I remember a time when I questioned almost daily whether I had married the right man or my “soulmate.” I had fallen for the perverted cultural mindset that marriage should be all about me, and making my life better … even easier.
So whenever my marriage hurt more than it encouraged me, I swallowed the lie that I must have married the wrong person.
Now before I launch into what I’m about to say, I want to clarify that I’m talking about the drudgery and difficulty of two sinners (even saved ones) mingling their lives together. Most of all, I am NOT talking about enduring abuse and/or infidelity in marriage.
I’ll be sharing in a future post what I consider to be warning signs that abuse and/or infidelity are taking place; but for now, I’m talking about the disillusionment that occurs along the way in just about every marriage.
I’m also talking specifically about spouses who are Christ-followers and not about unbelieving spouses. Christ-followers have a different God-given mandate and calling on their lives, so they will never find peace as long as they put their personal desires above God’s.
Back in the day, my fulfillment in life and marriage fluctuated and floundered, that was, until I uncovered the reasons why God never intended or wanted me to be married to my soulmate. Which, by the way, is another lie, since there is no such thing as a soulmate!
[bctt tweet=”Sorry to burst your bubble, if that’s what you’ve believed all along! #nosuchthing #soulmatefantasy” username=”BethSteffaniak”]
Here are 4 reasons why God doesn’t want that for our marriages:
So that you will be …
You might be thinking, “Really? Am I supposed to be glad about that?” 😉
Well, yes! Yes, we should …
Because being married to our real flesh and blood, sinful—not to mention, difficult—spouses, guarantees that we will struggle with their, as well as our own sinfulness and limitations. And THAT is where God, the Great Redeemer and Refiner, does some of His best work (James 1:2-4)!
Unfortunately, I learned this the hard way by kicking and screaming all the way to the altar. But once I came to the end of myself—surrendering my self-sufficiency and unrealistic expectations to the Lord—I experienced God’s rejuvenation and joy in marriage. None of that could have happened without God’s refinement of my heart.
2. Strengthened in your faith
My faith was weak and flabby in the early and messiest years of my marriage. It wasn’t until I abandoned my hopes for some easy-to-live-with-spouse and ditched my dreams of a one-heartbeat-kind-of-marriage that I found what I was hoping for—satisfaction in Christ alone. The result? Stronger faith (2 Cor. 1:8-9).
3. Reflect Christ
As a Christ-follower, God was busy using my discontentment in marriage to draw me back to His side. It was then and there that I could become the best
version reflection of Christ in me (Philippians 2:15). Until I was ready to die to my own desires so that Christ could live in and through me, I would remain disappointed in marriage and dim in the light of Christ.
4. Modeling the Mystery of Christ’s Love to the World
No one loves a good mystery more than me, and it seems like this is true of God as well. Now, even though God wants us to enjoy our marriages, He’s got a much higher purpose behind the believer’s marriage. This mystery is outlined in Ephesians 5: 22-33, with the most striking evidence being …
“‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’ This mystery is profound, but I am speaking about Christ and the church.” ~Eph. 5:31-32
When we continue to act in loving ways with our mates, especially when they act unloving in return, Christ gets the glory and attention for that success. This “odd love” that a believing spouse demonstrates draws the world to Christ’s mysterious, foreign, and divine love for the church. And who doesn’t want to play a part in that Love Story?
[bctt tweet=”Marriage is God’s mystery—drawing the world to the love of Christ! Ephesians 5:31-32 #beTHATkindofspouse” username=”BethSteffaniak”]
In what way has God used one of these four benefits in your life and marriage?
What has been the hardest reality for you to accept about the difficulty of marriage?
Here are some lovely linkups I join – Inspire Me Monday, Moments of Hope, Literary Musing Mondays, Dream Together Linkup, Jennifer Dukes Lee, Glimpses Linkup, Tune in Thursday, Break Through Homeschooling Linkup, Coffee for Your Heart, Sitting Among Friends, Faith and Friends, Fresh Market Friday, and DanceWithJesusFriday