“My beloved is mine, and I am his.”
~Song of Solomon 2:16
This may come as a surprise, but your marriage isn’t about you. It isn’t about your spouse or even your kids. Your marriage is about showing God’s glory. Paul writes in Ephesians, “. . . we are members of his body. ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband” (5:30-33). Over and over again in the Scriptures, God uses marriage as an illustration of His loving and eternal covenant with His people. We are told that “whether [we] eat or drink [or marry], or whatever [we] do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Cor 10:31).
Here’s another shocker—it doesn’t take two committed Christians to show God’s glory. It only takes one. How can I say that? Take a look at 1 Peter 3:1-2: “Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct.” Again in 1 Corinthians 7:14: “For the unbelieving husband is made holy because of his wife, and the unbelieving wife is made holy because of her husband.” Please do not misunderstand. If you are not yet married, I am not encouraging you to marry an unbeliever. The Bible is clear—Christians should be joined in marriage only with other Christians. Still, these verses remind us (and give us hope), that no matter what circumstance we find ourselves in presently, we can still bring glory to God in our marriage.
How did I come to this conclusion? I have been married for ten years, and for the first time, I myself am learning that my marriage isn’t about me. There are so many adjectives that I could use to describe our years of marriage. There have been times of joy, intimacy, love, friendship, forgiveness, trust and laughter. But not all of the adjectives would be so positive. There have been moments of anger, pain, tears, heartache, betrayal and loneliness. Truth be told, there were moments that I didn’t think we would make it. Some valleys were so dark that I couldn’t see the light at the end. Pain so real, I felt it might suffocate me. But God has never been more real to me than when I needed Him most.
I have a confession to make. I am a hopeless romantic. Yes, it is true. Pride and Prejudice is one of my favorite books (and movies). However childish it may be, I still dream of being a Disney princess who is saved by Prince Charming. I long to be swept off my feet, protected and adored. My heart yearns to be his whole world. But can I tell you something else? My husband doesn’t share my same romantic imaginations. No doubt about it, he loves me, but he would rather take a nap than pry his eyes open to watch another one of my fairy tale movies. The two of us couldn’t be more different!
Over the years, our differences have produced many arguments and lead to countless tears. In my prayers, I have begged God just to help him see. Lord, help him see how much he loves me, needs me! Right God? He does love me? Or is there something wrong with me? Tell me what it is. I will change. I will do it. Whatever it is. But please, do something. Recently, I have felt that God has been gentling telling me “no.” My dear child, I love you. I’m hurting with you. Trust me. Let me work through you. I will show you what to do, one step at a time, but you have to trust me. I want to use your marriage to reveal my glory. It’s not about you. My eyes are drawn to the page in my Bible that reminds me “this light and momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison” (2 Cor 4:17).
I do not know exactly how God will use our marriage to bring Him glory, and I do not understand every step I need/should take. Yet, tonight I am trusting Him. I believe that if my marriage had always been easy, I would not have come to rely on the Lord as much as I do. If I would have been swept off my feet like some princess, I would have depended on my husband for that which I can only truly find in the Lord. As my husband has reminded me, God shines best through cracked pots, and well, we are certainly a couple of cracked pots! I have learned more about the character of God through my marriage than anywhere else. Every passing year of our marriage, I grow more in love with my beloved husband and my beloved heavenly Father. Through all the trials, I would not take anything back because He is working it for His greater good, for His glory. I am honored to be a part of that.
Let me reassure you. I love my husband. He is strong and not afraid to get his hands dirty. He is my best friend and knows me better than anyone else on earth. Even when I am angry, he can make me laugh. He is an amazing cook and can sweet talk his way right into my heart. He is a hard worker, a faithful provider, a committed father and husband. But he is not perfect. Neither am I. With all our quirks, our differences, our baggage and our brokenness, God made us for each other. My prayer for you and for me is that we would allow God to take the good, bad and the ugly in our marriages and use them for His glory. Right now in this moment, I hope I am!
“Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”
2 Corinthians 12:9