Happily Ever Normal

Christ was sufficient in my singleness and He is sufficient in my marriage. 

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So marriage is different. But it’s not THAT different. 

“How does it feel to be married?”

I don’t begrudge the question. Marriage is a very big deal and I love being married to Rachel. But I felt that getting married was going to be like sumo wrestling a speeding freight train from all the stories I’d heard. I guess a lot of these guys really just weren’t that mature when they were married, not that I’m all impressed with myself. I was married older than many of them. Old enough to know how to put down a toilet seat and not be surprised that a wife wouldn’t want to fall in the giant white birdbath at midnight. I think this is a surprise to some men when they marry. And if I was married at age 22 like most “good Christian boys” I probably would have been surprised too. 

Shocking to think that Father could sanctify me in my lengthier-than-wished-for singleness, given the way I hear some preachers go on about how marriage is the greatest tool for growth in a Christian’s life. 

As a single man I paid bills, worked a job, practiced good hygiene, practiced mostly good grooming, did my laundry, was a contributing member of my church with both service and finances, practiced evangelism, read my Bible regularly, prayed regularly, practiced decent conflict resolution, practiced hospitality- I know these are basics, but I did them. And I’m doing the same thing now, though more with Rachel. I really enjoy doing all that with Rachel. But marriage hasn’t changed the way I looked at the world, or given a shocking reality call. I was already painfully aware of my selfishness. All in all, life is normal in a good way, and marriage is joyful but not reality shifting. 

Maybe the norm is for many people to learn the basics of life once they are married. I might just be a little bit of an oddball who learned a lot of these things in other ways. I think maybe we have put an unhealthy weight on marriage that makes it more than it really is: a shadow of a greater marriage. The marriage covenant that binds Rachel and I together is sealed by God Himself, yet it will end with the filling of our graves. Not so when Christ comes for His Church, graves are to be emptied for that Wedding Feast.

If you’re single, don’t put your hope or identity in marriage, though it is a good thing to desire. There is no shame in wanting to be married, I certainly did for long enough. But eternal hope isn’t found there. 
If you’re married, don’t put too much on your marriage. Your God-given spouse isn’t able to carry the weight of your happiness. It isn’t like your marriage is particularly weak, no marriage between sinners was designed for that. 

Ultimately, I’m going to learn some crazy truths about myself, and Rachel, and the world, and God, through marriage. Not because marriage is a necessary vehicle for that learning, but because it’s the place where God now has me. God is teaching all of His children all the time. For the first 34 years of my life, God taught me in singleness. Now He teaches me through marriage. Christ was sufficient in my singleness and He is sufficient in my marriage. 

How does it feel to be married? 

Marriage feels like the next step and I’m excited for it.

Joe

 

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