between God and his people, God put the old plan on the shelf. And there it stays, gathering dust.” Heb 8:11b-13 (MSG)
This piece, in great part is inspired by the teaching of a local pastor, who drew his understanding and interpretation from the Bible. Fancy that. Even better, as it turns out the Bible has lots to offer on the subject. Opening ourselves and being receptive to teaching and instruction has made a huge impact on our relationship. On our marriage.
Marriage (as it turned out) is NOT:
- simply a logical conclusion to the dating cycle
- a passport to sexual pleasure
- (in itself / as an institution) is not a guaranteed,more intimate connection with your partner
- a COVENANT
- a FRIENDSHIP
- an opportunity to DISPLAY THE GOSPEL
Marriage is a binding promise and agreement between two people.
“Our vows are simply future-dated appointments with ourselves. “If I am alive in 50 years, I will be right here, by your side.” Ps PJ Smyth (Godfirst Church)
Our binding agreement resembles and should reflect the relationship that God desires to have with each of us.
Despite our worst offenses and missteps, He will forgive. He will LOVE US regardless of what we say or how we act. His love is not conditional, it isn’t jealous and there are no boundaries to it.
“Then the LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper who is just right for him.” Gen 2:18 NLT
Our marriage was never designed to be a power struggle. It was supposed to be a unification of two people who complimented and added to each other. Marriage at its heart was designed to bring two people together for greater joy, worship and intimacy with God as it mirrors the relationship that Christ (our Groom) has with His church (we are His Bride).
A gospel display?
“God, not you, made marriage. His Spirit inhabits even the smallest details of marriage. And what does he want from marriage? Children of God, that’s what. So guard the spirit of marriage within you.” Mal 2:15b
Marriage is an ongoing testimony of just how serious and committed God is about my / your / our relationship with Him. He will love us no matter what. He has already paid the highest price for each of us. The hope, forgiveness, love, kindness, respect, honour and mercy in our marriages should shine brightly enough to show God’s heart to a desperate world.
Way different to what I expected!
Marriage turned out to be way different to the picture I had constructed in my mind. I had hoped for romance, butterflies, surprise gestures of love and someone to share my hopes and dreams with.
We actually had no real idea of what we were getting ourselves into!
Instead I have found that I am blessed with an opportunity to seek and honour God through this earthly union. I have found a friend with whom I can laugh and enjoy. There are still butterflies and sometimes candles, but there often is leadership and character. I can share my hopes and expectations with my SAMM but I can also share my faith, my love for Jesus and my struggles with him. It turns out that we are building a lasting legacy that will testify to our daughter, our friends and our families. Yip, marriage turned out to be SO MUCH MORE than I had ever dreamed of!
We all probably, have many areas to work on in our marriages but right here and now, I am acutely aware of being supernaturally blessed and favoured because I am part of the wonderful testimony and worship that marriage offers. Yes, lets work and build and nurture and grow BUT lets also be thankful for what we have (no matter how broken or distorted it has become).
We each have a significant part to play and a lasting contribution to make to our marriages. We don’t have to fight for power, authority or other illusions. We can, and should, simply rest in the beautiful design God has for each of our marriages and play the part He has already authored and prepared for us.
What a delicious cuppa. Thanks for staying a while.