This is the last post in Secrets of a Newlywed, a series where I open up and share some of the lessons, insights and understandings--the little secrets--that have made my marriage the wedded bliss that it is. Like anything else, they are easier said than done. But I know from personal experience that when I do manage to live them out, I've seen what beautiful fruit they bear in my relationship with my husband.
So, today, I share another with you: That Which Sanctifies Us.
sanctify: to make holy; to set apart as sacred;
to purify or free from sin
to purify or free from sin
Thumb through the Bible and you’ll see how God constantly compares our relationship with him as one of being married. We are called his bride, he is the bridegroom. Heaven will be like a wedding ceremony. We have made a covenant with him, to be his people, not unlike the wedding vows we recite today. “For better or worse, till death do us part…”
And I believe that in much the same way, our earthly marriage is a tool that God uses to prepare us for that heavenly matrimony: Like no other relationship or experience, my marriage has been the greatest sanctifying force in my life. It has been through this union that I have seen my selfish self exposed like never before, that I have realized how imperfect I really am.
Because before being married, I could close the door on my problems. If a friend or relative or coworker was bothering me, I could get away from them, ignore them and let it wear off without every really addressing it. Not so with a spouse. You are forced to confront your demons, you are forced to realize the role you play in these problems, you are forced to acknowledge truths about yourself that you never imagined.
This is the blessing tied up in marriage. Sure marriage is great because you always have a best friend. You don’t have to show up at parties alone. You have someone you can always confide in, someone who knows you better than anyone else in the world. But even that—all the heartwarming, lovey-dovey stuff that sends us swooning—isn’t what makes marriage so powerful, so beautiful.
Marriage has the potential to transform us into a better person, if we let it. If we’re willing to look our own sins square in the face and confront them, then we can see our hearts softened and start looking more Christ-like.
On the one hand it’s the hardest thing about marriage, because it’s a process that is never without pain. But when you’re willing to walk through that pain, it also because the most beautiful as the sins and selfishness begins to be pulled away.
We must make it a point to be willing to walk through these scuttles and skirmishes that come with any marriage. We must be willing to look at them rather than the other way, willing to look more at our ourselves and our own sins and inadequacies rather than those of our spouse. We have to trust that it’s for our own good to deal with the problems and see the parts we played in them.
Therein lies the potential for transformation. A transformation that prepares us for our next and eternal marriage: to the Bridegroom. In that way, marriage is not just about us, during this time on earth. But it is a means to point us to the union that awaits us, a means of teaching us what that relationship requires.
And because of that—because of that sanctifying aspect that comes with any and every marriage, which cannot be avoided no matter how perfectly suited we are for one another—we take joy in these daily struggles to learn to love selflessly. They are not done in vain!
(To read through all the posts in this series, click here.)
A Prayer for Love
I'm a sucker for romance: Why I love reading the Old Testament Prophets