Have you ever thought of the mystery of marriage? Exchanging vows before God and those witnesses is like buying a house without ever setting foot inside. You know what other people have said about the house (marriage). You know what God has said about the house (marriage). If you’re smart enough, you’ve read about it and most importantly listened and prayed—a lot! But you’re standing there at the altar, based on however much time together and some emotions that you feel (or once felt or hope to feel) and you make your stamp on forever, buying the house for eternity. For those of us who are married, we now know what an act of faith it was to say ‘I do,’ and yet it can’t be done any other way—no previews, no open-house, and certainly no brochure. We had no idea what we were getting into—which is not to minimize our beloved spouse, but meant to maximize our amorous God.
We have no idea what’s behind those walls, what dirt we drag in when we move in all our crap, what flaws will make the house (marriage) more charming, unique, and endearing… and which will be a painful reminder. We don’t know how many bedrooms (children) it has. We don’t know if it’s a fixer-upper to be coaxed into true beauty through much dent of elbow grease—the hard work that births character and confidence and hope—or if it’s move-in ready. If termites (lies) will threaten to slowly crumble the flooring out from under us. We don’t know if there will ever be any leaks in the plumbing (lines of communication) that will cause sudden bursts when things turn icy. We don’t know if the furnace (passion) will burn for years, or soon die out. We have no idea if the electricity—the Word of God that is a lamp unto our feet—will be turned off or neglected. Or if the gas—the spark that ignites creativity and inspiration—is low. Who knows what will be maintained and what will not be. Which ones we update on the surface, repainting every few years as our moods change. Which areas of the house (marriage) we need to take down to the studs… and which are better left standing. Which are crucial and which are place-holders; which are load-bearing or superficial.
And think of the foundation. What if we come to a place in our house (marriage), where we just need to dig deeper, and so we jack-hammer through layer after layer of hard stuff to get back down to the nourishing raw earth? Will we embrace the work as a time of learning together? Or will we resent it, never to return to the half-finished basement? Will we expect a maid to clean things up for us? What will we expect?
There are whole levels and wings to the house (marriage) that only time will uncover. There are entire seasons of life who’s doors can only be opened by walking through another; there are designs and textures and subtleties that point to the Architect that will miss our attention, while other details not meant to be dwelt upon seem to consume our efforts.
We will paint and change and live in and enjoy and clean up and clear out and start over and repurpose. We may take the whole dang thing to the ground level several times, reinventing ourselves and the house (marriage) in the process. We will mess up, but God will complete the good work He began and He will most definitely be glorified.
We buy the house and say yes to forever—not because of a feeling or a plan or an expectation or a ring or even a guy—but because there is One who’s seen all the things we can’t see, every design every intent every space—and He is trustworthy. Not to say that the feelings or plans or expectation or ring or boy is not important. Each of those is important. It’s just that we can’t possibly rely on our own less-than-8%-utilized brain and fickle and fleeting emotion to even guess at what that house (marriage) has for us. We must trust some One who knew it before the dawn of time and that One is Jesus—not our brain, or our heart, or our betrothed, but our Beloved.
Simply put: when our eyes are on Jesus, marriage seems easier; when our eyes are on anything else, marriage seems more difficult. Christ is trustworthy even when we are not.
Looking back, God’s hand in every single detail of our lives and marriage thus far has been undeniably evident. I’m glad that Grant found me and we found each other. I’m glad that he chose me and on bended-knee offered me a ring and the promise of forever as the sun set behind the purple mountains at dusk on December 27, 2007. I’m glad that we stood on the altar before God and made a solemn vow to Him and to each other. But most importantly, perhaps, I am thankful beyond words that (whether we knew it or not) we were trusting (and continue to trust) in the One who knew all about what we knew nothing about. And focusing on Him makes the “house” seem brighter and our marriage more joyful. I have never been happier or more full of faith in things unseen.