Focus on the Family, this morning, was a repeat from yesterday. I was a little irritated at first. I listen every day that I deliver the papers. Of course, I can never listen to the whole thing. I’m constantly getting in and out of the car. Most days I listen to WCIC, the Christian contemporary radio station here in Peoria. The songs get old sometimes but I like the overnight DJ. He talks like no one is listening. Its pretty entertaining. Then at 5:00 they air Focus on the Family.
Today, was a repeat of yesterday, though. I can only imagine that it was an honest mistake by the radio station. It was the second half of an interview with Gary Thomas, the author of the book Sacred Marriage. Like I said, I was a little irritated at first. I’m always interested in what that day’s broadcast is going to be. Today was supposed to be about dispelling common myths of parenting. Great! I can always use some parenting advice! Can’t we all?! Anyway, I decided to go ahead and listen instead of changing the station in search of something new. I can always use marriage advice just as much as parenting advice. (Sometimes I think I’m doing just fine, and Derick needs to improve our marriage.) The theme of the broadcast was marriage being design to make us Holy like Christ, not happy. What a novel concept! I really believe this to be true, I just don’t think about it very often. Nor do most people. Most of us are out to find what makes us happy in everything, including relationships.
I am divorced, so I understand the feelings that go along with being happy and in love to being so anxious to be done you can hardly stand it! But, for Derick and I, divorce isn’t even in our vocabulary. We decided before we got married that it simply is not an option. I was talking to my brother-in-law the other night. He was expressing some frustrations that he is having with a group that he works closely with. Basically, he has leadership responsibilities but no authority to carry out those responsibilities. He said its very frustrating! I thought about it this morning, and my relationship with Derick as my leader. If that is how I treat Derick, I’m sure it would not only lead to frustration, but also to anger and resentment. This doesn’t make our marriage Holy. Not even close!
Gary Thomas talked about Mary Todd Lincoln for a bit. Apparently, she was a very difficult woman to get along with. But, God used that to build the strength in Abraham Lincoln that he would need to lead our country during the Civil War! Many people say, “behind every great man, there is a great woman”. Or even the opposite may be true. But, maybe God wants to use that not-so-great man or woman to make us better husbands and wives. God has a purpose and a design for everything! I mentioned yesterday that God will use whatever means necessary to get our attention and draw us to Him. Even if that means being married to a controlling husband or a contentious wife.
In the past, and even occasionally now, I have a hard time reconciling myself to the fact that I am divorced and remarried. I was raised to believe that you get married once and its til death do you part. I never imagined that I would be faced with infidelity and divorce! But, God has brought healing to my life. I would not appreciate Derick the way that I do, if it had not been for the first marriage that I went through.
So, God designed marriage to make us Holy. I Peter 1:16 says, “Be Holy, for I am Holy.” This is God speaking. I Corinthians 2:16b says, “But we have the mind of Christ.” Christ was holy like the Father and we have the mind of Christ. We can be Holy like God. So what does that look like in a marriage? Probably like unfailing commitment, til death do us part. Probably not how we think of love. Most people think of loving someone as very similar to infatuation. God designed marriage to be a picture of Christ’s love for the church. We, the church, do not deserve to be loved. We deserve to be left to fend for ourselves. But, not only did God love us, but when we were at our absolute worst, that’s when he sent his only son, Jesus Christ, to die for us. If we really want to be Holy in marriage, this is the model that we need to follow. Derick and I have not been at our best over the last couple of weeks. But, in order to be Holy in my marriage, instead of making myself happy, I need to figure out how to change me, not him. I need to be mindful of his needs and his desires above my own. There’s no promise that this change in attitude will produce a perfect marriage. But, in my own experience, when I focus on Christ alone, He works out situations that I never could, He fills me with more love and grace than I could ever expect to give to Derick on my own strength. And that is more fulfilling than anything that I could get out of marriage without Christ.
So, today, I’m going to start cleaning my bedroom. I don’t want to, but I know that’s what Derick wants. I’m not solely responsible for the mess, but I know that today, this is the best way to put Derick’s interests ahead of my own and allow God to make my marriage Holy.