If you’ve been married for any length of time, you may have occasionally thought, “This marriage is going to kill me yet!” After all, marriage certainly isn’t easy. In fact, there may be seasons when the joy is scarce and the energy required is huge.
One thing is for certain. Marriage is for grown-ups. It can be both challenging and difficult. It can also be immensely rewarding and satisfying.
Sometimes when our marriage is difficult, we tend to focus on the flaws of our spouse. Yes, there are some marriages where one person begins to inflict emotional or physical abuse upon his spouse. Or, a married person may practice continual infidelity. These behaviors are often a way of expressing contempt toward his or her spouse. These behaviors can reduce a marriage to a crisis.
Even in healthy marriages, we can focus on the flaws and shortcomings of our spouse. Of course anyone in a marriage gets a front row seat to the virtue and the flaws of one’s spouse.
Perhaps marriage is sometimes difficult because we begin to see our flaws and sins. For the person who is serious about being shaped and formed into the image of Jesus, focusing totally on the flaws of one’s spouse can waste an opportunity to grow.
Maybe marriage was meant to kill you. Maybe marriage was meant to reveal parts of you that are un-Christlike, immature, and self-absorbed so that by his grace these might be put to death.
Christ-followers refuse to compartmentalize life. Instead, we are very aware that God desires to see us transformed into the image of Jesus his son. This is an ongoing process in life. God takes our experiences, our thoughts, and our practices and uses them to transform us into a Christ-like people.
In marriage there is an opportunity for God to kill whatever might is in us that is not Christ-like. However, we must desire that he put to death this old self.
Charlotte and I married in 1978. We came from two very different homes and in marriage began to form one new home. In these early years, marriage was joyful but was also difficult at times. In marriage, I became more fully aware of the depth of my self-centeredness and self-absorption. Marriage helped me realize that the biggest problem I had in marriage was me.
Maybe marriage was meant to kill you. After all, there are attitudes and behaviors in each one of us that need to die before they ultimately hurt our spouse and children. Maybe more importantly, these attitudes and behaviors will prevent anyone from seeing Jesus in our marriage.
Maybe God uses marriage to make us better people – a more Christ-like people.