I’d like to be happily married to Molly for a long time. I want to participate in a faithful and beautiful picture of Jesus’ love for his church. I would love nothing more than to be an old, wrinkled, married couple.
Two things this past week wonderfully motivated me to pursue this goal.
First, Wendy Plump’s courageously honest article, A Roomful of Yearning and Regret, motivated me through negative example. Her beautiful writing exposes the pain and destruction that comes from tearing up a marriage with unfaithfulness and adultery. The whole post is worth reading, but I loved the way she compared her parents’ long-time marriage to her own failures:
I look at my parents and at how much simpler their lives are at the ages of 75, mostly because they haven’t marred the landscape with grand-scale deceit. They have this marriage of 50-some years behind them, and it is a monument to success. A few weeks or months of illicit passion could not hold a candle to it.
If you imagine yourself in such a situation, where would you fit an affair in neatly? If you were 75, which would you rather have: years of steady if occasionally strained devotion, or something that looks a little bit like the Iraqi city of Fallujah, cratered with spent artillery?
The second was a positive motivation, through Andrew Peterson’s beautiful song and video, Dancing in the Minefields (below). Peterson is one of my favorite singer-songwriters and this song gives you a picture of his brilliance. He compares marriage to dancing in minefields — it’s harder than we dream, but that’s what the promise (God’s to us and ours to each other) is for.
One of the best questions you can ask when developing a vision for something is, “What story do I want to tell?”
When it comes to marriage, I would rather tell a story that involves holding Molly’s wrinkled hand and passing a legacy of faithfulness to our grandchildren than a story of shattered dreams and selfishness. I imagine most of us would.
This is easier said than done — after all, marriage is surrounded by minefields. May God give me, and us, the grace to imitate the faithfulness of Jesus.