“I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.” Romans 7:18 NIV
How in the world does this verse relate to marriage? Couldn’t I have picked the more lovely wedding verses from I Corinthians about “faith, hope and love?” Sure, those are perfect for the beautiful wedding ceremony, the joining of two lives, two families, two sets of hopes and dreams flooded by the warmth of candle light, the aroma of fresh cut flowers in full bloom and the joy of your favorite people standing in your honor gushing glorious smiles over their finest clothes. That day is the top of the comfortable chairlift to the peak of the majestic mountaintop you have washed with your gaze since childhood.
But then you must lean forward, hold your skies together and descend off the lift without knocking each other down. This is where the sinful nature raises its ugly head and says, “Why did he just bump into me? What did she mean by that? Shouldn’t I be treated better? Defend yourself!” If you make it off the lift without injury, you stop to gaze at the amazing view and capture a picture together…on top of the world.
How will you traverse this mountain together? There are several different runs. Some are reportedly more difficult than others. Some have been recently groomed, others more adventuresome. What will he choose? What do I really want? Will I yield and trust? How will I communicate what I really want without controlling the situation and overruling his leadership, which I secretly desire? Does my opinion even matter? Will I follow him closely, skeptically, trustingly or at a distance? Will I give him enough room to fail? Will I stop and help him up or ski past? Who thinks like this? We all do.
As much as we want to ignore the sinful nature and highlight only the fleeting moments of good that we pretend to sustain, we are human. Marriage is hard. It’s a double black diamond that will test your ability to live in God’s strength versus your own. As Paul honestly writes, “For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.” So, stop pretending that you can. Grab a hold of the truth that only God can carry out unconditional love in your marriage. Lock your feet into these skies of truth and trust God’s unfailing love to guide you down together.
Expect joy and expect testing.
Icy patches will steal your control. Objects hidden under pure white snow will trip you. Other couples will ski past you with ease. When you are paralyzed with fear or broken down in pain and want to scream, “Get me off this mountain”, change your gaze. You’ll never make it down the mountain staring at each other, either in love or hate. It’s only when you change your gaze to the Creator of the mountain that you will glide down together as it was intended.
Where is your marriage? Bunny slope or black diamond?
Where is your focus?
Do you really trust God with your marriage?
In His Unfailing Love,
brandi *Read stories from women walking through challenges in marriage