Marriage: Grind or Glory?
We’ve all got interesting things in our church past, don’t we?
I remember every year at church camp, there would be at least one day where the student pastor, or whatever male group leaders had come along on the trip sat all the guys down to talk about relationships. In about 45 minutes, we would cover what I believed to be at the time, all you would ever need to know about relationships.
We would talk about caring more about the other person than about ourselves. We would talk about the dangers inherent in pornography. We would talk about having the goal being marriage, as we thought about (okay, dreamed about) dating. But that’s really about it. When we talked about marriage, what we talked about was how hard it was going to be, and how sanctifying it would be. Which, let me pause here. It totally is! There are days that are long, and God uses it to grind away the selfish parts of me constantly. That in itself, is a gift.
But that’s the message that was beaten into us year after year. God is going to shape you in marriage, and it’s going to be really hard. Have a great life. I felt like getting married was going to be less marriage and more martyrdom.
What I don’t remember talking about around the campfire is the other side of marriage. I believe that marriage can be beautiful, fun, life-giving, and yes, sanctifying. While being married has led me into some of the hardest days, it has also led me into some of the most fun, enchanting experiences that this world has to offer. And I don’t think that the way to get more beauty out of your marriage is to forget the sanctification piece. In fact, I think that’s critical! The question is what you’re being sanctified into. Just in case you’re not used to throwing around theological words, sanctification really simply just means that every day, you’re looking more like Jesus.
For me as a kid, I thought that marriage was going to grind me into a dour, grumpy, camp counselor who couldn’t wait to get away from his family and get into the woods for a week. Praise God, that’s not actually the case. We could go a lot of places to talk about the sort of person God wants to turn you into as you follow Him (and as you and your spouse grow together). But, I like this really simple picture of who we’re becoming in Galatians 5:
Galatians 5:22 says: But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
When you think about the sort of person that God is using marriage to shape you into, it’s a person with more love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Doesn’t that sound awesome?! That sort of person, and the sort of person growing that direction, can be a blessing in their marriage and have a GREAT TIME being married.
As you think about what you believe marriage is for, how it’s changing you, and how you’re showing up for it (or not), what do you think God might be calling you into as you read that passage?
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