A few months ago I ran across some of my old journals from the early days in my marriage. As I scanned over the many pages, I found a statement that reflected something of a watershed moment in my young marriage. I wrote . . .
“I thought love was supposed to be easy—to brim up from inside and flow out without effort. In fact, it should take effort to hold it back! It’s never that way anymore it seems. All those old fairy tales are lies. They are just a pretty package with a beautiful bow and nothing inside. I’m not Cinderella and I didn’t marry Prince Charming or even Prince Nice!”
Obviously, I had a very unrealistic or romanticized view of how marriage should be. Whenever my husband and I had a conflict, in fact, whenever he said or did something that hurt my feelings, my trust in him as my “knight in shining armor” began to tarnish. This left me feeling disillusioned and dissatisfied with my husband. Over time, I began to believe that he was to blame for this dissatisfaction.
The only problem with that calculation was that he wasn’t and isn’t responsible for my satisfaction.
I say that because of two significant facts:
1. I am the only one responsible for how I feel.
No one can make me feel dissatisfied. When I choose to dwell on the negative, on what I feel I deserve, then I will naturally feel dissatisfied. And just as I can make the choice to dwell on the negative, I can choose to focus on the positive as well. The positive may not always be about my husband or my circumstances. The positive often has to do with the second significant fact . . .
2. Christ is the only One who can truly satisfy my soul longings.
Actually, I had realized that in my journal writings because the very next line read . . .
“Lord, help me to accept that fact. Help me to see that there is no Prince Charming—only the Prince of Peace.”
That was the beginning of an important turning point for me in my marriage. I was finally waking up to the truth that my husband should never be my knight in shining armor idol.*
I may have quit believing that lie way back when, but I still feel almost daily the temptation to look to Gary (or for that matter at a myriad of things) for my soul satisfaction. Thankfully, God also reminds me daily that “There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.” Proverbs 14:12 (NIV)
In other words, I’ve found the best way—the only way—to fill that heart hunger is in Christ alone.
“…And I pray that you, being rooted established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:17b-19 (NIV)
“The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying: ‘I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness.’” Jeremiah 31:3 (NIV)
*By the way, wishing for a “knight in shining armor” is not limited to women only. Men do their fair share of looking to a woman or two to fill the void. Just ask Arnold Schwarzenegger!