Does Marriage Always Mean “Happily Ever After?”
I can still remember the “I do” moment. Wedding dress soft and full, friends and family surrounding and, him. He was the one I had chosen. On that warm October afternoon, I gazed into those soft brown eyes and promised to love and cherish, for better or for worse, until death drove us apart.
I sit here today and my mind recollects the past seven years of our lives as one. Our marriage has seen so many good and beautiful moments. Just the same, it has seen some hard and ugly moments. It seems that for as many times as we have been on cloud nine together, we also have been galaxies apart. And this is where it just gets messy and confusing. It is often portrayed that your spouse (i.e. “The One” or your “soulmate”) is supposed to fill that empty space inside and that once you have found him/her, then your happiness is fulfilled. After all, isn’t that where the happy ending is found at the end of the sappy, romantic movie?
Unfortunately, this is where my husband and I had at one time found ourselves. We had this unfortunate expectation that our own happiness should be fulfilled by the other. The harder we tried, the more frustrating it became. We longed for the “happily ever after” relationship. Our marriage became the idol we zealously pursued. The more we pursued, the farther away from happiness we became. But He can be found in the broken and in the messy. In the deepest, darkest corners of our sin His Spirit came to us and pursued. Where we saw a broken marriage, despair, and ruin, He saw rescue, hope, and restoration.
He sought us out. He stretched out His hand of grace, inviting us to choose Him–to choose life for ourselves and for our marriage. When our hearts yielded to His, we found our deepest desires to be wrapped up in Him. Only then was our marriage able to heal, grow, and begin to flourish. Everything was not instantly better. In His time, He continued to draw us individually closer to Him. As we began to love Him wholly, we slowly learned how to love each other truer and deeper than we could have ever imagined. We learned how His ways are so much better than our own.
From Brokenness Comes Redemption
This path was sometimes difficult. It often seemed as though journeying through desert terrain, but it was during this time that I was brought into the sacred closeness I now experience with my God. From the ashes of my brokenness grew a beautiful relationship with my Redeemer. Even after moments where I least deserved, He pursued me and offered me His love. Finally, I had found what I had yearned for most: the only thing that could fill the empty chasm of my soul. I finally found what had been there all along…I found Him.
“…When I found him whom my soul loves, I held him, and would not let him go…”
The words of this verse course through me. I not only know them, but I feel them. Now, He is the one I pursue first. I strive to know Him the most. He is my all in all, the lover of my soul. Because of Him, I now know how to truly and unselfishly love my husband.
To Be Loved by Him is Enough
What a beautiful thing it is to be loved and treasured by the King of Kings. To know that there is nothing which can tear you apart from Him. If to know nothing else in this life but His far-stretching and grace-filled redemptive love, it is enough.
“No power in the sky above or in the earth below–indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Maybe this month you look at things differently. Instead of searching for that perfect and fulfilling love in a person, find the greatest love you’ll ever know in Christ Jesus. No matter what your circumstances–happily married, on the edge of divorce, or single–don’t let the pursuit of romance and the “perfect marriage” become your idol. It will never be enough. There is a God who loves you and only He can satisfy your soul and your deepest longing; He will always be enough.