Marriage is a War

Yesterday Lindsey posted about the marriage conference we attended last weekend. The idea I walked away with, and have been thinking about all week is this: Marriage is a war.

No really it is.

Paul Tripp stated this truth and I have not stopped thinking about it since. He said, “Marriage is always a war between the kingdom of God and the kingdom of self.” Now, I know I may have lost some of you with that kingdom of God bit, but hang with me and I think you will see the value in it.

What he means is that everyday, in the small normal moments of life, there is a constant struggle within us between our selfishness and living our marriage as God intends. We are called to serve one another in love. Each. Both of us. This means that for Lindsey and I our primary calling is to serve the other and put them first.1

So, the skirmishes that Lindsey and I, or any married couple, have on a daily basis are simply a part of this war. When each of us choose ourselves over the other person, there will be conflict. But as Lindsey said yesterday, if she chooses to be selfish this does not give me an excuse to just be selfish back. In fact, if I have the proper view of things, it gives me even more reason to put her needs ahead of mine.

But this is not easy, in fact it is impossible to do on a daily basis. If you look at my daily choices anyone will see that I choose myself and my desires more than I choose Lindsey’s good. If I am honest I would admit that most of the time I pursue what is good for her the same thing happens to be good for me too. But I’d only admit that if I were honest.

If you are married, my guess is that you know what I am talking about. I bet you have seen this play out in your marriage whether you are a Christian or not. This is the inescapable fact of the human condition, we are selfish. Plain and simple.

So, where does this leave us? Well, if we do not have a marriage that is full of grace towards each other we are left in a very bad spot. If you live for yourself enough there will soon be no living for the other person, and eventually you will erect walls to protect yourself from one another. A very bad spot indeed.

This is why we need Jesus. Only through the grace that he provides can we possibly hope to love our spouse more than ourselves. Only through the overflow of His grace in light of my failures can I be equipped to then show someone else that same grace. That is the the kingdom of God in my marriage, and I desperately want it to defeat the kingdom of myself.

  1. I know that some of my friends and readers may not believe this given current conceptions regarding what the Bible says about marriage. Trust me, this is what the Bible says: that we are to love and serve each other ahead of ourselves.  If this is shocking or unbelievable to you, leave a comment. I’d love to share our perspective. 
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