Whenever someone tells me that they are about to get married or have recently been married, my response is always the same, “That is so awesome. I just love marriage!” Its true. I love going weddings, I love officiating weddings, I love marriage. However, though I love weddings, I’m not so in love with the difficulties that marriages face – all marriages.
I recently had a hard conversation with my wife. Don’t get me wrong, is wasn’t a fight, but it was difficult. We talked through how we were communicating, how we were loving each other and how we should be honoring God more in our marriage. It was hard for two reasons:
1. I had to hear my wife repent. She hasn’t sinned against me in any great moral or destructive way – we are just a married couple, trying to love each other and we fail at it sometimes. We have to embrace the patterns of sin and forgiveness just like all married couples do. But hearing her repent was hard. You see, my wife is incredible. She has loved me faithfully over the last 7 years. She has supported me through seminary, through moving to be a part of a church plant and she has listened to my dreams (and boy, I’m a dreamer). I trust her, believe in her and listen to her. God has given her great wisdom, a caring heart for the poor and lowly and He has made her such an incredible mom. But in this conversation, I had to remember that she isn’t perfect – only Christ is. Even though it was hard – it really was beautiful – in her repentance she simultaneously showed me that she loves me and reminded me of the love that Jesus has for me. As Christians we are all, by our new natures, repenters – we just fail to actually practice repentance. Her repentance breathed gospel life into our marriage. Something that all marriages need to grow and remain healthy. I praise God for it.
2. I had to repent. Marriage isn’t one-sided. When I sat there and heard my wife repent, it reminded me that I too needed to repent. Marriage is never simply an “I told you so” relationship. Difficult conversations in the context of our marriage relationships aren’t an opportunity to win or to be right. They are opportunities for us to grow in our repentance. This gave me a chance to search my heart & mind and think through my actions as to how I could love my wife and kiddo with the gospel. What I found wasn’t some great moral delinquency. It was actually much more dangerous and much more quiet. I found that I was’t creating opportunities for repentance in my family. We get along great, have a good time together, and generally agree on most things. It’s easy to ignore the fact that we are sinners when everything is going great. It’s easy to push repentance aside when we don’t feel a heavy relational struggle. And for that I needed to repent all the more.
This won’t be the last difficult conversation that my wife and I will have. It won’t be the last time that we have to repent of our sins and seek forgiveness from each other. But this most recent conversation has continued to build a sturdy house – one that is founded in Christ and build by repentance and forgiveness.
In Luke 22 we read about a hard conversation that Jesus had with God the Father:
And He [Jesus] withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed, saying, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will but yours, be done.” … And being in agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.
Jesus knelt at the Mount of Olives and had one of the hardest conversations in the history of the world. But the result of this conversation wasn’t simply improving the relationship between the Godhead. Instead this conversation foreshadowed what would revolutionize the relationship between God and man! After this conversation with the Father Christ would go to the cross. He would die on the cross. His death opens up the opportunity for our hard conversations to yield gospel growth in all of our relationships.
If you ever want to talk about this or anything, feel free to contact Lindsey or me.
We are less without each other…