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Yes, A 'Happy Marriage' Can Exist

Is the concept of a "Happy Marriage" just a myth? You be the judge.


 
I wasn't going to share this at first, but then I thought about how we never hear about the "good" things anymore, and how all we ever hear about is that a "Happy Marriage" is just a myth. Not true! 
Proof? This right here. This is just one of the many reasons why my wife is awesome! Not only did she make my lunch for me today, but she took the time to do this too. 
No, marriage isn't easy no matter how "in love" two people might be, but choosing to show your love to your spouse in simple little ways like this (even on days when you don't "feel it" at all) should be, and it makes a world of a difference. 
Remember, you made a commitment to each other before God. Some days that commitment shows by being 50/50, but most days it's 80/20 or 70/30, and our vocations as husband or wife even instruct us to pray for the grace to at least shoot for 100/0, or to serve each other completely and sacrificially, as well as the grace to forgive and be forgiven when we don't (b/c we'll never love and serve each other perfectly as we should -- never ever!). 
So, in honor of marriage, and even at the risk of enraging every Non-Traditional/Feminist/Liberal/Progressive person out there who might be gagging and rolling their eyes while reading this, yes, I'm still happily married, yes, I still love my wife, and yes, we still "snuggle on the couch" even after 16 years. 
#ThisBlessedUnion #OneFlesh


That's what I shared on Facebook earlier this week.

It juxtaposes quite nicely with something a Lutheran Pastor shared recently too.


The Joy of Marriage 
The first secret of joy in marriage is that it is God’s own act. “Then the Lord God said, ‘It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make a helper fit for him’” (Genesis 2:18). The ultimate crown of God’s creation, woman, is made after all the animals. The Lord wanted to impress upon Adam the incomparable wonder of what he was about to do for the man. Adam had named all the animals, “But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him” (Genesis 2:20). Some would balk right away, alleging that the woman as a “helper fit for him” is demeaning. But the Lord God himself is pleased to be called a “helper.” Ezer is the Hebrew word, and the name “Eliezer” means “God is my helper” (Numbers 3:32). “Fit for him” simply means that the woman would be in the same glorious image of God—righteous, intelligent, a delightful living, eternal soul to be a “soul mate” for life. 
The second secret of a joyful marriage is that marriage is an act of the will. In the vows we state, “for better, for worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health,” “I will.” Virtually every marriage goes through times when we simply don’t feel love. . . . But love, in its most fundamental form, is not, in fact, emotion. It is the will to act for the benefit of another, no matter how it feels. Paul bids husbands “love your wife as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her” (Ephesians 5:25). The truth holds good for wives too. Christ acted for the benefit of all of us, quite without a continual warm fuzzy feeling of love and joy. “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will” (Matthew 26:39). He willed to do it. He submitted to the will of his Father as an act of love, and the result is endless joy for the world.


This is most certainly true.

I especially liked: "Virtually every marriage goes through times when we simply don’t feel love. . . . But love, in its most fundamental form, is not, in fact, emotion. It is the will to act for the benefit of another, no matter how it feels" because "marriage is an act of God, and married love is an act of the will."
In a Lutheran layman's terms, yes, a "happy marriage" can exist. I have one.



NOTE: Please understand that I'm not a called and ordained minister of God's Word and Sacraments. I'm a layman or just a regular Christian, Corporate Recruiter, Husband, Father, Friend who lives in the "City of Good Neighbors" here on the East Coast. As another Christian Blogger once wrote, "Please do not see this blog as me attempting to 'publicly teach' the faith, but view it as an informal Public Journal of sorts about my own experiences and journey, and if any of my notes here help you in any way at all, then I say, 'Praise the Lord!' but please do double check them against the Word of God and with your own Pastor." To be more specific, and relevant to the point I want to make with this disclaimer/note, please understand that I'm a relatively new convert to Confessional Lutheran who recently escaped American Evangelicalism a little more than 3 years ago now. That being said, please contact me ASAP if you believe that any of my "old beliefs" seem to have crept their way into any of the material you see published here, and especially if any of the content is inconsistent with our Confessions and Lutheran doctrine (in other words, if it's not consistent with God's Word, which our Confessions merely summarize and repeatedly point us back to over and over again) so that I can correct those errors immediately and not lead any of His little ones astray (James 3:1). Also, please be aware that you might also discover that some of the earlier/older pieces I wrote for this blog back in 2013 definitely fall into that "Old Evangelical Adam" category (and they don't have a disclaimer like this) since I was a "Lutheran-In-Name-Only" at the time and was completely oblivious to the fact that a Christian "Book of Concord" even existed (Small/Large Catechism? What's that!?!). This knowledge of the Lutheran basics was completely foreign to me even though I was baptized, confirmed, and married in an LCMS church! So, there are some entries that are a little "out there" so-to-speak since the subject matter was also heavy influenced by those old beliefs of mine. I know that now and I'm still learning. Anyway, I decided to leave those published posts up on this website and in cyberspace only because they are not blasphemous/heretical, because I now have this disclaimer, and only to demonstrate the continuing work of Christ and the Holy Spirit in my life (Hebrews 12:2; Philippians 1:6). Most importantly, please know that any time I engage in commenting on and/or interpreting a specific portion of the holy Scriptures, it will always closely follow the verse-by-verse footnotes from my Lutheran Study Bible and/or include references to the Book of Concord unless otherwise noted. Typically, I defer to what other Lutheran Pastors both past and present have already preached and taught about such passages since they are the called and ordained under-shepherds of our souls here on earth. Finally, I'm going to apologize ahead of time for the length of most entries (this disclaimer/note is a perfect example of what I mean! haha). I'm well aware that blogs should be short, sweet, and to the point, but I've never been one to follow the rules when it comes to writing. Besides, this website is more like a "Christian Dude's Diary" in the sense that everything I write about and share publicly isn't always what's "popular" or "#trending" at the time, but is instead all the things that I'm studying myself at the moment. For better or for worse, these posts tend to be much longer than most blog entries you'll find elsewhere only because I try to pack as much info as possible into a single piece so that I can refer to it again and again over time if I need to (and so that it can be a valuable resource for others -- if possible, a "One-Stop-Shop" of sorts). Thank you for stopping by and thank you in advance for your time, help, and understanding. Feel free to comment/email me at any time. Grace and peace to you and yours!

