26 August 2008

Marriage is for Holiness not Happiness

That's the premise of this book Jill and I were given by my great friend Bruce...and it's earth-shattering in its truth.

I shared that with my great friend & 3-year small-group bro Tim, which prompted him to ask me about it.
God uses marriage to produce holiness in us, not necessarily happiness. Not that they're by any means mutually exclusive...but holiness out of the deep, forging, plodding, extracting commitment to Christ & the relationship produces deep JOY...not the shallow happiness that so much of this world is seeking.

Especially in our culture, (most prevalent in idolatry-centric LA) what's everyone seeking? Happiness right? I think that's a total joke. I'm exceedingly happy--I guess--but it's probably more accurately called joy. Because its been forged by going through some deep unhappiness, producing something that's actually sustainable; joy.

The refining of my & Jill's marriage and our souls has been hard, difficult, and beautiful. Sanctification like I've never experienced...producing holiness and a heart for repentance in us both. We are living the transformation. This book, has just beautifully put it into words.

But it's so counter-intuitive...unless you're willing to have your sin shown to you, cut you, hurt you, and be hurt by someone else's, it's hard to be "happy" in a relationship that is the cleaving of two souls. That's like expecting to watch two continents collide into one another without producing a few volcanoes & an earth quake here & there.

We as any man & wife, are not perfect puzzle pieces (her breath stinks, she has bad gas & my body produces constant rose-petal aromas, just for example)...and as much fiery romanticism as Jill and I share, as much deep passion for each other and life together that we have, we're imperfect, sinful people, of whom God wants what? To be "happy"? Romanced? Healthy & wealthy? He wants us to be in loving relationship with Him and to love others as ourselves. Which manifests itself in our lives in holiness. For two people, the places where we don't 'fit' are our rough, sinful edges. They must be ground-down & cut out to fit into place with the other piece. Places we thought were buried deep until we actually go through life clinging to another soul.

It's so crazy how I feel we are both growing in this holiness virtue, in spite of being shown each others' sin and wickedness up close. This is where God has used it in our lives. I feel we've got a desperation and urgency to be more holy & Christ-like towards each other...which interestingly enough, makes us usually two pretty damn happy people! ;)

Holiness. Happiness.

What are your thoughts? Perceptions? From both in and outside of marriage? Please share!