Marital Bliss

Yesterday, while scrolling through Facebook, I happened upon this photo (https://www.facebook.com/Always-Learning-299701696710545/).

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I could not believe what I was reading. As short as 8 hours previous to reading this, I would have almost completely agreed with this statement.

But … my life group is currently studying Timothy (Kathy) Keller’s, The Meaning of Marriage Facing the Complexities of Commitment with the Wisdom of God. The title of the chapter we discussed this week is “The Mission of Marriage.” The following chapter (we haven’t discussed) is “Loving the Stranger.” Mr. Keller addressed this exact scenario between his wife and himself.

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For what it is worth, I would like to address this notion of women being at home to cook, clean and care for children. Ironically enough, as I sat down to pen this, Lottie had just gone down for a nap, I had just finished picking up and vacuuming, making lasagna for supper, and got the dishwasher going while hand-washing the ones that wouldn’t, couldn’t or shouldn’t go in the dishwasher.

Of course, while completing the above tasks, beyond the thought of checking things off my to-do list, I thought, “won’t it be nice for Mike to come home to a clean house, hot meal, and happy baby.” But not once during my wandering thoughts, did I think he “EXPECTS” this to occur. Because, let’s face it, we live in the real world, where some days the house is turned upside down, there are more than a sink full of dishes and Lottie refused to take a nap. And you know what? That’s ok! Because guess what?!? Marriage is not meant to make you happy!

Marriage is meant to …

  1. Not leave you lonely
    • Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper as his complement.” – Genesis 2:18 HCSB
    • This is my love, and this is my friend – Song of Songs 5:16 HCSB
    • “The Genesis narrative is implying that our intense relational capacity, created and given to us by God, was not fulfilled completely by our ‘vertical’ relationship with him. God designed us to need ‘horizontal’ relationships with other human beings. That is why even in paradise, loneliness was a terrible thing (Keller, p120).”
  2. Provide Spiritual Transparency
    • Brothers, if someone is caught in any wrongdoing, you who are spiritual should restore such a person with a gentle spirit, watching out for yourselves so you also won’t be tempted. – Galatians 6:1 HCSB
    • “Christian friends are not only to honestly confess their own sins to each other, but they are to lovingly point out their friend’s sins if he or she is blind to them. You should give your Christian friends ‘hunting licenses’ to confront you if you are failing to live in line with your commitments (Keller, p125).”
  3. Provide Spiritual Constancy
    • “They are to identify and call out one another’s gifts, strengths and abilities. They are to build up each other’s faith through study and common worship (Keller, p125).”
  4. Give you a friend, best friend
    • “Friendship is a deep oneness that develops as two people, speaking the truth in love to each other, journey together to the same horizon (Keller, p127).”
  5. Sanctify You
    • …to make her holy, cleansing her with the washing of water by the word. He did this to present the church to Himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or anything like that, but holy and blameless. – Ephesians 5:26-27 HCSB
    • I am sure of this, that He who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. – Philippians 1:6 HCSB
    • Therefore we do not give up. Even though our outer person is being destroyed, our inner person is being renewed day by day. For our momentary light affliction is producing for us an absolutely incomparable eternal weight of glory. So we do not focus on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. – 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 HCSB
    • “During this life, as we trust in God and come to know him, we are ‘being transformed into Christ’s likeness from one degree of splendor to the next.’ Even (or especially) the sufferings we experience can make us wiser, deeper, stonger, better (Keller, p129).
  6. Provide a sojourner to The Great Horizon
    • “What, then, is marriage for? It is for helping each other to become our future glory-selves, the new creations that God will eventually make us. The common horizon husband and wife look toward is the Throne, and the holy, spotless, and blameless nature we will have (Keller, p131).”
    • “It is to look at another person and get a glimpse of the person God is creating, and to say, ‘I see who God is making you, and it excites me! I want to be part of that. I want to partner with you and God in the journey you are taking to his throne. And when we get there, I will look at your magnificence and say, ‘I always knew you could be like this. I got glimpses of it on earth, but now look at you!” Each spouse should see the great thing that Jesus is doing in the life of their mate through the Word, the gospel. Each spouse then should give him – or herself to be a vehicle for that work and envision the day that you will stand together before God, seeing each other present in spotless beauty and glory … And they hope to hear God say, ‘ Well done, good and faithful servants. Over the years you have lifted one another up to me. You sacrificed for one another. You held one another up with prayer and with thanksgiving. You confronted each other. You rebuked each other. You hugged and you loved each other and continually pushed each other toward me. And now look at you. You’re radiant (Keller, p132, 134).”
  7. Commitment
    • “Romance, sex, laughter, and plain fun are the by-products of this process of sanctification, refinement, glorification. Those things are important, but they can’t keep the marriage going through years and years of ordinary life. What keeps the marriage going is your commitment to your spouse’s holiness. You’re committed to his or her beauty. You’re committed to her honesty and passion for the things of God. That’s your job as a spouse. Any lesser goal than that, any smaller purpose, and you’re just playing at being married (Keller, p 135).
  8. Prioritize
    • “Paul is urging spouses to help their mates love Jesus more than them … The simple fact is that only if I love Jesus more than my spouse will I be able to serve their needs ahead of my own (Keller, p 135).”
    • After your relationship to Jesus, your marriage “must be more important to you than anything else.” No other human being should get more of your love, energy, industry, and commitment than your spouse (Keller, p 139).”
    • “In other words, Jesus asks for nothing that any spouse doesn’t ask for. ‘Put me first,’ he says, ‘have no other pseudo-gods before me.’ It is the same with marriage. Marriage won’t work unless you put your marriage and your spouse first, and you don’t turn good things, like parents, children, career, and hobbies, into pseudo-spouses (Keller, p143).”
    • “… the key to giving marriage that kind of priority is spiritual friendship (Keller, p144).”
    • “Spiritual friendship is eagerly helping one another know, serve, love, and resemble God in deeper and deeper ways (Keller, p145).”
  9. Be work
    • “A parishioner heard me preach on Ephesians 5 … She said, ‘I thought the whole point of marriage was to be happy! You make it sound like a lot of work.’ Is all this a lot of work? Indeed it is — but it is the work we were built to do. Does this mean ‘marriage is not about being happy; it’s about being holy’? Yes and no. As we have seen, that is too stark a contrast… Holiness gives us new desires and brings old desires into line with one another. So if we want to be happy in marriage, we will accept that marriage is designed to make us holy (Keller, p 145-146).
  10. Love
    • Stanley Hauerwas said, “We never know whom we marry; we just think we do … The primary problem is . . . learning how to love and care for the stranger to whom you find yourself married.”
    • Also see Ephesians 5:22-33

It is now about 24 hours since I started this blog. I put pen to paper yesterday. I got up this morning, while my husband tended to our daughter, and started transcribing from paper to screen. Mike went to work; I shuffled this off to the side. You see, I had bathrooms to clean, laundry to do, picking up, tending to the needs of my overly demanding toddler, and so on and so forth… Did Mike expect me to do any of the chores I did or didn’t list? Well, other than keeping Lottie alive, I don’t think he did. “Because expectations destroy relationships.”

 

Sources

The Meaning of Marriage Facing the Complexities of Commitment with the Wisdom of God; Timothy (Kathy) Keller

Always Learning Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/Always-Learning-299701696710545/?fref=photo

The Bible

 

 

 

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