Monday, 17 January 2011

Marriage Is Not a Destination

From his book What Did You Expect Paul Tripp provides the following insight:

"Although you are to be married for life, your marriage is not a destination…Marriage is meant to be a tool in God’s hands to expose your heart and to drive you to the end of yourself. Marriage is meant to expose your self-focus and self-reliance. It is meant to convince you that you are needier than you thought you were and to encourage you that God’s grace has more power to transform than you thought it did. Marriage is meant to teach you how to give, love, serve, forgive, support, encourage, and wait…So God is not only working to form your marriage into what he designed it to be; no, more foundationally he is working to reform you into what you were created to be. It is only as we grow and change that our marriages can thrive."   
Excuse me – was this excerpt meant to be encouraging? Well it depends on your view of marriage. If you came into marriage with the view of what marriage would do for you then Paul’s description of what marriage is meant to do probably left you flabbergasted.

“Drive me to the end of myself.” “Expose my self-focus.” “I’m needier than I thought I was.” Marriage is to teach me how to give, love, serve, forgive, support, encourage and wait? Who in their right mind would sign up for that program? What happened to joy, intimacy, companionship, and they lived happily ever after?

I would subscribe that a couple who truly understands that (a) marriage is for the purpose of glorifying God and (b) for the purpose of growing each of them spiritually will experience an intimacy and companionship that will bring more joy than they ever could have imagined. That does not mean that this couple will not experience bumps in the road, that’s part of the transforming growth that will help each of them be the person that God intended.

Then the serpent said did God really say, “you must give, love, serve, forgive, support, encourage, and wait?” Then the serpent said, “You will not surely have an unhappy marriage if you fail to do these things.” Sound familiar?

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