Tom and I are in the Whiteshell at Pinewood Lodge. He's painting at the kitchen table and I'm sitting with him, reading and writing. I opened all the blogs I follow before we left because there is no internet connection here and I've started to read them with an eye to writing comments I can post when we return home.
When I read Tom's most recent blog post called "Too Proud to ask for Direction," I found a couple of statements I really like. He quotes Nate Larkin, speaker at the recent Promise Keepers in Winnipeg as saying:
"I wanted a private solution to my private problem. No! It didn’t work until I gathered the guts to confess them to others and invited them to hold me accountable.”This "guts to confess...to others" and making oneself accountable to them is the solution. Until then, it is far too easy for us to rationalize our sin, conclude that it's not that bad or give up thinking change is impossible--exactly what I did with my sexual sin until I finally confessed to an entire community. Suddenly there was no turning back if I wanted to stay part of that community, and I did.
Tom quotes Doug Weiss, marriage counsellor, as saying "The purpose of marriage is not to make you happy. It is to make you Christ-like." What a different perspective than most of society. We don't marry so we can become better people. We marry because we're sure all the wonderful things we feel with this one person will surely continue into eternity. How could it not?
Yet few, if any, manage to sustain those feelings. Taking out the garbage, sleepless nights because of the other's snoring, babies with messy diapers, toddlers constantly into what they shouldn't be, children with problems at school, teens with their demands for autonomy before they're ready all take the glow and shine of those pre-marriage months or years. So do one's partner's quirks and foibles which, before marriage, seemed cute or insignificant, now seem to drive us stark-raving mad.
All these irritants are things that could push us to God and to Christ-likeness if we chose. Instead, we complain about our spouses and the problems they create and wait for them to make the changes we think are vital. Is my marriage making me more Christ-like? Is yours?