(Most of what follows has appeared already on a marriage forum where I have posted, but for the sake of this blog, I’m updating and adding. This is the second of a three-part series; here are the links to part 1 and part 3.)
Let me begin by saying that I do believe that we are to find our true self in God, that He is the source of our life, and not someone else. We do not find our worth from our husband/wife. But here’s an idea to think about, to look at.
Isn’t it possible that He has delegated some of the responsibility to us, as husbands and wives, to bring and be happiness and joy for our spouses?
After all, we say that God delegated to the church the task of saving the world, of telling the world about the good news of Christ, don’t we? That’s a pretty big task and responsibility, folks! One of our most common shibboleths is that God has no hands or feet here on earth but us Christians. We don’t bat an eyelash at accepting the responsibility of being witnesses for Him, ambassadors of the King of Kings, do we? We don’t say, “But people need to find their salvation in God, not us. People can’t be looking to us to know God.” No, we accept and shoulder the responsibility to live for Him before the world, taking His message to the world.
So who’s to say that God isn’t giving us the responsibility to be His surrogate in bringing joy and happiness to our spouse? In my reading of the Bible, I find that there is no support for the idea that somehow, our marriages are crucibles of testing for us. Now, I know that the Bibles says “And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;….” (Rom. 5:3) but I find no support for the idea that marriage is one of the tribulations that God has for us in order to develop the Christian virtue of patience.
It is a common theme that everyone has a cross to bear in life. However, you can’t show me anywhere in the Bible that it was ever God’s intention that marriage be that cross in anyone’s life. There is no indication that suffering through a bad marriage is ever God’s plan for anyone. It just ludicrous to try to tell a man or woman that their bad marriage is God’s way of purifying them. The message of the Bible is that marriage is good and pleasurable, that He created it to be our resource for restoration and refuge.
In fact, I read in the Bible that that type of marriage is an absolute horror, to be avoided. Twice in the same chapter, the book of Proverbs expresses pity for any man married to a quarrelsome, ill-tempered wife:
Better to live on a corner of the roof than share a house with a quarrelsome wife. (Prov.21:9)
Better to live in a desert than with a quarrelsome and ill-tempered wife. (Prov. 21:19)
To the writer of Proverbs, what we would call a time of tribulation and a tool for learning patience, is a fate to be avoided, worse than poverty and isolation.
To be continued in Part 3…..