Marriage is a very hard thing.
I’ve been contemplating this thought lately, as I’ve watched so many struggle in marriage, as I’ve watched some marriages even fail, and as I’ve watched some struggle with the question of “why?”
We can feel betrayed, not just by husbands who didn’t live up to our “Prince Charming” expectation, but by God.
Wasn’t God supposed to lead us to our perfect, destined, “one.” Were we not listening? Maybe this one wasn’t what He meant for us? But maybe we felt really led into this marriage, so in that case isn’t it God’s fault when it isn’t all we hoped?
All we dreamed?
It struck me strongly the other day: we have a very dangerous mindset that the church tends to teach our daughters.
We teach our daughters that God is their fairy-god-mother. He’s not.
No really! We do! We tell them that God is going to lead them to their perfect mate, and if they get it right they will live happily ever after!
Ok, let me clarify:
I am not saying that God doesn’t work everything for our good.
I am not saying that God doesn’t have a plan for our lives, including our marriages.
I am not saying that we shouldn’t be listening to God about who we marry! (obviously!)
What I am saying is that if we are looking for God to lead us to our perfect prince on this earth, we are going to be in for a rude awakening.
Because one day we are going to wake up and find ourselves married to a flawed, sinful, entirely human, man. We’ll discover all sorts of flaws in his character, all sorts of secret sins in his closet.
We may discover we’ve gotten ourselves a good one, but even then there will be flaws, huge ones.
We may discover we’ve gotten ourselves linked to a nightmare.
How could this have happened?
I’ve seen the message that marriage was not meant for our happiness, but for our growth. I have to say I agree. This whole sacrament of marriage, and it is a sacrament, not just a commitment, is for our sanctification.
It’s a mirror of the beauty of God and His church.
“Wait, wait, wait!” You say, “My marriage looks nothing like God and His church! There is no Christ likeness represented, believe me!”
Tell me something: How are we refined in this walk with God?
Isn’t it through relationship?
Relationship with Christ?
What process do you suppose God could use to refine us in our marriage? What tool?
Isn’t that, also, relationship?
We need to get over the idea that relationships are supposed to be polished and comfortable. Relationships are messy! With our relationship with God the mess is ours, with our spouses the mess belongs to both, and in both the answer to our mess is love.
It’s true that marriages can fail, but God’s love for us does not, and if we let Him into our marriages we might just find that He brings so much beauty into the mess.
No, He isn’t a fairy-god-mother. He doesn’t come in and make our dreams come true, at least not generally speaking. But He is God, and He does bring beauty out of ashes, He redeems souls and lives and hearts.
He can breath life into a deadened heart. Make something as wrecked as two sinners trying to do life together into a glorious and beautiful testimony of His grace.
Joy Aletheia Stevens
(Whenever I speak about marriage I feel it necessary to say that although I believe grace can extend over many situations, in cases of abuse you should not feel like you need to stay. In fact, I’m saying it right now, if you are being abused, leave. Now. Yes the man might change, but he can do his changing with you away from him and somewhere safe ok? Need help? Go to: The National Domestic Violence Hotline)