My all-time favorite quote when it comes to the marriage relationship is the basis of the book “Sacred Marriage” by Gary Thomas which says:
“What if God designed marriage to make us holy more than to make us happy?”
Now, you are probably wondering why, I, a woman who has been married for only a short time, wanted to write about following after Jesus even when marriage is hard. I mean, what could I have to offer with only 6.5 short years of marriage under my belt?
In the 9 years that Jake and I have been together and 6 and a half that we have been married, the Lord has taught us plenty about our relationship and how to follow after Him even when marriage gets hard.
When other couples seek our counsel, it usually is surrounding the topic of communication. Now, we are definitely not perfect, but we have worked very hard to learn how to communicate effectively with each other. The one thing we remind all couples is that no matter what you may disagree on, remember that you chose to live life with this person and, therefore, you are for them.
See, if marriage isn’t about our happiness but another avenue that the Lord uses to carve holiness out of our lives, then remembering truth in even the hard-relational times is key. Yes, you may be married, but guess what?
Your identity is not your spouse’s wife or husband.
Your identity is still a Child of God first and foremost.
The greatest example of a holy marriage is one that combines two individuals, broken in this world but whole in Jesus, coming together and living in such a way that represents Christ to one another. I was 21 years old, not thinking I would live to see my 22nd birthday, when my life turned 180 and the Lord began to show me so much. Within 2 years, I was surrounded by 3 marriages that were striving for holiness and not happiness.
I think that is the key in following Jesus, even when marriage is hard. We must remember, it isn’t about our happiness but about being Jesus to even our spouse in the good and bad times so that we become more righteous for the name of Jesus.
Something I say to other wives and a motto I strive to live out in my marriage is, “If I’m not Jesus to my husband, who will be?”. Is this easy? Absolutely not. Yet, the Lord instills in us His spirit to live out His truth.
I challenge you, as you look at the marriages around you or even your own; observe the goal of that marriage. Observe the fruits of that marriage’s labor. Does that marriage, even your own, point your spouse and/or others back to Jesus and His truth?