Creating Caring Communities That Transform Lives
Creating Caring Communities That Transform Lives
Creating
Caring
Communities
That
Transform
Lives
Creating Caring Communities That Transform Lives
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Monday, November 22, 2010 @ 4:47:00 AM - Written by Doug Hignell -

"What if God designed marriage to make us holy more than to make us happy?"1 While vacationing this summer with friends I was introduced to this question in an excellent video and a book by Gary Thomas. The concept was brought home as I prepared to officiate for the wedding of our daughter, Keri, to a wonderful man named Steve. Keri had experienced approximately seven years as a single mom with three kids and God miraculously brought her and Steve together.

As I prepared for the wedding by reading Gary's book I was struck by the fact that marriage calls us to a new and selfless life. As Gary says, "The real transforming work of marriage is the twenty-four-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week commitment. This is the crucible that grinds and shapes us into the character of Jesus Christ."2
 
Gary describes how God uses marriage to build our character in a variety of ways. To name just a few, marriage3:
  • Teaches us to love
  • Exposes our sins
  • Teaches us to forgive and ask forgiveness (humility)
  • Teaches us to respect and honor another
  • Enlarges our servant's heart

Whew! This is challenging stuff. You mean Kaylinn is not my wife for the key purpose of meeting my needs? That God's design for our marriage is to make both of us more holy and not just to make us happy? At first glance, God's priority and focus in our marriage for holiness seemed a bit daunting. What I am discovering along the way, however, is that when I partner with God for holiness, happiness is often the result. It isn't that God doesn't care about my happiness; He just knows best that holiness will lead there. I wish I had understood and internalized this truth 35 years ago, but it is not too late to continue to grow and make changes. Since officiating at the wedding my love and care for Kaylinn has increased. I find myself being much more proactive in meeting her needs, even something as simple as washing the dishes without being asked. After all, they are my dirty dishes too!

I am learning after years of marriage "that a good marriage is not something you find, it's something you work for. It takes struggle. You must crucify your selfishness. You must at times confront, and at other times confess. The practice of forgiveness is essential. This is undeniably hard work! But eventually it pays off. Eventually, it creates a relationship of beauty, trust, and mutual support."4 I am looking forward to Keri and Steve walking out the gift of their new marriage and encouraging them with what I am learning. With every year that goes by I am finding that the rewards of marriage are beyond my expectations.

1. Gary Thomas, Sacred Marriage, (Grand Rapids, Michigan Zondervan 2000), 13
2. Thomas, 22
3. Thomas, specific chapter topics
4. Thomas, 133

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