Challenges, Love, Purpose

The True Beauty of Marriage

Everyone wants a happy marriage, and happy marriages are very good! However, happiness is not what makes marriage most beautiful. This may come as a shock, or you may know exactly where I’m going with this. Either way, I hope you learn something as you read on.

Selena and I have been through plenty… plenty good and plenty bad. We’ve experienced both because of things we did (we’ve made wise choices and poor ones), and also because of reasons outside of our control. In fact, you can probably say the same!

Every marriage has ups and downs. Still, why do we stick together through it all? Is it to get through the hard times to enjoy the good times? Or is it something else?

  • What is the grand purpose of marriage?
  • Why commit and stick with one person for life, especially if (when) that person lets us down?
  • Why should we fight with grit and honor to sustain our marriages?
  • What makes it all worth it?

I’m asking these questions because the answer embodies everything we’re trying to communicate on this blog.

The grand purpose of marriage

We believe the highest purpose of marriage is to glorify God and bring us closer to Christ by teaching us the depths of his grace and love. That single purpose is the absolute foundation of why we’re married, and why we continue to write in hopes of helping other married couples. That purpose is what drives us forward when times are tough and keeps us humble when everything is going well.

Christ is not merely a means for a better relationship with your spouse, your spouse is a means for a better relationship with Christ.

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We desperately want you to grasp God’s purpose in your marriage because if you do, we know you’ll be ever closer to believing and knowing the Gospel – the good news that Christ lived, died, and rose again so you’d be in right-standing with God. We are saved by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. That is the Gospel.

Consider Ephesians 2:8:

“By grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.”

My marriage is the absolute loudest megaphone God uses to show me the depth of His grace. Selena would say the same. It’s how he’s made Ephesians 2:8 understandable in our lives.

To illustrate, let’s get personal. Through our marriage, God has helped us understand the Gospel in at three primary ways:

1) By grace alone.

We’ve realized that any understanding and acceptance of Jesus on our parts is only by God’s grace. The same is true for having each other. God, in His good grace, has given us to each other as a gift…one neither of us deserved. When we live in light of God’s generosity, we’re grateful for each other and it compels us to love one another as we are loved in Jesus.

When we see each other as a gift we didn’t earn, we tend to treat one another with honor, respect, and grace that is edifying and marriage strengthening.

2.) Through faith alone.

There’s nothing we can do to earn Christ’s love. We can only believe and trust in the finality of his work on the cross. In marriage, we have little control over the behavior of our spouses. They’re human, and they sin. But it’s through faith that we trust God’s work in their hearts (and our own), and we’re given peace and hope to stay the course while God continues His good work.

It’s a good heart check. When worry, strife, and anxiety creep in because of life or each other, we’re learning to ask ourselves “how are we not believing the Gospel in this situation”. The Holy Spirit is faithful to convict and correct wherever we’ve tried to put ourselves (or someone or something else) in God’s rightful place.

3.) In Christ alone.

Christ alone sustains us, and Christ alone deserves all credit for any good we experience in marriage. This simultaneously removes the weight or pressure to make our marriages “right”, and gives him all glory when things are good. When Jesus is at the center, we’re both fixed on him which inevitably makes us want to love one another more purely.

Your marriage, God’s purpose

Wherever you’re at in your marriage, if you’re reading this I hope you’re encouraged. The very fact that you’re hearing about Jesus is evidence of God’s call and grace on your life! Rest easy. God is at work, and He’s enough for your wherever you’re at. Our prayer is that you would grow ever closer to Christ, and that you see your spouse as a partner in God’s relentless pursuit of you both.

Question:
How has your marriage taught you more about grace? Love? Hope?


 

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  • CJ

    I’d love to resonate this message that marriage is the reflection of God’s grace in my life and that my marital covenant should not be based on the fleeting feeling of happiness, but this has not been the case. During the tough times and trials in life when I sought encouragement and shelter in the storm (through a layoff and a firing from two jobs in a 4-year span and a year of unemployment), my wife decided to take that storm and disengage from our marriage and me.

    I admit during those years I became a man/husband that I am not proud of. I got angry and bitter at God for allowing those trials and storms and my venom spewed to everyone around me — especially my wife and children. For that, I am extremely sorrowful.

    And it was during this time that my wife decided that she no longer loved me and went so far as to have an emotional affair over the course of a 2-year span with another man in our church that was finally exposed this past summer.

    While we are still picking up the pieces of our 20-plus year marriage and I wait and pray patiently every day that she will some day soften her heart and fall in love with me again and we set the foundation on Christ alone individually and as a couple, I pray that future storms and trials will bring us closer together and not destroy and erode our martial covenant. I pray that one day we will become a testimony of God’s grace and that He can reconcile us and redeem our covenant that I still cherish, for she is the woman that I do love and want to spend the rest of my life with!

    • J

      Praying for you and your marriage. God honors your commitment to making it work according to His Purpose. Hebrews 11:6 Be encouraged!

    • Leticia Shafer

      WoW CJ! Thanks for being so bold at sharing. Praying for you and your marriage now.

    • Felicia

      Wow, I am in similar situation. But my husband had the affair. I held on but I have been through very difficult times and still going through. But, God is amazing! Despite my heartaches, disappointments, frustration, doubts, loneliness, I am still hanging in. Definitely, not by my strength, my pillow stains can testify. Where I am weak He is strong. My marriage is not where it could be because of the harden heart of my husband. But, as for me and my house, I declare that I will serve the Lord, even if it’s me alone the Holy Spirit is there. Amen.

      • CJ

        Thank you for the response, Felicia. We are about 8 months from when the affair was exposed. She is having trouble with me in that I get triggered by songs we used to enjoy together or even watching TV or a movie and anything that has infidelity in it will get me quiet. I told her that it is just painful and very raw for me right now, but she has always been one that has shown very little compassion — even during the best of times — in our marriage, let alone now that she has disconnected from me and is now “trying” to fall in love with me again.

        At times, I really, really wonder if it is worth fighting to save a covenant that I made before my God. I know it would not be good for my children and it wouldn’t be good for my wife and I, either, in the long run and that Satan would just gain another Christian marriage under his belt — which I do not want to happen. But I get so tired of waiting and playing by her rules to get back in her good graces again (strange since she was the one who betrayed me, but says that our marriage issues led us to why she did what she did — which to me is a very lame excuse for her making the choices that she did. If she was truly committed, she would have tried harder to work on the marriage first instead of giving up).

        So that is where I am. We are in counseling and trying to work out our communication and connection skills, both trying to just focus on Jesus first individually and laying a better foundation for a new marriage, and for me just to pray that some day she will soften her heart enough to love, respect and cherish me like I do her (I know that is strange to say, but I still truly love her through all this garbage).

        Praying for you, too. It is so tough as the spouse who really wants to save the marriage and you wonder if it is even worth the struggle!

    • Gil

      Thank you CJ. It gets better. Five years ago, my wife and I separated for about 6 months. We have worked hard to repair our marriage even through her relationship with another man. This past Christmas she even said “I love you” for the first time in those 5 years. We just celebrated our 28th anniversary and I still believe in our marriage and vows. Stay strong!

  • J.J. Molstad

    This was amazing encouragement and reality check for me. Getting back to basics is never a bad idea!

  • Ashok Agrawal

    T blog IS fantastic and It is very great post for marriages I really like it
    Thanks for sharing
    You want to get marriages in India too