I’m in the middle of counseling a few couples that will get married in the next weeks. Out of everything I do, this is one of my most favorite things to do. I love pouring life into young couples that are about to be married.
I love their perspective. It always challenges me to revisit my relationship with my wife. I remember when we walked into our premarital counseling appointments. They were informative and proved to be helpful in the first few years of our relationship.
As much as I admire and am challenged by their “young love,” it’s almost always misplaced.
We look across the aisle on our wedding day, hoping to find someone to complete us, not compliment us.
As fragile human beings, we typically have a perspective that’s enabled us to be slightly self-aware. We see our weaknesses, and we know we need help.
This is where our spouse comes in. We often think they’re the answer to our weaknesses. They’ll complete us.
This isn’t how it plays out, though.
There is a natural complement between a husband and a wife. This is holy and good. Where one has tendencies, the other has the opposite, but healthy tendencies. One tends to be more adventurous. The other tends to be more stable. These tendencies add a healthy tension to their lives. You see this when one spouse is a spender, and one is a saver. One tendency compliments the other.
If you’re looking to be completed in your spouse, though, you’re looking in the wrong place.
In our premarital counselor’s office, I remember he had a small, hand-stitched piece of embroidery on his wall that his wife had made for him. It simply read, “Every conflict is an opportunity.”
Amanda and I experienced a lot of conflict in our early years of marriage. Honestly… We still experience a lot of conflict today. It’s healthy and natural for two people who are trying to live in an intimate relationship.
Every conflict is an opportunity.
I realized early on in our marriage that every conflict was an opportunity for my wife to see that I wasn’t perfect. It was brutal. She thought I was so good, so perfect. I was her “knight in shining armor.” Every conflict, though, proved that I wasn’t. I was a fragile piece of flesh that was far from perfect.
It broke my heart over and over again to disappoint her. In hindsight, I’ve come to know that it was inevitable. I couldn’t live up to the expectations she had for me. Nobody could.
Every conflict was an opportunity for her to see that I’m not perfect.
But… Every conflict was an opportunity for her to rest in the love of a God that loves her perfectly.
If you’re doing marriage right, you’ve concluded that your spouse cannot be your everything. They can be a compliment. They create healthy, holy tensions in your life. They can help you and support you. They just simply can’t be your everything.
Jesus can. He can be your everything. He won’t fail you. He won’t let you down.
When you stand on that foundation, you can have an unwavering love for your spouse because you’re looking to the God who is everything to be everything for you.