Marriage is to Make you Holy not Happy
My husband and I were at a “learn about our church” meeting last Sunday at a church we were just visiting. And our little table of people were talking about our methods of learning scripture or something like that. I mentioned that I keep index cards with verses on them and books handy categorized by emotion and by topic so that I can go back to them in the heat of the moment when I need a reminder of what God said. I shared that there is one book that when I pick up and start reading, my husband says “oh man, what did I do now?” That book is called Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas. And every time I get frustrated about being married, I start to read all of the highlights I have in the book.
When I met my husband, I had already been divorced a couple of times and had worked with divorce and custody attorneys for at least 15 years (not by choice, I preferred the general civil litigation and tort side of the law firm). I have had hands on life experience working with dozens if not a hundred clients who are in the most unhealthy and worst marriages with problems ranging from pure selfishness to extreme spousal abuse, domestic violence, child molestation, full blown affairs, and the other many worst case scenario problems that can destroy a marriage. So, to say the least, I had developed a belief system that was this. The leading cause of divorce is marriage. Ever heard that? Ha. I mean, I was pretty sure that I might absolutely die the old maid who just had God and her dog. And honestly, I was quite content with that mindset. Then I met “the one”. Sigh…. The beginning of learning to set aside my selfishness. Joy to the world.
Disclaimer: I have the most amazing husband and it is VERY EASY to be married to him. Nevertheless, there are times that there is friction and conflict within myself or during blended family hell on earth moments when I crave independence and freedom. Like when I feel claustrophobic like I can’t even go to my own bedroom or bathroom to have my own space. You know why? Because I can’t. There is no MY in marriage. That’s the reality of marriage. Now I’ve grown a lot here. When I first met my husband I told him that I really would prefer that we have his and her bathrooms and closets and cups and refrigerators etc. But now I can’t imagine a day going by without smelling his leftover cologne scent in the bathroom once I finally manage to pour myself out of bed to begin my daily ritual of coffee inhalation. Yes, there’s nothing like iced coffee and the smell of my man every morning…. Back to the good, bad and ugly about marriage.
So, the book Sacred Marriage has the most amazing quote I’ve ever seen. “Marriage is to make you holy not happy”. Hmmm, well that sure helped me better understand marriage. I like hard truth. And boy oh boy, that’s some hard truth and it actually made sense to me. Happiness is not the goal. Holiness is the goal. And marriage is the BEST real life opportunity to walk out your faith and see if you really have the likeness of Christ that you think you do. And if you really want to be Christlike, stay married when the going gets tough because it DOES get tough.
I’ll blog more about HOW marriage is to make you holy not happy later. But I’ve got to say, you really should buy that book! Honestly, it’s a pretty dry read. It took me months to get through reading a chapter here or there every few weeks. It’s not what I call pleasure reading by any means. But it has GREAT helpful information and was one of those life changing books no doubt.
Ha. Married folks, in case you haven’t realized it yet, we are in for a ride! Reminds me of Tim Hawkin’s welcome to the jungle marriage skit.