It is amazing how when two very flawed people come together in marriage, most expect the perfect marriage to be the result. At minimum, most expect to be happier together than they were by themselves. Analyzing those statements reveals our expectation that someone else will be able to do for us what we were never able to achieve on our own, feel fulfilled and happy!
Fortunately that isn’t how life or marriage works. Gayle and I have been married 42 years and 8 months as I write today. Many of those years I wasn’t terribly happy. Some years were better than others. We’ve enjoyed some amazing times but then it seemed I could always find something to be discontented about. Possibly, there is a direct correlation between the level of discontentment within marriage and the amount of work that needs done inside me!
For the last eight months I have been working hard on surrender, emotional and spiritual health and amazingly, the healthier I get the better our marriage gets! It dawned on me last week, I’ve been married to this amazing lady all this time and haven’t been able to fully enjoy her because my own growth has been stunted. Gayle would be the first to admit she isn’t perfect but the point is, when two imperfect people are joined in marriage, God intends to use that crucible, up close and personal, to refine us of our selfish ways.
I cannot be focused on my own happiness, or making sure my own needs are all being met and expect to find happiness. Until I can surrender my life fully to the Lord and to my partner and look for ways to serve them both with no expectation of return, my happiness will always be just out of reach.
When frustrated with your marriage ask simply, what is God trying to teach ME through this frustration? While you are waiting for the answer to come, put a serving towel over your arm and do something kind for your partner! Stay in the crucible till the refiner’s work is done and you may find a deeper joy than you thought was possible.