By now, I think an extremely significant portion of the internet-using population has read the article, “Marriage Isn’t For You.”
Seth Adam Smith, a more or less professional blogger, has some great points about what pop culture thinks marriage is, and what it actually should be.
But I’m here to say that I think there’s something missing in his theory. Not much, but a critical juncture in the plan. He’s not wrong. He’s just kind of wrong. Going into marriage thinking What will this do for me? will always land you in the lukewarm water of dissatisfaction. But there’s more to a holy relationship than just doing things for your spouse.
With thanks to Joe, the author of this GoTandem devotional I’ve just finished reading several times, here’s some thoughts on Smith’s viral views on vows.
For marriage not to be for you would imply that God is working in you only to be a servant of somebody else. While that is admirable, serving others is not a means to an end, but a “slow deconstruction and reassembling of two human beings who were made to fit together but don’t even come close anymore.” Marriage is for you, but it’s for your holiness, and not your happiness. Holiness is hazardous to your ego.
Marriage is a powerful tool God uses to break down the old you and raise up a new you in its place. But you can’t fix your own brokenness. You can’t expose your own blind spots. Only God can. And God does. God wants to transform your heart, expose your weaknesses, and reinforce your fortifications; the spillover of becoming a servant is a side effect of his renewal process. And marriage is sure to expose your blind spots, and make darn sure that you know just how selfish you really are.
“Serving” people with a selfish heart will create resentment and bitterness. It places an invisible burden on your loved one’s shoulders to “earn” that service, and that’s not how God wants it to be. So let’s take Smith’s advice on one condition: that it is not you who serves your spouse, but God who loves them through you.