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About JKR

Christian. Husband. Father. Friend.

2 comments

  1. I'm truly glad that you have a happy marriage. It's something to praise God for. Happy marriages are a gift of God. But you can be the nicest spouse in the world, and if God has given you an emotionally and psychologically abusive spouse for his own purposes, there is nothing whatsoever that you could possibly do to have a happy marriage! It takes two non-abusive partners to make a happy union. But I am happy for those (like you) who have been given this wonderful gift in this life that mirrors the church's eternal relationship with the Lord.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Anonymous,


    My dear friend, if you are writing this out of personal experience (if you or someone close to you has experienced this very scenario), then I'm truly sorry, and my heart goes out to you/them. However, I think we need to be very careful here. Specifically, we must not act as though we had absolutely no say in who we chose to marry. This is precisely why God tells us not to be "unequally yoked" to non-believers (2 Corinthians 6:14). For it's the "non-believer" who would treat their own husband/wife in a way that was inconsistent with what the Word of God tells them to act toward each other.

    More importantly, we all think we're the "nicest spouse" in the world too, that it's always "them" and "they're the problem!" don't we? But I wonder if our spouse would agree with that assessment? Regardless of whether they do or not, none of us are the "nicest spouse" all the time either and even the "happiest marriage" will have times of pure evil/hatred.

    There another concern I have though. Is God really the One Who has *given* you "an emotionally and psychologically abusive spouse for His own purposes" because I worry that if we start to go down that road then we're essentially blaming Him for sin, aren't we?

    Again, the spouse who abuses/mistreats their husband or wife if committing a sin against their spouse as well as against God. We know that. Still, God is not the author of their sins. They are guilty all on their own for choosing not to be the husband/wife He expects them to be.

    Marriage is two sinners coming together as one. God does not get blamed for sin and He hates the sins of the spouse just like He hates divorce. Besides, even if it were true that "God has given you an emotionally and psychologically abusive spouse for His own purposes" then, by that logic, shouldn't a person STAY MARRIED TO THAT ABUSIVE PERSON since it's God's will ("for His own purposes" as you put it), after all? See how this becomes problematic?

    So, I wonder if maybe even when things seem "hopeless" or when all solutions have been explored and failed (and you feel like nothing will change things -- not even counseling or faith or prayer!), then perhaps the best, most God-honoring course of action is to separate instead of getting divorced, with your eyes always on the hope in the possibility of forgiveness, mercy, reconciliation, and restoration, which are the hallmarks of the Gospel of grace anyway. Lives can be changed by such things. I'm living proof. You're living proof.

    So, I'm sorry, but I disagree with the comment that "there is nothing whatsoever that you could possibly do to have a happy marriage!" You can certainly pray, attend church together to confess your sins together and to receive God's gifts of grace through His Word and Sacraments together, and you can pray some more. When a spouse won't go to church with you, won't pray with you, won't listen to God's Word with you, you can still do all those things yourself (and should), and you can still always continue to pray, pray, pray for your spouse too.

    In closing, I get that a response like this may seem "cold" and "controversial" in this day-and-age, especially one where Christ's Church has become "ok" with divorces, but I worry about replies like this because they not only flirt with blaming God for sin, but they flirt with making excuses for sins, or they flirt with justifying the very things He hates.

    Grace And Peace,
    JKR

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for visiting A Lutheran Layman! Please feel free to leave a comment or a question since we do not exercise censorship. We've seen a similar policy with other blogs and it's worth repeating: Please act as if you're a guest in my home, and we'll get along just fine. I think anyone would agree that the kind of back-and-forth that is characteristic of blogs/chat forums and social media is becoming tiresome for all of us. Still, we should confess, edify, and love (and contend and defend when needed). Bottom line? Search the Scriptures! Apply Acts 17:11 to anything and everything you find here and, if you do happen to disagree with something you find here (which is certainly ok), or think I'm "irresponsible" and "wrong" for writing it, then please refute my position by supporting yours with Scripture and/or the Confessions. I don't think that's an unreasonable request, especially for those who identify themselves as "Christians" here, right? Besides, Proverbs 27:17 tells us "Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another" and 2 Timothy 3:16 says, "all Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness." If you have an opinion that's great, I welcome it, but try to support it using God's Word. I mean, if the goal here is to help us all arrive at the truth of God's Word (myself included), then it should be easy to follow through on this one simple request (I'm talking to all you "Anonymous" visitors out there). Grace and peace to you and yours!

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