Monday, April 29, 2013

Marriage Monday: Happily Ever After {Link up}


Marriage Mondays



Welcome back to Marriage Monday! I'm back home again after spending a week with my Mom and Dad, and trying hard to resume a normal routine, while continuing to unpack boxes, hang pictures and settle into our new house! (Pictures coming soon!)

My mind is definitely on marriage these days! Unbelievably, Alan and I are just a couple weeks away from celebrating our 30th anniversary, while Josh and Kristi are almost to the one-year mark, and Joe and Abby are counting down the days until June 29th!!  :)

Yesterday at the close of our church service, a couple renewed their wedding vows. It was a very moving ceremony! Our pastor pointed out that when they first made their vows to one another 25 years earlier, promising before God and witnesses to: {forsake all others and to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, as long as we both shall live} that they really weren't thinking much about the sick and poor parts. Like any other couple in love, they were only thinking that their dreams had come true and they were looking forward to living "happily ever after." They had no idea that cancer would crash their dreams, forever altering the course of their lives together. (Of course, this reminded me of my parent's marriage and my post from last week!)  

That whole part about "in sickness and in health" and "for richer or poorer" - well, those are just words that nervous brides and grooms repeat after the minister. Most couples don't think they will really be called to suffer through sickness, poverty, and heart-wrenching times when they stand at the marriage altar. We've all watched plenty of Disney movies and we know how it's supposed to work -- when the prince finally gets the beautiful maiden, they ride off into the sunset and live happily ever after in wedded bliss! 

Because we go into marriage with a "happily ever after" mentality, we expect our mate to make us happy.  Women especially tend to fantasize that all of our problems are solved, now that our Prince Charming has rescued us from a Cinderella life of drudgery and difficulty. However, it doesn't take long for our fairy tale bubble to burst, and our Prince Charming to fall off his white horse!  When we discover that he is a mere mortal after all, and perhaps one that we don't know as well as we thought we did, and that married life involves hard work and still contains its share of difficulty and drudgery, we may find ourselves turning into a "wicked witch!"  ;)  The fairy tale is over.

For many modern couples, this is where they bail out. Others stick it out, but many never recover from seeds of bitterness caused by unfulfilled expectations in the early years of marriage. 

Perhaps, we would be better served if we understood that God didn't create marriage for our happiness. Although we may certainly experience much happiness in marriage, God ultimately created marriage to display His glory and to illustrate the relationship between Christ and His bride, the church. 



The most ultimate thing we can say about marriage is that it exists for God’s glory. That is, it exists to display God. Now we see how: Marriage is patterned after Christ’s covenant relationship to the church. And therefore the highest meaning and the most ultimate purpose of marriage is to put the covenant relationship of Christ and his church on display. That is why marriage exists. If you are married, that is why you are married.
Staying married, therefore, is not about staying in love. It is about keeping covenant. “Till death do us part,” or, “As long as we both shall live” is sacred covenant promise—the same kind Jesus made with his bride when he died for her. Therefore, what makes divorce and remarriage so horrific in God’s eyes is not merely that it involves covenant breaking to the spouse, but that it involves misrepresenting Christ and his covenant. Christ will never leave his wife. Ever. There may be times of painful distance and tragic backsliding on our part. But Christ keeps his covenant forever. Marriage is a display of that! from John Piper in Marriage, Christ and Covenant: One Flesh for the Glory of God

Understanding this truth helps couples, whether newlyweds or silver-haired veterans, realize that marriage is not about self-actualization, but about dying to self.  It is actually a part of our sanctification, whereby we become more like Jesus. As we learn to lose our lives for Jesus' sake, we actually find our lives (Matthew 10:39), and may discover that joy and happiness are within our reach after all. 



Your Turn to Share:

Did you enter into marriage with a biblical view of marriage or a fairy tale view? How did this affect your relationship with your husband? How does embracing a biblical view of marriage make a difference?  Please share so we might all be encouraged!


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I'd love to have you link up your blog to mine!  Please link up any past or present posts related to Christian marriage.  Don't forget to link back to my blog!  Thanks!



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8 comments:

Jaimie said...

We've been through both the "sick" and "poor" parts of marriage already in just two years. (Well, we're young college students, we don't have much money... but we've always had everything we needed. :) ) Both of us made our vows knowing life together wasn't always going to be easy, but we know we're in this for the rest of our lives. There's no backing out. We're committed to making our marriage work, even on those days when it takes a LOT of work!

And then there are the days that DO seem like a fairy-tale...it's a blessing to have a combination of both. :)

Chris said...

Elizabeth~
Love your post, as usual:) Thanks for the encouragement and the lovely glimpse into your family!

How exciting...your 30th and the upcoming 1st anniv, as well as the wedding on the horizon!

Elizabeth, I shared a post that I think fits to a degree; it is primarily the part where my dh and I deal with the condemning nature of our kids and how we condemn as well and try ( not succeed, tho) to set a better example abt not judging others....

It's not mainly abt marriage so if you feel it does not fit and would prefer to remove it, that's totally fine.

Thanks so much for hosting!

Have a lovely day and good luck unpacking!

busymomof10 said...

Jaime,

Thanks for sharing your perspective! How refreshing!

I'm wondering if I came across too negative in this post -- I certainly didn't mean to! You are right, there are those fairytale moments when we wonder how we possibly ended up with such a fabulous "catch!" :)

Marriage is a unique combination of richer and poorer, for better and for worse, and for sickness and in health for each couple. We certainly have no idea what we are committing to until it is too late! :)

Thanks for reading and taking time to comment! :)

~E

busymomof10 said...

Hi Chris,

I read your post. It was excellent and actually very convicting! It is so easy to have a judgmental attitude toward others. Of course, one thing I tell my kids is that if we lived at that time in history, we have no idea what we would actually do and believe! thanks for linking it up!

Blessings,
~E

Fawn Weaver said...

Such an exciting time for weddings in your family! My husband and I will celebrate 10 years in just a couple weeks and we're incredibly excited about that :).

marty said...

For the majority of my life my parents were believers...first generation if you will so I had a better understanding of marriage than most. Thankfully a wise and godly husband has led me to an even clearer picture of a Biblical marriage and we are passing it on to the next generation through our children...who will hopefully understand even more and pass that along to their children :-)

busymomof10 said...

Fawn,

Happy Annivesary! I bet our dates are very close -- ours is the 14th of May -- how about yours??

Blessings on your marriage!

~Elizabeth

busymomof10 said...

Marty,

Isn't it great when you have a solid foundation to build on? And then you can add to that for your children! Such a blessing! Thanks for sharing!

~E

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