As part of my responsibilities at St. Michael’s, I see many couples and families who are working on their relationship. It is always exciting to see God’s people awaken to the need to work on their interactions and reactions to each other. Many of us enter marriage and create families without any expectation that these new endeavors will require hard work on a continuous basis. That is not to say that there won’t be times of great joy, BUT there will also be times of sorrow, anxiety, stubbornness, and feelings of helplessness and defeat. That is precisely what God has planned!
How can that be? Surely God wants me to be happy….doesn’t He? Unfortunately, the answer is yes and no. Primarily God wants us to be in relationship with Him, to turn to Him for love, comfort, and strength, first. God wants to be first in our lives. When we look to others to make us happy, to fill our emptiness, to heal our wounds, or to give us meaning and purpose – we will always be disappointed! It is God’s plan that we seek the Kingdom and the King first – then all those other needs will be filled.
I have just finished reading an amazing book about marriage from God’s perspective. I asked that Saint’s Alive keep multiple copies on their shelf. I know this is a book that you will want to keep and read over and over for encouragement, insight, and help.
I laughed frequently as I devoured the book. I felt certain that the authors had been listening at the keyhole of my marriage. John Eldredge (Wild at Heart author) and his wife Stasi have written “Love and War Finding the marriage you’ve always dreamed of”. The couple gives an in depth picture of marriage, not as we had imagined – but as it really is in all its messiness. They unfold God’s plan for marriage, a divine conspiracy. “He lures us into marriage and then He uses it to transform us.” Who can deny that marriage ultimately means living out First Corinthians: 13 – the love chapter. It is only through the power of the Holy Spirit that I can change my prayer from “Lord, change my spouse” to “Lord, please change me!”
As we live out a holy Lent, let us use this time to examine our lives, our marriages, our families, and pray “Lord, please change me –I invite you into my life in a deeper way. Send your Holy Spirit to root out those things in me that inhibit your healing in my life, your healing in my marriage, and healing in my family. Give me grace to seek you first and worship you through my life, my marriage, and my family.
~ Melody Martini, Psy.D.