Monday, 19 November 2012


In his book The Me I Want to Be John Ortberg refers to FTT, a medical diagnosis that gets entered into the chart of an infant who, for unknown reasons, is unable to gain weight or grow.  “Psychologists have begun to speak of what is perhaps the largest mental health problem in our day.  It is not depression or anxiety, at least not at clinical levels.  It is languishing – a ‘failure to thrive’ (FTT).”  Ortberg then goes on to define languishing as “the condition of someone who may be able to function but has lost a sense of hope and meaning.  Languishing is not the presence of mental illness; it is the absence of mental and emotional vitality…a weariness of soul and an inability to delight in life.”

Unfortunately these terms describe far too many married couples who claim to be Christians.  I do not want to offend anyone or presume that I know the condition of someone’s heart.  One’s salvation is only known by the Lord.  However, I do believe that the primary purpose of marriage is to glorify God.  To that end I believe God wants us to be filled with his joy.  We as Christians should need lose hope or meaning.  We need never lose our mental or emotional vitality.

Before you get to ticked or say “you have no idea of what being married to _______ is like” I would say you are right.  I also believe that God is more concerned about our holiness than our happiness.  I know even the most committed of Christians experience some horrific tragedies.  I know that some of the most sincere Christians that have ever walked this planet have suffered from depression, anxiety and other maladies.  I also know what it was like to be in a difficult marriage prior to the untimely death of my first wife.

Robertson & Muriel
I know too that God doesn’t want us to look to our circumstances to give us joy; to look to another human for hope; or to depend on what we have or don’t have to give our life meaning.  If your marriage is failing to thrive it is not glorifying God.  One only needs to hear the Robertson McQuilkin story to understand how even in the midst of incredible emotional pain a child of God can express joy.  McQuilkin was the president of Columbia International University in South Carolina as his wife, Muriel, battled Alzheimer’s disease. At the height of his career he resigned to take care of his wife.

If yours is a marriage that is FTT, seek a Biblical marriage counselor.  God wants you to have a marriage that is flourishing.


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