Monday, February 23, 2015
Your Spouse Wasn't Meant to Complete You
Divorce makes you look at marriage a little differently. What an understatement. I suppose that statement could be taken many different different ways. Let me qualify it.
I am trying to be careful to not let my divorce define me. There is so much more to me than the fact that someone chose to walk away from me and our children.
Just like walking away, love is a choice.
A choice you make everyday in spite of how you feel. In spite of the weather. In spite of morning breath, dirty diapers and college tuition. In spite of renewed acquaintances from long past. In spite of your financial bondage or freedom. In spite of the attractive cashier who compliments you. In spite of the fact that your spouse has gained 30 or 60 or 120lbs. In spite of the fact that when you vowed "in sickness and in health," you never dreamed that "in sickness" meant caring for them in every aspect of daily living. In spite of the fact that you have drifted away from your spouse and you are no longer working toward the same goals or dreams. In spite of the fact that she has changed from the girl you married or he hasn't changed nor developed his potential as you hoped.
Love is a choice. And you make that choice day after day.
At any rate, I was so eager to be married because I thought once you fell in love, life became all about, well, love. Babies and a quiet little ministry also, but mostly love. Most of what I dreamed about was what I could get out of marriage. What marriage could do for me and how it would make me feel. I intended to love, honor and obey, for sure. Throw God into the mix of course. I wanted to do things for my husband and be submissive. But mostly I dreamed about:
Yep, that kind of love.
I knew in my head that there would be hard times. I couldn't imagine what that would be, but I knew it would happen. Turns out, the hard times came in the form of losing loved ones, financial distress, miscarriages, illnesses, frequent job changes, moving an incredible number of times, deployments and major surgeries.
But those hardships were met with determination, strength, unity and overcome by
Yep, that kind of love.
Until they weren't.
Look, I'm not saying that I think my marriage would have survived or even ended differently had I more fully lived out the following truth (It would have taken both of us living it out this way to survive successfully). But I am saying that I would have had a more fulfilling marriage -- perhaps a more Christ-like marriage if I had only realized:
My spouse was not meant to complete me. Only God can do that. God gave spouses to each other, in part, to spur each other on to a better relationship with Him. Marriage is not a matter of "what can I get out of this." It's a matter of "how can I serve, love and encourage you to a deeper love for the Lord." It's give it all you got regardless of how much your spouse gives or doesn't give. Whether we acknowledge it or not, there are three people in every successful marriage : You, your spouse and God. It's living out the "threefold cord is not quickly broken" analogy from Ecclesiastes 4:12.
I believe if marriages are lived out this way, then fewer marriages would end. More marriages would be fulfilling. And more marriages would be Christ centered. And that is a very joyful thought.
So, when I say I am not going to let my divorce define me, rest assured, I am going to let this new perspective define any future relationship.
And that prospect is a very joyful thing.
Counting it all joy,