Marriage is like putting two betta fish is the same fish bowl. Betta fish have a particular inclination that makes them territorial, aggressive, and desiring of a place to hide. Therefore, two of them in the same tank is a recipe for disaster. They usually end up fighting or killing each other. Marriage is comprised of a man and woman inclined to sin, rebellious behavior, and seeking the fulfillment of evil desires. The shocking truth is God chose marriage as a tool to sanctify sinners, which seems like a bad idea. Each individual in a marriage marries into sin. The sin that affects one spouse will now affect them both. Marriage seems like pouring water on a drowning man. How can marriage be used as a tool for sanctification?
I have been married almost a year and the truth is I am not the same guy my wife married. Marriage has sanctified me in ways my singlehood never could. The process has been difficult and uncomfortable. Yet it has been more beneficial than I will ever know. In this blog, I will use my experiences to demonstrate several lessons I have learned from marriage and how it has been advantageous in conforming me into the image of Christ.
Marriage Exposes Sin
Marriage is full of sinful land mines. They are hidden within each person and marriage seems to bring them closer to the surface. Stepping on these mines results in an eruption of ungodly thoughts, words, or deeds. I came into our marriage believing I had what it took to have a wonderful marriage, yet unprepared for our sinful mines. I read books about marriage and listened to sermons about marriage. In addition, I paid attention to all the information in my classes pertaining to marriage. However, I was still unprepared for the eruptions.
After several months of marriage, I discovered pride had been hidden in the depths of my heart. Selfishness made several appearances and worry came out of hiding. Since I have been a believer I never doubted the sinfulness of man, although marriage has amplified my view of my personal sins. Marriage let me know that I am in worse condition than I thought and my sin is worse than I thought. In Dave Harvey’s book “When Sinners Say I Do,” he explains how the “the biggest problem in my marriage is my sin.” I have never doubted this truth, although now that I am married, I have personal examples to affirm it. Although, my sin was not the only aspect of my life exposed.
Marriage Exposes Faith
“You of little faith.” I have read this phrase numerous times through bible studies, quiet times, and sermons, however, it didn’t convict me until I got married. Before I was married I was fully convinced I believed in God’s sovereignty. Marriage brought to my attention the flaw in my theology in the sovereignty of God. Through countless difficult conversations with my wife, I discovered I am fully persuaded that God has saved me from my sin, but not sustained me in my calling. Prior to marriage, I assumed I at least had “mustard seed” faith, but what marriage dug up was microscopic faith.
Marriage Exposes Love
God always loved Israel and stayed faithful to them in the Old Testament. It never occurred to me the difficulty of staying. He saw their unfiltered wretchedness, idolatry, and rebellion. His people frequently sinned against him. Yet He refused to make a covenant with another group of people and He refused to withhold His love. Marriage will push your love to its limits.
My wife and I have seen each others unfiltered wretchedness. We have acted ungodly towards one another. We have repeatedly sinned against one another. Our sinfulness results in struggle, conflict, and hurt feelings. Observing the sinful attributes in your spouse and being sinned against, constantly test the limits of your love. I am fully convinced that one of the most moving statements you can make to a spouse is akin to “I have seen all your sin, your ungodly behavior has wounded me, but I love you like Christ loved the church, and I am staying no matter what”
Lately, I have been more aware of my need for the gospel because of my marriage. Marriage has unveiled the sins that are deserving of God’s wrath and my undersized faith. I am too infected by sin to be considered worth saving, and my faith is too weak to be seen as desirable. I need the gospel so I don’t fall into a pit of despair. When my sin is laid bare I remember Jesus bore my sin on the cross. When my faith is revealed as insufficient I remember how he has taken care of my biggest issues and he will not stop taking care of me. Also, when my love seems to have reached its limits, I remember Christ gave it all for the church and I must for my wife. Only the gospel sweetens what seems like a recipe for disaster.