Mark and I do not have the perfect marriage. We are a work in progress like everyone else.
We fight. We make-up. We pray. We whine. We pick. We love. We play. We rest. But through it all, the one thing we want to be sure we’re doing is growing in the Lord.
As a matter of fact, Mark was adamant about one thing before he asked me to marry him. The difference in the number of kids we wanted, he could overlook. The difference in our backgrounds, he could overlook. The difference in how we managed money, he could work with. But before embarking on a life-long covenant with me, he had to be sure we had what it takes to build a healthy marriage.
And we both needed to be committed to loving each other through thick and thin because we weren’t going into marriage as two people who had arrived at the gates of perfection. We were two people who were a work in progress. Two people who were on a journey of becoming more and more like Christ as we allowed His Spirit to move and work in our hearts.
In his book, Sacred Marriage, Gary Thomas writes:
Marriage requires a radical commitment to love our spouses as they are, while longing for them to become what they are not yet.
Marriage was created by God to put on display Christ and the Church. Therefore, this ultimately means that marriage was created for God’s glory and exists now for His glory.
In the whirlwind of emotions that arise on a daily basis in marriage, it is important that we remember we are a work in progress. Each of us (our spouse included) will change and mold and grow as we walk daily with the Lord, and this is good. We are not meant to stay stagnant in our walk with the Lord, but ever reaching forward, pressing toward the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:14).
Marriage is not about you.
Marriage is not about your happiness. It is about God. It is about growth in His grace. It is about becoming more and more like Christ as you seek to live out the purpose for which you were united – a symbol of Christ and His Church.
This is a tall order. One that cannot be accomplished in our own strength. We need Jesus. We need the Man who lived the perfect life. The Man who died the absolute perfect death, horrific though it was. We need the Man who rose from the grave, conquering sin, and defeating death. We need our Savior who is at the right hand of God interceding on our behalf.
In marriage, we must be on a mission of helping one another to grow more and more into the image of Christ, if we are to build a healthy marriage. We cannot be passive. We must be vigilant. We must be gentle. We must exhort our spouses in the Word of God. We must love them through their sinfulness and forgive as we have been forgiven. We must be constant in prayer. And we must be ever increasing in our knowledge of our Lord and Savior. We do this by immersing ourselves in God.
What I am saying is that each of us must be sold out for Christ in order to have what it really takes to build a healthy marriage. More than the next TV show, more than the next race, or fishing trip, we have to be sold out for Christ and committed to a marriage that will bring Him glory. There cannot be anything more important.
Are you sold out for the kingdom? Are you seeking what it really takes to build a healthy marriage? Or are you more committed to seeking what it takes to make you happy and satisfied? Are you seeking to glorify God more together, or are you settled into a life of doing your own thing?
Now is the time to take hold of your marriage, shake it by the shoulders, square up and run for God’s purpose for your marriage. It’s in pursuing God’s purpose that you’ll find what it takes to build a healthy marriage.
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