As we engage and deal with all the relationships in our lives, we find both ends of the spectrum: joy and sorrow. Walter Trobisch, a European author and pastor, once wrote that learning to love in our relationships,
…is anxiety and contentment, it is deep yearning and hostility, it is pleasure and pain, there is not one without the other. Happiness is only a part of love— this is what has to be learned. Suffering also belongs to love. This is the mystery of love, its beauty and its burden. Love is a feeling to be learned.
There is no greater environment for growth and learning than marriage and family. These are not the only environments for growth and learning, but they are really powerful. However, they are not easy. Marriage is more fantastic than we tell people, but it is also more difficult than we tell them. Gary Thomas, in his excellent book on marriage asks a critically important question,
What if God designed marriage to make us holy more than to make us happy?
Now that is not to say that happiness is never a reasonable desire. Of course we want our most significant relationships to be a benefit to ourselves and to others. Of course we want to enjoy the people around us and have the relationships be mutually beneficial. But, God also wants to use these relationships to refine us and remold us from our brokenness to wholeness.
Therefore, this relationship called marriage is a perfect place to work on us. It is the place where the complexity of life is tied together. Marriage is where intimacy is at its height, trust is required, forgiveness is necessary, comfort is needed, oneness is created, similarity is helpful, differences are essential and long-suffering is a daily requirement. The husband aches for his wife to gift him with respect, while the wife aches for her husband to gift her with love. They are like two sides of the same coin that will spend well on the journey of life.
Marriage seems to be the desire of most, yet it is becoming an endangered species. What can we do to save this most critical human relationship? As far as I can see, only God’s most incredible design for marriage will make it work. Therefore, we will continue digging into God’s Word to find answers to our questions and let His Word dig deep into our hearts to touch us and heal us.
See you Sunday!