Wednesday, May 14, 2014

For Our 9th Anniversary

Nine years ago (exactly, as I am writing this), Emily and I stood before each other, our church, our families, our friends, and our God and made a covenant to become one flesh in gospel-centered marriage. More than simply getting to marry my best friend or to spend my life with a beautiful woman by my side, that commitment sparked a transformation in me that will be life-long.

Yes, my commitment to that covenant is stronger today than it was nine years ago, but even with how important mutual commitment is to the health of a marriage, something greater sustains our unity. This concept is what has transformed me. I am more reminded every day at the importance of the good news of Jesus Christ's life, death, and resurrection in my place as the foundation and fuel for a life-giving and joy-filled marriage. Circumstances change, situations remain difficult, children come (and sometimes go) (or sometimes fall on their face on a gravel street), yet the Solid Rock never changes. And for believers, He is always present and gives hope for whatever comes.

So whether our bodies stay the way they are or not (they won't), whether our kids are healthy or not (won't always be), whether ministry is relatively easy or not (nope), whether there is a "spark" in our relationship today or not (unfortunately won't), we can say with Job: "The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD" (Job 1:21). Why? Because Jesus has never left us alone. In his book, What Did You Expect?, Paul Tripp says that there is always a third Person in your marriage, and He is way more committed to its fruitfulness than you are. That truth gives me courage to fight through the days when I selfishly feel less excited about loving my wife sacrificially, and it gives me hope through the (much fewer) days when she acts selfishly. But hear me in this: in a marriage, when both husband and wife are committed to submitting to God's sanctifying journey, that's where abundant life and "fulfillment" are found for a couple. It's not in looking out for #1 or in "doing me" or in pleasure-seeking with a newer model; we find joy in giving up our life for another. That's what Jesus did for us (Hebrews 12:2), so in His power we are to do that for others (1 John 4:7-12).

So today, I celebrate and honor and enjoy not only my wife of nine years (whom I love more white-hot passionately than ever), but more than that I celebrate and enjoy Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith. His glory and fame is the purpose of our lives, and He is why we are married. May He get the honor He is due through these willing servants/friends/children He has chosen.

P.S. Click here for a good picture of sacrifice (and resulting joy) in a tough marriage situation.