We tend to think of it as the end.
After all, Cinderella found her prince,
lived happily ever after and....
the story ended.
Novels and romantic films have so often led us to believe that when boy meets girl, they get married, consummate the marriage and inevitably it's the end of the road for those folks... with nothing left to look forward to and live for.
But this couldn't be further from the truth.
Marriage is the beginning.
The exchanging of "I do's" at the altar is a significant starting point for two people coming together in love. It's saying "I choose you this day and every day here forward. I choose to love you and give myself to you entirely. I choose to obey God and by doing so our marriage will bear beautiful fruit."
We begin with a pocketful of hopes and dreams, we dream of the simplicity of a quaint apartment, we save for the house with the picket fence, we picture ourselves sharing coffee over kids and a dog in a cheery kitchen adorned in finger paint art. We can see it with starry eyes and although we want to get there it's certainly not a final stop. Marriage is the beginning of a beautiful life to be shared... including many little beginnings... pockets of them like tiny treasures found along a shoreline in this journey we call life with the one we love.
The intimacy we share with the one we love in a marriage is unlike any we will ever find. We know this person's thoughts, grumbles, gripes, scars, warmth, joys, laugh, sorrows, losses, kindness, dreams, goals, scent, facial expressions... we know their silence... we know often just by their body language, a glance... or what they aren't saying when something is wrong or right. We see them at their best, worst and lowest and yet the ride continues... God uses marriage as a way to shape each one of us... to make us more like Him and less like the world.
We consummate our marriage and it's not a grand finale announced with streamers and horns but instead the beginning of a constant stream, a long river for us to ride, to float, to explore and delight in.... it's the beginning of many new beginnings to know this person initimately unlike any other on earth and to know they are ours and we are theirs... that together we are one and it delights God.
In marriage we choose again and again to forgive this person we married and this may be incredibly difficult to do when you live with them... when we are in such close proximity to one another... sharing a bathroom and a bed, it may often seem impossible or beyond daunting.... but God calls us to forgive. Because we are so undeserving of forgiveness ourselves yet God forgives us. It certainly doesn't mean we don't act like it didn't happen, however badly we were wronged... we don't stick our head in the sand, act like our spouse didn't do anything sinful, we don't lay like a doormat or even trust them anytime soon. Trust has to be earned bit by bit over time.
But we can still choose forgiveness also knowing it gives us peace and a chance to move forward. How do we know when our spouse is repentant? When a spouse is truly sorry for their hurtful actions they take responsibility and back it up with new actions to prove it, showing humility and love. It may take a long time to give them your trust again and at the end of the day it may not even be possible. Only you know depending upon your specific circumstances. But whether we choose to stay or move on... in that both being new beginnings... from a marriage we can still choose to forgive, squashing that fleshly desire to not.
Marriage is choosing everyday to obey God... to honor this person you've chosen to share your life with, for when we obey Him it consequently affects others for the better also.... beginning with the one we love and our children. Obeying God's word has a domino effect on our loved ones and each day we have a new beginning to do just that... to choose to turn from our old ways... alcohol, abuse, neglect, working too much and so much more to begin again.... to have a fresh start and walking in light not darkness.
A beginning of two people coming together... yet it's also a beginning for you... for each and every one of us... to chisel us bit by bit to become not what we wish but what God desires us to be.
That sounds like the best story ever.
© gps-gracepowerstrength.blogspot.com ~ 2013