A few years ago, I facilitated a small-group DVD-series by Gary Thomas entitled Sacred Marriage. It is an excellent study based on his book by the same name. The bottom-line emphasis of the book/study is to challenge us to consider that God may well have designed marriage not so much to make us happy but instead to make us holy.
What is fundamental to the journey of holiness? Confronting my sin and repenting; turning away from it and heading an entirely different (Godly) direction. But before I can do that, I need to see my sin, have it exposed. And Gary suggests that one of the best tools to root out sin in a person’s life is to let them get married and he expresses this in no uncertain terms:
“If you are afraid to face your sin, don’t get married
because this relationship will expose your sin like nothing else.”
The above truth is really the foundation of any ministry I do with couples. While there are always practical elements to be considered (which are generally the only “together” sessions I do), the biggest challenge most married couples have is that their spouse “brings out the worst” in them.
Regrettably, when the worst in them (their sin) is exposed, they choose not to face their sin but to either run from their sin (“I married the wrong person”) or shift the attention away from themselves onto their spouse (“If he/she would just change I would not feel and act this way”). These two choices have their origin in the errant belief that God designed marriage primarily to make us happy.
The moment I will accept that God is using my spouse to point out where I need to be shaped and conformed to the image of Christ, face and own what is being revealed in me, and then cooperate with God to resolve it, the entire dynamic of marriage changes. And oddly enough, the more I submit to God as He uses my marriage to do His refining work to make me holy, the happier my marriage will likely become.
P.S. Since almost all of the couples in my groups have children, it appears that I need to write a book and develop a DVD series entitled Sacred Parenting. My quote would be:
“If you are afraid to face your sin, don’t have children
because those relationships will expose your sin like nothing else.”
Parents, I know you know what I mean. (smile)