The Seven Year Mark, Thoughts on Marriage

In a marriage it is unavoidable that all of ourselves come out. With other relationships, others see only parts of us. Mostly the good. If bad, not the worst. Over time, such close living exposes the viscera of the self in such an intimate connection. Because of this rawness, I have found marriage to be the most humbling experience of my life.

Encountering problems, our assumption is the other spouse is the one who needs fixing, on our terms. Both parties have this mindset. For example, if we are reading this and saying amen in regard to our spouses behavior, we need first to look in the mirror.

I think the visceral exposure I speak of is true, however, of equal-or nearly equal-marriage relationships. If one spouse is dominant, controlling, and abusive, their behavior crushes the other’s personality and erases much of who they are. No opportunity for the selves to be completely revealed is possible in a dominated relationship. The person on the receiving end is extinguished, the other magnified beyond all boundaries. In my past, I was erased in this manner for nearly eight years. It was a sinful choice to live with a woman as unmarried, but I am glad I could be released from that hell.

I have so much to grow and repent of, but find encouragement I have a marriage in the hands of the Lord to heal us together. The goal is for each of us to be like Jesus, the marriage a unit bound in His love. It gives me hope. Though my flaws are exasperating and I have so little understanding of myself, my sanctification is in Gods’ strength, not my own. I presumed I knew all the problems. I thought I was repenting, but my eyes are ever in the wrong place in dealing with myself. I trust God I will change in His grace. Sometimes the whole dynamic on both sides is not pretty, but neither is human nature. At least the metal is on God's anvil being forged and shaped, not smashed in another human’s compacter.

Though marriage can be messy, a “method to the madness” of broken people becomes possible if God is in charge of the growth. If the exposed, churned-up silt is submitted to His truth, He will sift it out. Hard work? Yes. Painful? Oh yes. Humbling? Absolutely. Yet, our loving Father is our hope in Jesus Christ. Are we willing to look in that mirror, is the question He has for us.

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