Wednesday, June 13, 2012

More Than Happily Ever After

Here's another post inspired by Gary Thomas' book Sacred Influence.  In the ninth chapter you will find this paragraph:

"For some women, marriage is the ultimate life goal--once attained, what's to try for?  When you stop trying to please your man, eventually, by degrees, you lose him; or at the least, you lose the intimacy that leads to influence.  You become someone other than the person he married, and the two of you begin to drift apart."

I agree, and I'd take the first like a step farther.  I would say most women think marriage is the ultimate goal, especially single women.  For proof of this, look at what our brains feast on--

happily ever after...

You see the three dots at the end of that statement?  That line always follows the wedding of the princess, and the three dots give us a signal that the rest doesn't matter.  The important thing is that she won the guy and got a ring on her finger, after that who cares right?

Wrong.  Just like our marriage to Christ through salvation is not the end but the beginning, so is your marriage to your husband.  Don't go too far to think that your life won't begin until marriage, just think realistically.  In married life, life still happens.  You still have crazy roller-coaster days.  You still have nights that you can't sleep.  You still get stressed out with work, and you still want to be alone at times.  Part of marriage is learning to take these challenges head on and love another person through the difficulties anyway.  

As single women, we have got to get our heads out of the sky when it comes to fantasizing about marriage.  It will be fun don't get me wrong, but it will be hard too.  We have to prepare ourselves for a life-long journey of patience, trust, and forgiveness.  This journey starts at salvation, and is taken to a new level with marriage.  

How many people have you seen get saved at a camp or rededication service who get extremely emotional and excited about what God is doing, they make big promises and buy fancy Bibles, all in celebration of this new lifestyle they are choosing, only to fall off the face of the earth a few months later?  Why did this happen?  Because they were caught up in the fluff and not prepared for the real stuff.  Life is tough sometimes.  

King Solomon says we all go through different seasons of life.  "There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven...a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance.." (Ecclesiastes 3)  Godly wisdom tells us to expect all things, and Jesus was very straightforward when he told us the life of a Christian was full of persecution, trials, and tribulations.  So why wouldn't you expect that?  Why wouldn't you definitely expect that in a union of two sinful souls, namely a marriage?

So what can you start doing now to prepare for life?  Maybe it's time to realize it's not all about you, it never was, and it never will be.  Life is about God, plain and simple.  This is the hardest thing a human can accept, but the most rewarding when he does.  Don't let pride and fantasy get in your way, count the costs before you build your house (Luke 14:28.)

Marriage, much like salvation, is something we will always have to work towards.  We are constantly trying to improve our relationships both with God and men, that is what our calling is (Matthew 22:37-40)!  Philippians 2:12-13 tells us we must do this with our salvation: "Therefore, my dear friends, as yu ohave always obeyed--not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence--continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose."

Work out your salvation.

You have to work at it.  That's why without a daily quiet time Christians perish.  That's why life without a community causes us to wilt.  Those kind of actions are active, they are passive, and it's just like telling the devil he can roll over on us while we raise our white flags.  That's cowardly and childish.  Anything worth having is worth fighting for--daily.  It's like Noah says in the movie The Notebook:

"So it's not gonna be easy. It's gonna be really hard. We're gonna have to work at this every day, but I want to do that because I want you. I want all of you, for ever, you and me, every day."

The same guy that uttered those words spent the last part of his life trying to win the heart of his wife--every single day.  Despite her memory loss, Noah spent each day reminding Allie of the love they once shared and how much he wanted to take care of her and be with her forever and ever.  That's what marriage is about, and that's the stubborn intensity we must approach it with.  

2 Corinthians 2:11 
"...in order that Satan might not outwit us.  For we are not unaware of his schemes."