When I got married, I was SO happy. It’s at the top of my list as the greatest day of my life (so far). Everyone I talked to said that our marriage had potential to be one of the greatest the world had ever seen. It was a wonderful time for the both of us.
Fast forward four years and I’m starting to figure out just how much work marriage can be. It really did take me that long to figure it out.
One thing I’m slowly learning though is that, while marriage is an awesome thing to be a part of, it’s not designed to make me happy. It’s certainly the greatest source of joy in my life, but the goal of marriage isn’t to make me happy. I dare to say that it isn’t even to make your wife happy.
The goal of marriage is to be an example of Christ’s relationship to the church on Earth
That’s a radically different way to think about a marriage than what the world tells us. The world tells us that we should be happy. That our happiness is to be our goal in our marriage. And if we aren’t happy, then we need to get out. But Christ calls us to a different way of thinking. His glory should be the goal of our marriage. Take a look at how Paul explains what marriage should look like:
22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.
25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— 30 for we are members of his body. 31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” 32 This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.
Notice how the marriage is compared to Christ’s relationship with the church. We’re supposed to look like Christ and the church. Just as Christ laid down His life for the Church, we’re supposed to lay down our lives for our wives.
How does that work? What does it look like to lay down our lives for our wives?
It means being others focused and not self-focused. It means choosing her betterment over your own pleasure. It means starting each day with the thought of “How can I bless my wife?” In other words: It’s something we can’t do on our own.
Try it. Try living sacrificially for someone else’s pleasure. It’s pretty much impossible. But there is One greater who, if we allow Him, can make our marriages something amazing! Allowing Him to live through us will make our marriages something people will write songs about!
Choosing to put your wife’s needs above your own goes completely against the world’s thinking but just take a look at the state of the world and you’ll see the world’s thinking hasn’t been working for a long time. This is going to work itself out in your life in a different way than it works itself out in mine. Maybe for you it means cleaning up the home or doing the dishes. Maybe it means taking the kids for a night so she can go and relax with her girlfriends.
However it works itself out, in the end your marriage will be blessed by your shift in attitude. While putting her needs above your own is hard, your friends and family will see the difference and take note. Keep at it and showing the glory of Christ in your marriage will become second nature.