I felt like since I have a lot of experience in marriage and people should listen to my advice and thoughts, I would write a blog post on marriage.
Please. I’m joking.
I do, however, want to give my thoughts on how marriage has been for our first two years. As most know, marriage can be rather difficult, but it’s also one of the most rewarding things. So for this post, I just want to chat about a few things I’ve seen/experienced in the two years Shale and I have been married. Specifically, I want to write about three things it has revealed: sin, dependence, and the gospel.
Above all else, marriage reveals sin. It has put the wicked sin in my heart on full display. From pride to selfishness, the sin that still resides in my heart crawls out through my words and actions more times than I’d like.
Do you want God to show you the sin in your life? Get married.
Getting married to Shale has magnified the sin in my life. Does it hurt when I see it? Of course. It also hurts when I know my sin hurts her. Marriage also is a tremendous help in one’s fight against sin. If you’re honest in your marriage, your spouse can come alongside you and help fight it.
But why does marriage reveal the depths of sin in our heart? It reveals it because marriage functions properly when each person is not thinking of themselves first. And this collides headfirst with our natural inclination to think of ourselves first.
However, this gives me the opportunity to be the chief repenter in our home. As the husband to Shale, I have been called by God to shepherd her heart, to love her “as Christ loved the church” (Ephesians 5:25); I have been commanded to “wash her in the word.” I can’t do that if I’m not repenting daily.
In marriage, our sinful nature shouldn’t be an excuse for behaving poorly or treating each other with disrespect; it is an opportunity for husbands to be good repenters. And this, I might add, is easier said than done. I’ve learned that in tough ways. But it’s the truth.
There have been times in our marriage where we really had to depend not only on each other, but wholly on the Lord. When we had the blighted ovum, we had no choice but to depend on the Lord (while depending on each other). That was the hardest thing either of us have ever experienced. It showed us that we can’t do this on our own. We need each other, and most of all, we need God (together).
My need for dependence has been shown throughout our two years of marriage. I need Shale. As the Lord said in Genesis 2:18, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” I wasn’t meant to do life by myself. (Some are, however.) God created Shale exactly for me because not only did He know we’d get married, but He planned it.
Shale is my better half. Sometimes, I can only get through my day when I see or talk to her. That’s the dependence I’m talking about. Marriage has revealed my need for dependence. I don’t exist for myself. And that’s good.
Shale has always been wonderful to lean on because she is understanding and supportive. From day one, she’s supported the call of God on my life to be a pastor. She has supported me through seminary. She has challenged me on things, but she has been my biggest fan as well. And I love her for that.
Revealing the Gospel
Marriage is a beautiful picture of the gospel. In Ephesians 5:22-32, the Apostle Paul tells us that the mystery of marriage is that it’s a picture of the gospel: the marriage between Christ and His church. The meaning of marriage is to point of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Tim Challies echoes this sentiment:
Marriage is not ultimately about relational fulfillment or sexual fulfillment or procreation. All of those things are tied up in it, but the ultimate purpose of marriage is to serve as a portrait of the real marriage (1).
This real marriage is, like I said above, the marriage between Jesus and His church. Jesus sacrificed Himself for His bride. He loves the church and “gave Himself up for her” (Ephesians 5:25). He died for His bride, the church.
This breathtaking reality is how my marriage with Shale–and all marriages–are supposed to look like. I have been called by God to give sacrificial love for Shale. Not the sappy, shallow, Hollywood love of the day; no, this love is sacrificial. It is intentional. It is with purpose. Emotions are there, yes. But even more so, I actively choose to love my wife everyday, for better or worse.
And Christ does the same for His bride. Us.
I’ve learned more than these three things over these first two years, but these were the ones that stood out. Marriage reveals your sin; it reveals your need for dependence on each other and God; and most of all, it reveals the gospel.
God could’ve made marriage mundane. He couldn’t just made it purely for pleasure. But He didn’t. He made it a picture of the gospel, of our redemption.
How amazing is that?
Soli Deo Gloria