Adventures in Missing the Point
"What therefore God has joined together…" Mark 10:9
"I just want to be happy!" There's not another phrase in the English language capable of producing more unhappiness, with perhaps the exception of "Honey, I'm in love with your sister; we are getting married so I'd like a divorce."
Just wanting to be happy is a dead man’s trap camouflaged with branches and leaves. We all want a beautiful house, a happy spouse, health insurance and educated kids. So we take matters into our own hands by launching out to grab anything and anyone who'll make us happy—a good-looking boyfriend or girlfriend, or a law degree to make our father proud. We pursue this, all the while never able to find the right thing—the one thing that will make us feel we aren't missing something essential, such as the point.
What if the point of marriage is not happiness? What if it's something greater; something that would in the long run produce something far more fulfilling, meaningful and tangible? Clearly our own constant attempts to find happiness and the increasing divorce rate indicate that happiness continues to elude us.
A shift in how we see marriage has to occur, we have to see matrimony with new eyes and appreciate God’s overarching purpose. Being happily married is not about how the marriage serves us, it's about how the purpose of God is formed in both partners.
Marriage from God’s perspective, is designed as a spiritual discipline to help us know Jesus better, trust Him more fully and love Him more deeply. Marriage isn't about what we can get out of it; it's about God getting His life into us. The point of marriage is not happiness but holiness. Nothing reveals shortcomings, pettiness and the darkness in one’s soul like that of marriage. A quarrelsome spirit, being easily upset and living with malice and resentment in the heart are sure signs there is still more to be made holy in us. If holiness has its way, there will be no worldly spirit remaining in us.
Holiness is the process of agreeing with God about the areas of our life that are contrary to His character and letting Him purify whatever is not of Him. Without justifying our shortcomings, we begin to transform our natural life into a spiritual life through obedience. When the darkness inside of us is gone, being completely open before our spouse we'll be amazed at what God has done in us. Holiness is greater than happiness.
What area, attitude or action needs to be purified in you?