The Sacred Marriage seminar with Gary Thomas last weekend was a tremendous blessing. Marriages were strengthened. I’m certain some were even saved.
A realization I personally came to is how most people (myself included) get married for selfish reasons. Before meeting and marrying Monica, I recall thinking things like, When am I going to find a wife so I won’t be lonely? When will I find the special someone with whom I can share my joys and struggles? I wanted to get married to be loved. The word selfish probably never came from my lips, but, consciously and/or subconsciously, that’s how my mind worked. I badly wanted the joy of being married; ironically, selfishness never leads to joy.
Most people get married in the hopes that they will be loved.
What if most people married in order to learn to love?
Catch the difference? Whether it’s conveyed explicitly or implicitly, when individuals marry to be loved, they do so thinking, What’s in it for me? As soon as one’s partner’s love wanes in the ebb and flow of life together, one may begin thinking that it’s time to abandon his/her marriage.
On the other hand, when we marry in order to learn to love, the focus shifts away from oneself and towards one’s spouse. Now the other’s character and needs and wants become the highest priority. The marriage is stronger because it is not as easily threatened by seasons of decreased romance and passion. The value of our marriage and of our spouse is no longer calculated based on our spouse’s performance, by the grade we’ve assessed his/her current level of love expressed towards us. Instead, with perseverance, we’ll keep asking ourselves, What am I doing to love my partner deeper and better?
Asking questions like that keeps me from acting like I’m still single despite being married. Questions like that will train my brain to think more of we and less of me. And apparently it takes 10-15 years to really begin figuring this out. How many people forfeit the joy that could be theirs by bailing out before the me truly turns into a united we?
[…] reflections back in October on the weekend seminar are here. Some quotes from Sacred Marriage (the book) I’ve posted in the past are here, here, here, […]