I have been trying to take more time at night to read. A fellow blogger, MckMama, introduced her readers to the book Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas. I read her blog often. She shares a lot about her marriage and the struggles she and her husband have endured. The title itself intrigued me, Sacred Marriage. Then underneath the title this reads, what if God designed marriage to make us holy more than to make us happy? Whoah! That's a heavy statement. What does it even mean? I am still peeling back the layers of the book learning what that statement means, and the more I read the more I have come to believe that is in fact what God intended.
My husband and I have been going through a not-so-good season for awhile now. And that's another thing. The word season. I have heard a couple people refer to times in their marriage, good and bad, as seasons. I love it! Because that is what they are, seasons. They come and go. Somehow referring to these times as seasons, especially the bad ones, it is easier for me to know that it will pass. And it will. If my husband and I are committed to each other, and we are, they will pass.
That doesn't make it any easier though.
One section in the book is titled The Dating Dance. It basically states that behind every marital distress lies unrepented sin. Couples moreso fall out of repentance, not out of love. Wow! "Sin, wrong attitudes, and personal failures that are not dealt with slowly erode the relationship...." When we marry, we committ to allow ourselves to be known by our spouse. He or she will see you as you are-with all your faults, prejudices, fears, and weaknesses. Sorry babe!
Gary Thomas refers to dating as a dance where we put our best foot forward-"hardly a good preparation for the inevitable self-disclosure implied in marriage. Many marriages end in divorce largely because one or both partners are running from their own revealed weaknesses as much as they are running from something they can't tolerate in their spouse."
Gary Thomas offers a wonderful yet challenging alternative. "Use the revelation of your sin as a means to grow in the foundational Christian virtue of humility, leading you to confession and renouncement." For me I am taking one sin at a time. Using my renouncement and speaking to my husband with respect instead of with an attitude. Putting my husband first instead of second or third. I still struggle with these(and so much more) but I know in my heart what the right thing to do is and I will pray everyday for God's help.
"View marriage as an entryway into sanctification-as a relationship that will reveal your sinful behaviors and attitudes and give you the opportunity to address them before the Lord. But here's the challenge: Don't give in to the temptation to resent your partner as your own weaknesses are revealed. Correspondingly, give them the freedom and acceptance they need in order to face their own weaknesses as well. In this way, we can use marriage as a leg up, a piercing spiritual mirror, designed for our santification and growth in holiness."
This seems impossible, I know! I am not one to shy away from making sure my husband knows when he has done something wrong or forgotten to do something asked of him. And I make it a point to illustrate the fact that his sin is worse than mine, even if by a smidge. What kind of a wife does this? Are we not suppose to be partners supporting and loving each other no matter what? That is why we got married right. To find that certain someone to live happily with and smell the flowers with along this journey we call life. WRONG!!! Marriage is SO much more than smelling stinkin flowers. In fact, I don't think in the four years my husband and I have been married we have ever smelled flowers. We have been too busy wiping behinds, cleaning spilled milk, making booboos all better, holding hair back while little girls throw up all night, singing songs we would rather not and saying things we swore we never would.
Who ever thought marriage would be a safehouse for revealing our sin openly to our spouse, asking our spouse for forgiveness, reconciling, and growing in holiness! And then doing the same for our spouse! I sure as heck did NOT.
But I have to say, if you and your spouse can create that safe environment for one another, you both will be blessed and so will your marriage. God will see your hearts. This is what I hope for my own marriage. This is what I hope for yours.