It’s a funny thing how our sinful hearts work. Not “haha” funny – but mind-boggling, ridiculous kind of funny. If you talk to most unmarried Christian women, they are longing for that day when they will be married. They look forward to it with eager anticipation, hopeful of all the good things that will come from pledging their lives to be bound to one man until death separates them. However, if you talk to most married women, they are usually full of complaints. What once seemed like a privilege, now seems like a hassle. What was once eagerly anticipated, is now thoughtlessly disregarded.
People might be tempted to offer explanations for this phenomenom. When we are young and hopeful we don’t anticipate the challenges and trails that come from married life. Additionally, as the old saying goes, “familiarity breeds contempt” and what once seemed exciting has lost it’s luster. However, I’m inclined to think our sinful hearts and our short-term memory are the best explanation. We neglect to remember that what seems like a burden was once a blessing we longed for. We are quick to forget that marriage is a privilege and a gift.
Usually this forgetfulness rears its ugly head when we are tired of the many “have to’s” of marriage. We don’t want to have to clean up after someone else. We don’t want to have to adjust our schedule to accomodate theirs. And the list could go on. However, instead of “have to’s” we should be thinking of these things as “get to’s” We get the blessing of sharing our lives with someone that we can serve everyday in simple yet meaningful ways. We get to participate in another’s lives – learning from their dispositions, interests and activities. When the “have tos” become “get tos” our hearts and our minds are rightly considering the blessing that marriage is.
One pastor is fond of saying that it’s only because our spouse isn’t perfect that we get the opportunity to glorify God in our marriage. In other words, the things that frustrate us about our spouse are actually a chance for us to demonstrate God’s grace, love, and mercy. The blessing of marriage isn’t that we have to contend with the challenges that matriomony holds, it’s that we get to do it in a way that display’s God’s goodness to someone we love, and to a watching world.
How does changing our perspective from “have to” to “get to” change how we interact with our spouse?