My husband and I love marriage. We are halfway through our sixteenth year of this journey, and it has definitely taken us on some loops, climbs, and dives. I hate roller-coasters, so you’d think I would also hate the ups and downs of marriage. And, to be honest, I have not always enjoyed them while in the middle of them. But I have no desire to get off the ride. None whatsoever.
The Sustaining Secret
So, what is it about marriage that is so absolutely wonderful? What sustains us through the insane roller-coaster ride?
Ultimately, it always comes back to the Lord. But, sometimes it is helpful to break that down in light of what our world tells us about marriage.
When I was in college, quotes from Jerry Maguire flew constantly. Tom Cruise and Renee Zellweger led us to believe that the crux of a solid relationship is completion. Do I complete Doug? Does he complete me?
The answer is no. Doug and I each had to be complete in Christ before we could become a new life together.
So maybe we fulfill each other?
That might be a little closer to reality, but I think it still falls short. It was not so much that we fulfilled each other when we got married. Instead, when we came together as a couple, we were able to more completely fulfill the goals God had set before us.
That alone is powerful. Christians should hunger to serve Christ to the fullest of our abilities. I recognize that there are some ministry roles that I could not have filled as a single church member. Certain aspects of my passion in ministry fall into place because I live the experience of marriage. The same is true of Doug. I believe he is a more effective pastor because he is married. No, I am not taking credit for his success in ministry. I am, instead, saying that our unity in marriage makes us who we are in ministry.
So, joint fulfillment is a big deal. But I think there is something else.
Ultimately, marriage becomes us.
We joke about marriage being the death of a man. Popular cake toppers show a bride dragging the groom, indicating that she is coercing him or he is only agreeing to marriage because that is the only way he knows to keep her. Men are not supposed to want marriage.
My husband has never seen it that way, and I am so incredibly thankful. I have watched him blossom and bloom as my husband. I have seen him both fail and succeed, but above all I have seen him become.
He has always been perceptive, but he has become even moreso over the years, seeing needs in others sometimes before they know they have them!
He has always been brilliant, but he has become an increasingly amazing steward of that brilliance, using it in incredible ways.
He has always been wise according to the standards of Proverbs, hungering after a continual increase in knowledge and wisdom. But in that pursuit, he has become someone whose wisdom others covet.
God has fostered that becoming in him – and aspects of becoming in me – as He has grown our marriage. As He forges us together, He also forges us increasingly into His likeness.
Yes, more than anything else, marriage becomes us.