“Your marriage will not be perfect.”
That was the statement that came to my mind early last week. It shocked me when it came, but the more I thought about it, the truer it became. I even looked at my husband and asked him, “Our marriage will never be perfect, will it?” And he said, “No, it won’t.”
Being perfectly honest and open here, I’ve been struggling for a long time with my thought life about my marriage. I was always quick to become frustrated, annoyed, and in despair over random stuff that happened. I always tried to share with my husband the issues that were on my mind. I mean, we’ve talked circles around things multiple times over. But I even got to a place where I hated talking to him about these things because I always felt alone with my feelings. Somehow, my husband rarely ever had a problem with anything in our marriage. I never understood it! I could make a list of stuff that I didn’t think was good, and he never had a problem at all. And this has gone on for years now!
And at the same time, the devil was a having a field day with my mind. Trying as hard as I could, I could barely go a few days without having my mind bombarded with every thought and reason why my marriage wasn’t good and how it wasn’t going to last, and I’d be driven to tears almost every time. I’d try to “stand firm” on what I knew from the Word, but reality kept staring me back in the face. And then, I reminded myself that the just live by faith, and faith is not what you can currently see. And I held on to that for dear life. And when I told my husband about it, he was amazed that so much could be happening between the time he left for work and came home in the evenings. (Trust me, I was mentally and emotionally exhausted so many evenings.) So, I spent time in prayer, pleading with God for help with a situation that I honestly didn’t know how to deal with. And slowly, very very slowly, some things started to become clear.
First, I realized that I had made too much of my marriage. What I mean is that, yes, I did value my marriage and aimed to guard it and glorify God with it. But having a God-glorifying marriage subtly became the end all, be all. To put it frankly, it became an idol, and I was in despair because it wasn’t looking the way I thought it ought to look when I had worked so hard on it. I have contributed such and such. Where is my expected result?
Second, I realized that I forgot that the Fall and sin have literally affected every single thing in this world, including marriage. Now, I never forgot that I was a sinner. But in my quest for a perfect marriage, I failed to realize that it can’t be perfect. One sinner has married another sinner and entered into a covenant where sin will always be a factor. It is impossible for sin not to be a factor. But then, how else can God be glorified except that two sinners continue to walk in love, grace, mercy, humility, kindness, patience, and every other spiritual fruit with each other until death, in spite of all of the sins that they will commit against each other and God?…..because, there will be sins committed and hearts will hurt.
Third, I realized that I had been lacking joy, peace, love, and contentment in my marriage because of this ongoing delusion that I could have the “perfect” end now. How many times are we told in Scripture that we must endure, that we will struggle, that there will be pain and tribulations, that we must persevere and be patient until the end? Fact is, the end, our full glorification, will be absolutely glorious! And everything in this life will be “light afflictions” compared to the end we will receive in Christ. But you can’t have the glory, without the cross. And knowing that marriage is for this life, there will be no “perfect” end to it because once we die, that covenant is over. It’s painful (because of pride) to admit that I had been this deluded and deceived in my thinking.
Fourth, I realized that we have a formidable and crafty foe. Satan’s aim is to take our eyes off of Christ. Better yet, he’s like Indiana Jones pulling a “switcheroo” and trying to put something else (and it can literally be anything) on the altar of our hearts in place of Christ without us ever realizing it. But I thank God for His Spirit who does indeed keep and guard us, and allows things to come crashing down all around us until we realize that a switch has indeed been made, leading us to repentance and restoration.
Fifth, and lastly, I realized that although I hate always having to strive, fight, and be diligent about every facet of my life because of sin, I may as well start building my bridge over myself. Why? Well, that is the life we are called to as Christians, and no part of our lives will be exempt from the fight and struggle. I feel like I’m wrestling on every front right now, from patience in mothering and personal devotion to lust for food and the self-deluding pride of perfectionism and its close cousin named laziness. Nothing is exempt. And when it comes to marriage, I have had beautiful sages around me for years telling me stories of pain, joy, struggle, triumph, and everything in between. Even after an exhausting move last weekend, I went to church to hear a dear brother tell me that it took him 20 years to realize that he should have his wife next to him whenever something needs to be moved so it goes exactly where it should go (or better stated, exactly where she wants it to go). LOL!!!!!!!
Really, the struggle……our struggle…..never really ends. And I’m laughing to myself as I write that because it is really funny to me. I want it to be done sooo bad, but it won’t. It’s God ordained means for causing us to grow as He continues to break us down and to mature us as we are humbled into the dust more and more. He has such an interesting way of doing things in this life; I can’t help but to have a sense of humor.
So, it’s been a hard road for me as of late, but I thank God that I have made it this far. I thank Him for answering prayers. I thank Him for opening my eyes. I thank Him for tearing down idols in my life and reordering my affections. I thank Him for a husband that has patiently bore with me through all this. I thank Him for the wisdom to realize that this is not an isolated problem, but that I have to be watchful for similar patterns in all areas of my life. And I thank Him for His Word which really and truly does transform us by renewing our minds and His Spirit, who keeps, guards, seals all who are His until He returns.
We know and serve such a faithful God and Father who will never ever leave us in our sins. All praise to Him!