Tuesday, September 7, 2010

On Marriage

Nate and I have spent time with quite a few of our married friends lately.
Whether it's having them over for dinner, or going out, or catching up around town or on summer vacation, we've just had that opportunity.

We've been with friends who seem to be existing in their relationship, but it's obvious they aren't thriving
Kind of a day-to-day whatever that sometimes results in arguments, but seldom in joy or passion.

We've been with friends who, without an immediate revelation, are literally standing at the doorpost of divorce. Time wasn't invested, communication differences were never discovered and breached, and the foundation of one another has not been enough to weather the everyday storms. 
(It never is.)

We've been with friends who are passionately in love, with a herd of kiddos and more on the way. It's not that life has been easy for them, it's that they've bonded stronger through all of it. They are one another's best friends and biggest encouragers. The way they look at each other makes us smile.

The thing we've seen in these friends' marriages and so many more is that the strength and depth of a married relationship is directly related to something.
It's something that goes beyond the individual, past even the confines of "you" as a couple.
The level of "success" of these relationships is directly related to a pursing of a relationship with Christ.
A pursuing together and a pursing apart.
A pursuing as a married couple after the heart of God for your future, praying together and launching into the great wild that is this life.
But also a pursuing of each of us as individuals after our own, intimate relationship with our Creator.

When both husband and wife are pursuing together and individually, that's where the secret lies.

Because most anything can survive on it's own for a while.
We can muscle through and say "We've got this" and live in the ups and downs of the emotions of life together.
But, after a time we need a foundation that goes deeper. We need something to stand on that isn't just each other.
(If something isn't growing, it's dying. There really is no such thing as stagnant in a marriage, or stagnant life in general. It's either life-giving or it's not.)
And the sooner you start laying that foundation of Christ... investing... growing... the better.

To thrive in our married relationship, it is absolutely the only way.
Nothing else will last.
The world has a few ways it promotes, to try this new thing or this marriage fad or this next, great adventure.
But, nothing the world can offer will ever last, and we'll always find ourselves moving back to mediocrity and looking for something else new to try.
Or we'll move from relationship to relationship, wondering why we never find one the "fulfills us fully."
On our own, without the hope and promise of Christ, we will always fail.
Whether sooner or later, failure will come.
Whether it comes in a going of our own ways...
or whether it slips in quietly as a forgetting of what could be and an almost unaware accepting of a lukewarm forever.
An absence of thriving. An absence of full life.
But, with the foundation of the hope of Christ beneath our feet, shoring up the wayward emotions of our souls, we will flourish.
For a lifetime long, we will flourish.

We. Will. Flourish.

Our lukewarm married friends have a relationship with Christ, but they rarely pursue it. They come back to it from time to time, but they aren't wholly reliant on it as their source.
And it shows.

Our friends in need of revelation have never known a relationship with Christ. If they were to discover it now, there is so much hope! But, without it, they are ultimately lost... in this or any relationship they enter into.
And it shows.

Our so-in-love friends are ever-looking to Christ as their foundation. They don't rely on each other to fill that void. Their relationship isn't perfect, just like no one's is perfect. They have disagreements. They have "off" days. But, they are so in love because they have so much hope for each other and for the future. Solid, foundational hope.
And it shows.

Do you have that hope? Do you have that foundation in your marriage?
If you're not married, are you fervently pursuing an intimate relationship with Christ so you have that foundation as an individual?
And, if you are married and pursuing Christ but are frustrated because your spouse is not, be encouraged! God is faithful. Always faithful.
He sees and He knows and He will bless you for your perseverance.

We were not meant to go through life with the day-to-day whatever.
We were not meant to throw our hands in the air and give up.
We were created to thrive and embrace the fullness of this life our Creator has breathed into us!
"I have come that you might have life, and life to the full." -John 10:10

There is a Foundation to plant your marriage on that will be your source of hope... of strength... of joy... of passion (and, whoah, do I mean passion).
He will be your source on those I-don't-like-you-too-much-today days.
He will be your perseverance through the trials that come. (And they will come.)
And He will be the success in your full-life, life-long marriage.

Oh, how I never want to stop pursuing!!!
Oh, how WE never want to stop pursuing!!!

(I love you, honey. You're the best friend and most amazing husband this girl could ever have.)
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